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Brief Notes - Weil/NYT, TAI Sophia, AYU Ayurveda, Parade/Acu, plus - July 17, 2006 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Brief Notes: Weil/NYT, Tai Sophia, AYU Ayurveda, Parade/Acu, plus  - July 17, 2006

Education: TAI Sopia/Regional Accreditation, AYU Ayurveda in Partnership

Image The Tai Sophia Institute, founded as an acupuncture clinic in 1975, has achieved a significant threshold of recognition via regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on High Education. The Institute, with 320 current students and over 900 graduates, currently offers a Master of Acupuncture, Master of Science in Herbal Medicine and a Master of Arts in Applied Healing Arts. Under the leadership of Robert Duggan, Tai Sophia has played a leadership role in consciously moving the integration dialogue and action toward health and wellness. Tai Sophia has resisted the integration's tendency to push the healing professions toward the dominant, reductive paradigm with growing proximity. The regional accreditors reportedly honored the Institute, for instance, in coming up with outcomes measures for "healing presence" and "personal transformation." Recognition by Middle States will also give Tai Sophia better access to some federal and foundation programs and resources ...

Image The AYU Ayurvedic Wellness Center, led by Vivek Shanbhag, ND, MD-Ayurveda, in Seattle has formed a partnership with one of India's largest Ayurvedic companies Kerala Ayurveda. According to the release from
AYU Ayurvedic, the Indian firm operates 3 hospitals, 45 clinics, herb plantations, two manufacturing plants, two training colleges and a 50-acres Ayurvedia resort. Kerala Ayurveda is seeking to expand into the United States and was attracted to Shanbhag's Seattle-based operation, which includes education, clinical services and products. The release notes the partnership's plans to open at least five more US centers. They also project creating a three-year full-time degree program in Ayurvedic medicine, "similar to those offered in India."


Media: Acupuncture Featured in Parade, Weil vs the Hospital/Fast Food Axis, plus


Image The Parade Magazine, a Sunday morning insert in scores of newspapers across the country, gave acupuncture its cover on Sunday, July 9. Medical writer Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, still danced around questions of acupuncture's usefulness but the cover, at least, framed the question around when acupuncture is useful, rather than whether it is. However, the article itself, and the website continue with this outdated and non-scientific framing : "Does Acupuncture Really Work?"  Research from the integrative medicine program at the Mayo Clinic merited special mention, on the positive side of the Parade balance-sheet. In even-handed treatment of MD-acupuncturists and LAc/AOM practitioners, Parade readers were directed to both the Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the American Association of Medical Acupuncture. 

Image In a recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times (July 6, 2006), Andrew Weil, MD, once again showed his brilliant
media sense Image. In a column entitled "Surgery with a Side of Fries," Weil took hospitals to task for cutting deals with burger and pizza companies. He calls for an end to these arrangement with fast food companies - which decade-old data suggest exist with at least 40% of US hospitals. Weil, who figures the percent has grown, charges doctors and hospitals to model healthy behavior for the public they serve.

While the column does not offer any analysis of whether the fast food is any worse for you than the typical hospital fare, the content brings to mind a phrase I heard in a local public health presentation recently. Our environment was called "obesogenic." One might add "diabetogenic" to that as well. That the economic centers of our health care system are cutting deals with fast food joints may well provide the exclamation mark on these appelations.

The May 27, 2006 Business Week article which stimulated the two-part IBN&R series on the killing of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research was preceded by an earlier, also deeply critical feature in Time Magazine. The cover story, "What Doctors Hate About Hospitals?" (May 1, 2006) opens with: "What Scares Doctors? Being the Patient." The article uses a series of  personal accounts of care received by physicians to teach readers of the problems they are likely to encounter. One of the physicians is reform leader Donald Berwick, MD, is featured, as is thematic material regarding how care can be determined by a doctor's financial incentives rather than by evidence. However, the presentation here focuses less on self-interest than on systemic issues. The article does, however, underline the theme of over-performance of services. After listing a few conditions where recommmended care does not reach the level set in guidelines, the authors write; "Even more insidious is the damage of overtreatment."


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