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Health Forum/AHA Offers 5th Annual Conference on Integrative Medicine for Healthcare Organizations PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Health Forum/AHA Offers 5th Annual Conference on Integrative Medicine for Healthcare Organizations - April 2007

Summary: The Integrative Medicine for Healthcare Organizations conference sponsored by Health Forum/American Hospital Association is a premier event each year in the complementary and alternative medicine and integrative medicine (CAM/IM) field. The 5th Annual meeting, to be held in San Diego April 12-14, is again organized by Sita Ananth, MHA, who leads CAM for Health Forum. The program includes both beginning, nuts-and bolts presentations and leadership keynotes for the experienced who want to take their operations to a next level. Keynoters include "urban cultural anthropologist" Jennifer James, PhD, and Wayne Jonas, MD, and three hospital CEOs who offer their IM perspectives. Among the presenters is yours truly on the Integrator Top 10 for 2007.

Send your comments to
for publication ina future Your Comments article.

Image Consider this journey.

  • Imagine the process of a health system giving up its old story of what it's job is and creating a new one which profoundly shifts the culture toward the embrace of  person-oriented, integrative medicine.
  • Listen to three hospital CEOs describe their stories of how IM creates and gains meaning amidst health system turmoil and change.
  • Inlay this understanding into the broader challenge of health system efforts to cross the quality chasm toward not only patient safety but patient-centered care.
  • Now explore the characteristics which seed integrative medicine in an optimal healing environment.

Such a journey is but one part of the 5th Annual Integrative Medicine for Healthcare Organizations meeting which will be held in San Diego, California from April 12-14, 2007. The themes above are from these
keynote presenters at the conference:


The program sponsor, Health Forum/AHA, is known for its leadership-oriented programs for health systems. The organization's CAM/IM leader Sita Ananth, MHA melds leadership content with practical, take-home
applications offered by experienced IM leaders.

For instance, surrounding these keynote presentations are four
pre-conference workshops on April 12 in which attendees will have an opportunity to explore the Heart-Math program. Participants will then choose between sessions which: offer methods for evaluating IM programs (with William 'Mac' Beckner and others with Samueli); explore how to start and build a CAM program (with Roberta Lee, MD and a colleague with Continuum Center for Health and Healing); or gain practical understanding of how to work with distinctly-licensed CAM providers, with Marilyn Allen (who represents two malpractice carriers.)

Sita Ananth, MHA
The Health Forum/AHA view of "integrative medicine" is about "more than giving patients the options of complementary and alternative medicine therapies," according to Ananth. Rather, IM "means creating a truly patient-centered environment in which individuals are able to reach their optimal health."  Fittingly, the Platinum Underwriter for the meeting is the Samueli Institute, whose top-notch staff is involved with a series of presentations.

Other conference features include a site visit to either the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine or the Sharp Coronado Hospital, a member of the  Planetree hospital network and a set of breakouts from leaders of other hospitals. One session features lessons from the Bravewell clinical network of clinics. Sylver Quevedo, MD, MPH, is part of that teaching team.

Health Forum is direct in the promises to attendees of the meeting. Each is expected, post conference, to
understand the critical steps in implementing and developing a CAM program; recognize how CAM and integrative medicine programs can contribute to a healing environment; develop skills in leading change in the individual's organization; extend the network of like-minded colleagues from various industry sectors; and return to work energized and inspired with strategies, resources and new knowledge.

HeartMath, Metagenics and Integrator sponsor Standard Process are among the additional meeting sponsors. The Integrator is among a dozen supporting organizations for the meeting. Those with questions can go to the site or contact Sita Ananth at or (707) 644-1181 or Connie Tomber at or (312) 893-6897.

Comment: Early last spring I received a call from an integrative medicine physician on the East Coast who had just taken the reins for his hospital's IM exploration. I recommended he attend the 4th Health Forum conference. He brought a small team and thanked me for the recommendation. Then just this past week, he called and mentioned that his system may use a consultant he met while there. I share this anecdote as this meeting has been an important lift-off for IM in many hospitals and health systems. Many have brought
teams of leaders to gain a grounding and sense of community - internally and with other attendees -- for their IM initiatives.

Yet this meeting is clearly not just for newbies. While there are of course the networking opportunities and the gems one picks up listening to others, what is particularly intriguing for those of us who have been around awhile -  and this includes Ananth, an Integrator advisor - is the leadership content. We are all of us involved in culture change - when we are lucky to have re-framed the culture wars which the integration effort can beget.
We see a kind of convergence shaping up here. There is on the one hand the health system movement toward patient-centered care, and on othe other hand, the pioneering work of CAM and integrated healthcare practitioners in whole person approaches. Ananth's leadership content, and the Samueli content, in particular, can be expected to place attendees in this stimulating and challenging vortex.

Then, of course, there will be the presentation by yours truly on the "Top 10 Trends Influencing Integrated Care in 2006-2007." A quick, scientific polling of those near to my home office discovered that this presentation is clearly viewed as a potential highlight in the eyes of my children.

Take a look at the program. I hope to see some of you there.

Send your comments to
for publication ina future Your Comments article.

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