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Academic Action: Nat. Prod. Masters Program, IM Group/Non-MDs, and AMSA and ND Students PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Academic Updates: Natural Products Masters Program at Mass. College of Pharmacy, CAHCIM Working Group Includes Non-MDs, AMSA and ND Students

Summary:  A new Master of Applied Health Products degree is now being offered through the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with Lana Dvorkin-Camiel, Pharm D leading the effort ... One sign of integration of distinctly licensed professionals in the work of members of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine is recent inclusion of naturopathic physicians as members of the organizations Clinical Working Group ... The 57th meeting of the American Medical Students Association included a contingent of naturopathic medical students who were looking to foster collaboration through a couple of resolutions ... An Acupuncture Today article shares that acupuncture had a presence at the fall meeting of the American Public Health Association.
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1.    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy Offers New Master of Applied Natural Products

Lana Dvorkin-Camiel, Pharm D, lead developer of the program
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) has introduced a new part-time degree: the Master of Applied Natural Products (MANP). Lana Dvorkin-Camiel, Pharm D, the coordinator for the college's Natural Products Division, took the lead in creating the program. Core components of the curriculum are:

  • Herbal and dietary supplements
  • Natural products informatics
  • Functional medicine
  • Pharmacognosy and phytopharmacology
  • Epidemiology

The course requires a prior bachelors and then can be completed in as few as five semesters. Program materials refer to the "natural products discipline "who wish to pursue careers in specialized clinics and retail settings, natural product and pharmaceutical industries, federal regulatory agencies, drug information centers, academia or other health related fields." Dvorkin-Camiel has been around the natural products field for many years, serving, for instance as an adviser and writer for Integrative Medicine Communications, an early integrative medicine information company which went the way of most dotcoms.

: A reader has reminded me that a Master of Science in Herbal Medicine is offered through the Columbia, Maryland-based Tai Sophia Institute. While I have not done this, it would be interesting to compare the curricula of these two Masters programs, one born out of a conventional academic institution, the other from an institution which began as an acupuncture program.)

UCLA's Mary Hardy, MD, clinical working group co-chair
2.   Integrating Practitioners in Conventional Academic Health Centers

I had an opportunity to participate in the March 23, monthly call of the Clinical Working Group of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM). While on the call, I discovered on interesting sign of integration. Representatives of roughly a dozen of the 38 member programs in CAHCIM dialed in for the exchange. (Others, I am told, access the taped content via a members only portion of the CAHCIM site.) Among the group, popping up like chamomile heads through cracks in a sidewalk, were two naturopathic physicians: Lynne Shinto, ND, MPH, with Oregon Health Sciences University and Ather Ali, ND, MPH, with the program at Yale Medical School. Progress!

Lynne Shinto, ND, MPH, OHSU rep to the CAHCIM clinical working group
Mary Hardy, MD, a co-chair of the CAHCIM working group, shared in an e-note after the teleconference in which she stated that "both of our ND's are relatively new members of the committee, but we are very happy to have them." Great sign of collegiality. Interestingly, the ND profession's national association, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, extended itself toward conventional medicine when it chose last year to elect its first medical doctor to its board, Bill Benda, MD.

The integration of naturopathic doctors into the Clinical Working Group is evidence that CAHCIM members are taking seriously the part of their definition of integrative medicine which urges them to integrate not just "approaches" but also "healthcare professionals and disciplines." (See related Integrator story.)

4.   2007 AMSA Meeting and NDs , APHA and AOM Practitioners

A delegation of a dozen naturopathic medical students attended the 57th annual meeting of the American Medical Students Association in Washington, DC, March 6-11. Vanessa Esteves, a third year student at National College of Natural Medicine shared a report with me.
The group supported two formal initiatives to AMSA. Resolution A08, which would have allowed naturopathic medical student full membership into AMSA was turned down (36 no, 12 yes). Esteves attributes the outcome to a continued lack of awareness. She notes that she and her colleagues "will continue as allied members and improve our activity within AMSA and gather more members to show that we are being proactive and demonstrate interest to becoming full members." Advanced was Resolution C08 which reauthorized the AMSA Interest Group on Naturopathic Medicine. In 2009, the group will have an ND student as the group's coordinator. Meantime, the ND students worked on creating a Naturopathic Medical Student Association which will have planned cross-links to the MD student counterparts. Said Esteves, who was drawn to AMSA's theme of justice: "Integration and collaboration was on everyone's lips. And it was wonderful just to share our passion about health."

ND students attending the AMSA 57th Annual meeting: Back Row-Alison Scott (SCNM), Jocelyn Jensen (SCNM), Liz Kim (SCNM), April Abernethy (NCNM), Red Hoffman (NCNM alum, OHSU), Jewlz Pefferman (SCNM), Shidfar Rouhani(SCNM); Front Row-Yen Tran(SCNM), Vanessa Esteves (NCNM), Sabine Thomas (Bastyr)

Comment: One wonders whether opening membership is the best or even an appropriate strategy for a group meant to serve a specific set of individuals who meet a set criterion. There are times for birds of a feather to set their own future.

At the same time, processes which promote integration among students of various disciplines may be the most significant work any of us can do to foster collaboration. And regarding that AMSA vote: in my first political involvement, at age 10, alongside my father who was an activist in Seattle's civil rights movement, the first city-wide vote on an open housing initiative similarly garnered just 25% "yes" on the initial vote. We won it the next year.

What is best in this issue, however, is not so clear cut. I like the idea of an AMSA and a NMSA which actively invite members of the others to their meetings and perhaps, like the AANP's MD, have an inter-locking director between their boards.

5.    Acupuncture Presence ...

In related news, acupuncture had a visible presence at national meetings last fall of the American Public Health Association and the Society of Integrative Oncology according to an Acupuncture Today article. The piece was co-authored by
Kristin Porter, MAc, LAc and Beth Sommers, MPH, LAc co-founders of Pathways to Wellness and members of the Boston-based Integrative Medicine Alliance ...

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