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Brief Notes: Charitable Organizations & Philanthropy in Integrative Medicine & Natural Health Care PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Brief Notes: Charitable Organizations & Philanthropy in Integrative Medicine & Natural Health Care

Summary:  Vitamin Relief USA, operating in 300 sites in 33 states, expands reach and programs with change of name to Nourish America ... An in-school program organized by naturopathic physicians is featured in the Institute for Alternative Futures' newsletter for IAF's high profile Disparities Reducing Advances Project ... The 63-year-old Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research changes leadership and embraces new evidence-based resource project ... Acupuncturists Without Borders engages Veteran's project ... Natural Doctors International, led by Tabatha Parker, ND, to expand to 4 new countries, plus ...
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Vitamin Relief USA, a not-for-profit which provides daily multivitamins to to needy children announced that it has changed its name to Nourish America. The announcement of the name change followed on the heels of a separate release noting that that the 501c3 charitable organization has received the highest marks for management from Charity Navigator, an independent review organization. 
charity, vitamins, natural healthcaer, natural products industry, philanthropy
Mary Morton and Michael Morton, PhD - program expands beyonds vitamins
Michael Morton, PhD
, executive director for
Vitamin Relief USA/Nourish American, notes that 93% of donations directly support programs. The firm, which solicits donated vitamins from supplement firms then distributes them through a variety of programs, currently supports the nutrition of 26,000 children at more than 300 sites in 33 states across the United States. Top product donors are Tishcon Corp, Natural Alternatives International, Healthy Directions, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, SoLo GI Nutrition and NOW Foods. As Nourish America, the organization's offerings will expand to include "natural, functional and organic foods, beverage products and a variety of health education services." The group anticipates that the "educational programs will engage expert nutritionists and leaders in the health and wellness sectors to work directly within communities by providing informational resources, training toolkits, and nutrition education." Morton and his partner, Mary Morton, will be known to some as the co-authors, nearly 20 years ago, of the first quality book, Five Steps to Selecting the Best Alternative Medicine, which taught consumers how to choose their natural healthcare practitioners.

The Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) recently published a notice on a naturopathic physician-initiated school-based wellness program called WELLthTM.
The writer, Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, a researcher associated with the University of Washington and Bastyr University, described the program as "a comprehensive school-based wellness program developed by naturopathic physicians to focus on health education, fitness and nutrition, primary care, and prevention of illness for school-aged children, teachers, faculty, and parents." The first WELLthTM program was developed near Phoenix and is now expanding to the Northwest. Oberg notes that the first northwest site will be a middle school or high school located in one of the poorest performing school districts in the Puget sound areas outside of Seattle and will open in January. Oberg's article was included in a newsletter from IAF's Disparity Reducing Advances Project (DRA Project). One component of the project, which has a sterling group of sponsors, is examining how integrative primary care may assist in reducing disparities.

chiropractic, research, EBM, evidence based, leadership
Developing an evidence-based resource for chiropractic
The Foundation for Chiropractic Education & Research (FCER), a not-for-profit founded in 1944, is in a process of re-energizing and re-direction under newly-elected leadership. FCER's core project is to develop what will be the chiropractic profession's only Evidence-Based Resource Center (EBRC). Taking the helm are Charles R. Herring, DC, an FCER board member who has taken the lead in the EBRC project. Herring is a former member of the Louisiana State legislature. FCER's new vice-president is Reed Phillips, DC, PhD, most recently president of Southern California University of Health Sciences. Phillips has been only of the leaders in chiropractic research for decades, most recently appointed by hte Veteran's Administration to chair its chiropractic advisory board. FCER'
s mission is to “translate research into practice by granting funds for research and producing practitioner and patient education materials."

Image The International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR) has made arrangements through which the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has become the organization's official journal. ISCMR, established in November 2003, describes itself as "a worldwide, not-for-profit professional association devoted to fostering co-operative and multidisciplinary research and development as well as the application of knowledge in the fields of complementary, traditional and integrated medicine." (The Integrator is honored to regularly updated, listed resource on the ISCMR site.)

Image Speaking of serving the underserved, Acupuncture Without Borders, a kindred organization inside the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession, has announced that its second major project will be to further push AOM's frontiers - but inside the US. AWB's first major project focused on Katrina victims. The next direction is a Veteran's project. Board chair Mary Chaney explains that the organization feels it will gain more respect and greater opportunity to serve internationally when it has a stronger track record at home. Chaney notes that the organization's "Vets Project" is a natural since "we know that the community acupuncture protocol is effective with trauma and symptoms of PTSD."

Parker and Nicaraguan client
A note from Natural Doctors International (NDI), loosely affiliated with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, states that the not-for-profit organization which provides services to the underserved, internationally, has plans to expand to at least 4 other countries. NDI's first clinic is located on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. NDI has recently expanded its service learning programs through which naturopathic medical students and others spend a period of time integrated into the Ometepe community. NDI co-founder Tabatha Parker, ND, recently integrated herself more deeply into the Ometepe culture via a marriage to an Ometepe local, Nestor Francisco Guzman Dinar. Congratulations, Tabby & Nestor! (It is Weeks-Kimball family pride that the Trooper we had in Nicaragua in 2004-2005 is presently serving as the ambulance for Ometepe and the clinical services NDI and Parker have strengthened.)

An observer of the Bravewell Collaborative, the organization of philanthropists for integrative medicine, contacted the Integrator on receipt of an invitation to the Bravewell's Pioneers of Integrative Medicine Award Event. The observer, who preferred to remain anonymous, notes that the Bravewell board of directors appears to have shrunk significantly.
A list of shifting representation of foundations and philanthropists on the Bravewell board is the subject of a separate Integrator analysis. Bravewell has been a primary mover for integrative medicine and, in particular, the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

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