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Academic Notes: AMSA & NMSA, UCLA, Harvard, NUHS, NIH-Yoga, Yale, NYCC, New Consortium Members, plus PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Integrative Advances: AMSA & NMSA, SPARC, UCLA, Harvard, NUHS, NIH-Yoga, Yale, NYCC, New Consortium Members, plus

SummaryBreakthrough: American Medical Student Association formally recognizes the Naturopathic Medical Student Association as an affiliate ...  Fønnebø to propose a "peace treaty" in "research battleground" at May 18 SPARC meeting ... Harvard integrative clinic featured ... UCLA program offers seven approaches to back pain in consumer-focused event ... Formerly chiropractic-only schools gain recognition for AOM and ND programs ... Yale's kick-off event draws overflow crowd ... NIH to have May Yoga week ... U Mass natural products Master's degree now largely internet-based ... BU and Northwestern Feinberg medical schools bring to 41 the members of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine ... Master's in Integrative Health in development for 2008 at National University, San Diego.
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NMSA, AMSA, integration natruopathic medical students, medical students
Naturopathic student leader Cheri King
1.    MD and ND Student Associations Forge Formal Ties

Over the past few years, naturopathic medical students representing most of the North American naturopathic programs and organized as the Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA) have made pilgrimages to the national conferences of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). Their goal: secure formal standing to participate in programs and dialogues with AMSA’s members. One, as shared with the Integrator by Cheri King, NMSA president, is participation in AMSA’s leadership programs and other activities that are part of the 68,000 member organization’s $3.3 million budget. (NMSA, by comparison, is a recently established, almost entirely volunteer operation.) NMSA views participation with AMSA as a way of forming relationships that will allow them to begin to participate more deeply in diverse healthcare initiatives.

At the March 12-16, 2008 AMSA convention in Houston, much of NMSA's work to gain standing came to fruition. In a report on the conference, King, a second year ND student, shares that, by separate resolutions of the AMSA House of Delegates, both NMSA and the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), with which NMSA is affiliated, have been accepted as official liaison organizations by AMSA. In addition, a naturopathic physician who is now a conventional medical school student, Red Hoffman, ND, was selected to serve as AMSA’s coordinator for Humanistic Medicine. Finally, NMSA’s co-chair for its work with AMSA was selected to serve as “group coordinator” for AMSA’s Naturopathic Interest Group. King also reported that numerous webs of relationship were formally established.

Comment:  Kudos to students in both of these disciplines for this initiative to connect with each other formally. Quality relationships between disciplines are optimally formed through respectful inter-relationships in one's formative years as students. I am reminded of the increasingly evident truism that paradigms shift when the old finally die. The corollary here is that they shift when the young break the bonds of past prejudices and forge new relationships.

2.   Fønnebø, at the Interdisciplinary SPARC to Propose "Peace Treaty in the Research Battleground"

The cluster of academic centers behind the Symposium for Portland Area Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (SPARC) represents a unique collaboration between conventional medical, naturopathic, Oriental medical and chiropractic schools, plus a health plan. May 18, 2008 will be the third annual SPARC conference, keynoted this year by Vinjar Fønnebø, MD, PhD a leading international figure in promoting the expansion of whole practice and whole sysetms research.
Fønnebø is director of the Norway's National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative. The SPARC group is a national leader in this area. In fact, one of their presenters last year, Lynn Shinto, ND, MPH, is keynoting this topic for a research meeting hosted by Bastyr University on April 25, 2008. A great, short audio-visual clip from Fønnebø speaks of the "battleground" between conventional research and what is needed in the CAM worlds. Fønnebø promises to propose what he calls a "peace treaty" between the two perspectives which will "move the whole field forward." Be there or be square.

dance therapy, low back, UCLA, CAM, natural therapies, UCLArts
Pioneering dance therapist Lucy Gonda
3.    UCLA Collaborative Centers: Seven Views on Back Care

One direct-to-consumer approach to opening eyes to complementary therapies was offered recently through the UCLArts & Healing and promoted in the Spring 2008 issue of the newsletter of the UCLA Centers for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. The program offered, in one evening, seven different approaches via a panel led by Alexander technique expert Jean Louis Rodriguez. Approaches demonstrated, beside Rodriquez' specialty, were Feldenkrais, physical therapy, pilates, Iyengar yoga, Tai chi and Dance Movement Therapy. The latter was offered by my long-time colleague Lucy Gonda, a pioneer in that field, which is led, nationally, through the American Dance Therapy Association. The program maxed out attendance with over 350 attendees. The sessions were taped and will be available as streaming video through the UCLArts & Healing website.

Disclosure: I am pleased to be integrating my (distant) past as a would-be poet/artist with my current work via an invite from Ping, which I accepted, to serve on her board at UCLArts & Healing.

4.   Harvard Integrative Clinic Subject of Lengthy Feature

This belated notice is simply to let any of you know that the Boston Globe ran a long feature on the new integrative medicine clinic developed by David Eisenberg, MD, and associated with the CAM exploration at Harvard University. Entitled 'Sticking His Neck Out," the December 17, 2007 story documents the arrival of the
Osher Clinical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies. The center is located ast a principal Harvard teaching affiliate, the Brigham and Women's Hospital. The clinic's medical director is long-time integrative medicine physician Donald Levy, MD. Eisenberg is quoted as describing the clinic as "comprehensive care ... optimal care, given what we know now and all the therapies available."

Membership climbs to 41 academic centers
5.   Conventional Academic Consortium Admits Two new Members - Now 41 Med Schools

At the recent regular meeting of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, two new academic health centers were admitted to the fold:

  • Boston University School of Medicine. The program is led by Robert P Saper, MD
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The program is led by Melinda Ring, MD, FACP.

The two new members brings to 41 the number of academic health centers in Canada and the United States which are part of the now 76-year-old Consortium. Roughly 30% of the US medical schools have programs which are members - up from a dozen when the group was incorporated.

6.   Expansion of the Multidisciplinary Complementary Academic Center/University Model

Two recent notices on accreditation-related action at schools which were once stand-alone chiropractic colleges underscore the emergence of academic health centers which feature multiple complementary and alternative healthcare disciplines. In March 2008, the naturopathic medicine program in the college of professional studies at Lombard, Illinois-based National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) was granted candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). (This brings to 7 the number of North American ND programs with some standing with the CNME.) NUHS, formerly National College of Chiropractic, also boasts new acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) programs which are about to face candidacy review by the Accreditation Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Meantime, New York Chiropractic College (NYCC), located on 300 acres in upstate New York, received news that its AOM school gained accreditation from ACAOM. NYCC has no plan at this time for changing its name, however, to reflect its broader offerings.

Sponsorting Yoga week at the NIH
7.    Yoga Week Promoted at the NIH

John Kepner, MBA, executive director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT)  notified me that National Institutes of Health Recreation and Welfare Office is the primary sponsor of “Yoga Week” at the NIH, May 19-23, 2008.  An announcement entitled “NIH Debuts First Annual Yoga Week,” credits Rachel Permuth-Levine, PhD, MSPH, acting director for the Office of Strategic and Innovative Programs at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) with originating the idea. She is quoted: "Yoga is an energizing activity to incorporate into your lifestyle. Whether you're a novice or experienced student, we encourage you to learn from and enjoy the activities during Yoga Week." 

According to the note, participants will not only learn about the benefits of yoga but also "experience them first-hand through stretching and practice." Kepner, who was the leading force behind the 2006-2007 Integrator series which exploring the maturation of Yoga Therapy, sent the Integrator a quick note on the program which stated: “I have found your open letter to the new NCCAM director and the related articles quite interesting, including your thoughts on the issue of the lack of first-hand experience many may have with actual CAM practices and research. That series has thus made me more sensitive and appreciative of the upcoming Yoga Week debuting at  NIH, including firsthand experience.”   IAYT is helping to sponsor the event.

Comment: This is an excellent step. I would suggest that, if all goes well, the Community Acupuncture Network should volunteer to offer some weekly group acupuncture sessions onsite, for stress reduction if for nothing else. After all, it must take a toll, routinely rejecting 90% of those who come knocking.

First conference a success
8.    Yale Integrative Medicine Program A Success

The first Integrative Medicine Symposium at the Yale School of Medicine was a success, more than filling the space allowed. Ather Ali, ND, MPH, a program leader, shared that the room held just 155 but "we let in 170-175."
Attendee Jim Lehman, DC, a member of the faculty in the chiropractic program at the nearby University of Bridgeport, reports that the event “was a success in my opinion.” He adds that “the Dean [Richard Belitsky, MD] was quite supportive and enthusiastic” and that “everyone expressed their appreciation for the work of [medical student] Rachel Friedman” who was the most significant force in creating Yale's IM program. (See "Yale Integrative Medicine: A Story of Growing Acceptance from Medical Leaders," November 14, 2007.) Lehman notes that, representing his own field of chiropractic, Anthony Lisi, DC, "gave an excellent evidence-based presentation that discussed the strengths and weaknesses of chiropractic care." Added Lehman: "The workshop presentation and his plenary presentation of a chiropractic managed case were well received by the attendees." Some of the content is available here on YouTube.

9.   U Massachusetts Masters in Applied Natural Products More Accessible Via New Format

Lana Dvorkin-Camiel, PharmD reports that the
Master of Applied Natural Products Degree was "launched successfully" last year through the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. A new  plan, to commence Fall 2008, will make the program more accessible via the web. In the new format, "most semesters will combine a 5-day hands-on, on-campus intensive experience" which will then be "complemented by online course work." Dvorkin-Camiel directs the program. Areas of focus include Herbal Medicine, Pharmacognosy and Phytopharmacology, Dietary Supplements, Functional Medicine, Natural Products Informatics and Epidemiology. Information is available here.

10.   National University in San Diego to Offer Masters in Integrative Health

San Diego's National University has issued a preliminary announcement of a new Master's Degree in Integrative Health which is proposed ot start in Fall 2008. Among the topics are global whole medical systems, integrative and holistic healthcare, spirituality and health, and integrative health practice management. Students will have a practicum at the University's Center for Integrative Medicine.

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