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Folkman on Priorities of the Conventional Academic Consortium PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

   

Conventional Academic Group Chair Folkman Shares Priorities

Managing growth. Maintaining culture. Prioritizing from a myriad of possible projects. Creating a dues base. According to Susan Folkman, PhD, these are among the biggest challenges presently facing the five year old Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM)which she chairs.

The founding chair and vice chair of the Consortium were Brian Berman, MD, and Adi Haramati, PhD, whose terms ended in 2004. Folkman, director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, became the

Image
Susan Folkman, PhD
organization's second chair, with Mary Jo Kreitzer, RN, PhD of the University of Minnesota as the organization's vice-chair. 

The organization has grown from a founding group of 12 schools to 30 members today, nearly a quarter of the nation's medical schools. Other hopeful members are knocking at their door. Criteria include an established integrative medicine center and sponsorship from an individual at the Deans' level or above in the medical school.

Support from Bravewell Collaborative, Dues Plan 

One challenge in front of Folkman is renewal of support from the Bravewell Collaborative.

In the Consortium's first phase, core operations were funded through volunteerism and what other sources say was a $120,000 a year, five-year grant from Bravewell. Integrator Blog sources say that the philanthropic group also contributed to various special projects in this first phase. These included small grants to support mind-body educational programs, a large pass-through grant from Colby and Alana Jones Foundation to provide scholarships for faculty of Consortium members to participate in the associate fellowship prorgams at the Program in Integrative Medicine and the University of Arizona School of Medicine, and the Curriculum in Integrative Medicine: A Guide for Medical Educators (which is publicly available on the Consortium's web-site).

Folkman notes that the Consortium has many more programs proposed than they can possibly fund. Among the top priorities proposed by the organization's working groups are:

  • leadership development (Education)
  • inventory of projects (Research)
  • clinical outcomes (Clinical)
  • funds to educate policy makers on the need for research, education and patient care focused on integrative approaches (Policy).

One significant shift underway is a decision to move to levy dues of the member organizations for the first time. The amount is $2500, with first notices going out this summer. A successful levy will bring in $75,000 of basic operating support.

Maintaining the Culture

Folkman notes that one significant challenge, as the organization grows, is "maintaining the culture" as set by the founders. "The idea is that we have an organization that practices what we preach. We attempt to make sure the meetings are mindful. We work to ensure people are listened to, and are respectful of each other. Both leaders of the meetings and the participants focus on this."

She acknowledges the role that both Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and Rachel Remen, MD, played in instilling this culture in the organization's first years. The general meeting session last December, like those at the first gathering, were started with a meditation. Says Folkman: "The meditation reminds us of what we are about."

Folkman adds that, especially amidst the pressures of growth: "We need to constantly refresh our intentions about the culture."

Information: www.imconsortium.org

 

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