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Integrator Action Bulletin: Obama's Call, IOM Summit Registration, Integrative Healthcare Symposium PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Integrator Action Bulletin: Obama's Call, IOM Summit Registration, Integrative Healthcare Symposium Panels, plus

Summary: Exchange of ideas on healthcare policy has not been this heated for 15 years. This Integrator Action Bulletin links you with ways to be involved with shaping the Obama agenda and the action strategy of the integrative practice community. I have on good evidence that for those who submit to Obama's online forum, the staff of the Community Organizer-in-Chief actually respond. Another link takes you to an initiative led by Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Daschle's grassroots push for community forums on health care. Reader Daphne White invites you to her community discussion, focusing on integrative medicine ... Then, two alerts from inside the integrative health community. First, sign-up is open for the IOM's National Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. Admission is free, but participation is limited. Registration is also open for the Integrative Healthcare Symposium on February 19-21 in New York City. There a myriad of clinical and business offerings will be spiced with two top flight policy panels where we will explore roadmaps for a more influential future for integrative practice.
Send your comments to
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.

his is likely the best integrative practice will see for influencing U.S. healthcare policy. Reform is in the air and some of the talk, at the highest levels, is of how to transform the US into a “wellness society.” Here are some timely ways to be part of the solution.

Ogama -seeking your input on healthcare reform
1.  Obama wants your ideas online- and his people are known to respond

President-elect Barack Obama is determined to not make the mistake the Clintons made 15 years ago when their healthcare reform effort was marred by a process which was viewed as clubbish and exclusive. The Community organizer-in-Chief and first internet-based president is merging the two attributes into an online opportunity for anyone to submit ideas. Click here and you will be connected to a page on the site where a blue box headlined "Of the people, by the people" urges you to click in and submit your ideas. Colleague Jan Schwartz, LMT, a past chair of the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, shared that she has seen evidence that the ideas don't fall into a void. Obama staffers are known to actually respond. Go and contribute!  More on the Obama grassroots strategy is available at this Washington Post article.

2.  Daschle and Obama promote, network holiday season grassroots discussions

A second strategy the Obama healthcare transition team is pushing for grassroots input is a managed hosting of Health Care Community discussions. Click here for information on how you can host and how the Obama team, led by Secretary of HHS nominee Tom Daschle, will
"provide all our hosts with special moderator kits that will give you everything you need to get the discussion going." The site promises that Daschle "will even choose one discussion to attend in person."

Activist Daphne White, at her practice
3.  Readers invited: Community discussion to focus on "adding integrative medicine"

Integrator reader Daphne White, who informed me of this Obama-Daschle initiative, will be hosting a health care "house meeting" at her home in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, December 16 at 7:30 pm.  White says that the focus will be on "effective ways of adding integrative medicine to the national health care agenda."  Says White: "I am inviting any and all readers of the Integrator blog
-- as well their friends and colleagues -- to join me in this discussion.  Please RSVP as soon as possible, so I will know how many to expect." Here is White, in her initial letter:
I recently found your website, and then read the story in today's Washington Post about Obama's attempts to change health care from the bottom up.
I am writing you with a request and a suggestion:  I believe it is really important to get integrative health care into Obama's health care plan, if it isn't there already.  The article provides a website where people can write in their comments/requests for the new health care agenda.  See  Would it be possible for you to alert your readers to this opportunity, and urge them to send comments in to Sen. Daschle through the website?

I am a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner, and also practice Somatic Experiencing.  I've also worked as a reporter for 20 years and ran a nonprofit organization for 10 years.  I am writing you with all these hats on:  as someone who practices integrative health care, someone who's been an activist, and a reporter who covered the news.  It  seems to me like a critical moment to pool our resources together and get integrative care more integrated into the health care system. You seem to have an amazing board of advisors and very powerful connections:  if all of us weigh in at this critical moment, we could move mountains (or at least the AMA and Big Pharma, which comes to the same thing.)

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and also help move the integrated health care agenda as part of a larger movement.  I'm in the Washington, DC area and have done some public advocacy as Executive Director of  The Lion & Lamb Project (  I'd love to hear from you and join forces.


Daphne White, CHTP

Summit set in D.C. February 25-27 to influence policy
4.   IOM opens registration for National Summit- free but limited attendance

Registration for the National Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public, sponsored by the Institute of Medicine and funded through a $445,000 grant from the Bravewell Collaborative, is now open through the IOM site.  The Summit sponsors have located in in DC, in February 25-27, in order to maximize potential for influence on the health legislation which will be under discussion. Key leaders may be expected to address the gathering of 500-600 that is expected. The draft agenda is posted. There are some happy signs (for me) that part of what I favored for this gathering is making the agenda. (
How the IOM-Bravewell Integrative Medicine Summit Could Make a Difference: A Proposed Action Plan, June 19, 2008.) Sign-up and participate!

5.  Integrative Practitioner stimulates policy dialogue via discussion

Another way to share ideas for Obama - and to witness what others are thinking - is through a discussion forum for the members of Integrative Practitioner. (Membership to this Integrator sponsor firm's site is open to everyone who signs up, and it's free.)
The site's 5500 member were pushed out a question from Integrative Practitioner adviser and former White House Commission member Joseph Pizzorno, ND which asked what they would like ot share with President-elect Obama. The discussion is wide-ranging, and informative. Take a look!

Two policy panels to explore, create roadmaps
6.  Policy forums to spice up gathering of 1000+ at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium

Two policy forums will each spice up the gathering of 1000+ integrative practitioners expected in New York City February 19-21 for the Integrative Healthcare Symposium. Countless informal conversations and networking devoted to policy action will doubtless be taking place in the halls and at meals. (See program notes below.) The sessions were created to take a big picture look at some of the emerging dialogue in an exploration of roadmaps for the future. The second, brought together by Bill Benda, MD, will include executive directors with a half-dozen integrative practice organizations. They'll be talking the practical steps of coalition, and how to make a difference. Consider joining us!

National Policy and Integrative Practices: Roadmaps for the Future
Josephine Briggs, MD, Director, NIH NCCAM
Wayne Jonas, MD, CEO, Samueli Institute
Mary Jo Kreitzer, RN, PhD, Center for Spirituality & Healing
Obama Health Policy Adviser, TBA

Moderator: John Weeks, Integrator Blog News & Reports
Statement: There is good reason for reform of our system. The US spends over twice as much per capita as other nations on health care yet ranks 47th in outcomes, according to a leading study. An Institute of Medicine team estimates that up to half of current healthcare expenditures are waste.

While action is expected of the Obama administration, the Institute of Medicine joined with the Bravewell Collaborative to host a National Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public which will be held in Washington, D.C. a week after the Integrative Healthcare Symposium. The new director of the influential NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) will have clarified NCCAM's emerging agenda. The Department of Defense is increasingly exploring integrative practices. Polls of citizens in Iowa and Washington say they think integrative care of licensed practitioners should be in basic benefits plans. One hears talk of a new focus on prevention. There are signs of pro-activity from the integrative practice community. These intersecting lines will serve as a basis of a ranging discussion of roadmaps for the future of integrative practice.

Will policy-makers go deep in their reform thinking and take on the disease focus of the current system? Are we asking the right questions in the research arena? Is the integrative practice community prepared to contribute? What will it take?


Moderator Benda; forging coalitions
National Policy and Integrative Medicine: Building the Road
Karen Howard, AANP
Janet Kahn, PhD, IHP
Carla Mariano, RN, EdD, BS-HN
Donna Nowack, AHMA
David Seckman, NPA
John Weeks, ACCAHC
Moderator: Bill Benda, MD, Board Member, AANP & AHMA
Statement:  We are about to engage in a shift of our healthcare paradigm, heralded by growing numbers of summits, Conferences, panels, and their media coverage promoting unconventional strategies for managing wellness and disease. Very astute and experienced leaders are envisioning how a more integrative clinical, academic, and political approach may carry us through this transition. This leads us to ponder which individuals, organizations, and institutions will actually take on the challenge of bringing such vision into reality. This panel of organizational presidents and executive directors will openly and in good faith discuss communal goals as well as internal obstacles to authentic negotiation and collaboration in instilling the integrative philosophy into mainstream cultural and political thought.

The moderator, Bill Benda, MD is a board member of both the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) and the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), and advises the leadership of the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). He has been instrumental in a series of initiatives to build collaboration on national policy among integrative practice leaders. The panelists include 5 executive directors of national association, Karen Howard (AANP), Janet Kahn, PhD (Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium), Donna Nowack (AHMA), David Seckman (Natural Products Association) and John Weeks (Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care) plus past AHNA president Carla Mariano. All are exploring coalition on how to make a difference in health policy on a local and national scale.


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