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Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up: January 1-15, 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up: January 1-15, 2009

Summary:  Wall Street Journal column positions integrative medicine as key direction in health reform ... Religion Newswriters group advancing education of journalists on integrative practices ... Hello President-elect Obama: links to letters from the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians ...  IOM announces full run-down of speakers and panelists for the February 25-27, 2009 Summit. Harkin to headline economics group ... Boston Foundation surprises Pathways to Health with $75,000 grant ... New integrative cancer center open in Providence system in south Puget Sound ...  Do we need a new therapeutic order for the nation? Take a look at this plan for aligning resource investment ... Plus, new Osher-NCCAM award, a special something from HealthMath in these stressful times, and more ...
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Alternative medicine arrives
Chopra, Ornish, Roy & Weil: Alternative' Medicine Is Mainstream ... in the Wall Street Journal

The subhead of the January 9, 2009 column is: "The evidence is mounting that diet and lifestyle are the best cures for our worst afflictions." The authors are a nationally-known trio, plus a 4th, a holistic thinker (Rustom Roy) who is well-known to them. The news-peg for the piece is national health reform and the February 25-27 National Summit on Integrative Medicine hosted by the Institute of Medicine. What's big here is the medium: the Wall Street Journal. To appeal to the WSJ audience, the focus is on cost, and reform of the costly system. 
There is a pitch for the multi-factorial, Ornish type, group-delivered programs: "Integrative medicine approaches such as plant-based diets, yoga, meditation and psychosocial support may stop or even reverse the progression of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and other chronic conditions." The core point: "It's time to move past the debate of alternative medicine versus traditional medicine, and to focus on what works, what doesn't, for whom, and under which circumstances. It will take serious government funding to find out, but these findings may help reduce costs and increase health." I love this pitch:
"Integrative medicine approaches bring together those in red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, because these are human issues. They are both medically effective and, important in our current economic climate, cost effective. These approaches emphasize both personal responsibility and the opportunity to make affordable, quality health care available to those who most need it. Mr. Obama should make them an integral part of his health plan as soon as possible."
The argument in this column is worth a read, as case-statement positioning for integrative medicine. Congrats to the Bravewell (see IOM piece below) for their PR program that I would guess is responsible for getting this piece placed.

Educating journalists on integrative practices
Organization of religion newswriters to train journalists in integrative medicine.

Ruth Portnoy, with the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA), sends a note that the group is "doing some training for journalists in integrative medicine." The group is actively exploring programming ideas and is looking for appropriate speakers. RNA is a national journalism training organization "focusing on the intersection of religion and public affairs."  Portnoy makes it clear that RNA is not a religious organization, and that it's "clientele are secular media.
" Her contract information is


Straight talk to Obama
What the licensed acupuncture and naturopathic professions are saying to Obama

National organizations for two of the most significant of the licensed complementary and alternative healthcare professions - acupuncture and Oriental medicine and naturopathic medicine - recently sent hello letters to incoming president Obama, welcoming him and offering their insights into how more of what they have will help heal the system. The letter from the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine was sent December 24, 2008 and is available here.  Among the suggestions is implementation of the the White House Commission recommendation to set up an "office to coordinate CAM activities," and a request that licensed acupuncturists be included in National Health Services Corp legislation. Meantime, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, in a submission to the Obama transition team, recommends inclusion of naturopathic medical schools and ND practices in the primary care definition and in the electronic medical record (EMR) related activity which is shaping some of that medical home and primary care debate. The AANP recommends pilot projects in Department of Defense, underserved, and Native American sites. See the special note, below, on their definition of the "therapeutic order" - for the nation - which they recommend as a guiding rule for health reform.

Summit speakers announced
IOM-Bravewell Summit announces full agenda

On January 9, 2009, the Institute of Medicine announced the full line-up for the February 25-27
National Summit on Integrative Medicine developed with financial support and influence from the Bravewell Collaborative. A kick-off policy speaker has not yet been named, but US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) was nabbed for a keynote on economics. This is an excellent slot, as Harkin is heading up prevention and wellness thinking as part of Kennedy's team and is known for speaking about our need for creating a "wellness society." Notably, the full program does not appear to be manifesting too much integration of practitioner types. Among the list of 35 or so presenters, none of whom have their professional initials following their names, I spotted one nurse (Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN) and two PhD's with primary connection to the licensed natural health disciplines: Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPH/PA (acupuncture and Oriental medicine) and Janet Kahn, PhD (massage therapy). Each of these two is notably an individual with an academic position who is in a key leadership role in a multi-disciplinary consortium. Goldblatt chairs the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care and Kahn is executive director the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium, respectively. The gathering, said to have a waiting list, promises to be quite exciting for those who signed up early.

Integrative centers

Well deserved reward
Pathways to Wellness receives 'out-of-the'blue" $80,000 grant

Pathways to Wellness
, a significant provider of acupuncture and other holistic healthcare services in the Boston, Massachusetts area was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Boston Foundation.
The grant was part of an "Out of the Blue" program that provides "unsolicited one-year, one-time grants to exemplary organizations that have demonstrated a high level of achievement in terms of strong and effective community leadership, outstanding quality of work, and an impressive history of accomplishment," according to a January 14, 2009 release. Kristen Porter, LAc, executive director of Pathways to Wellness, states: “To be championed by such an esteemed board of directors provides an added surge of inspiration to our work”. Pathways has satellite clinics at major hospitals and health centers throughout the greater Boston area to provide integrative care to underserved populations such as veterans, refugees, and the disabled. The Boston Foundation is one of the nation's largest community foundations.

Rosemary Spyhalsky, RN, CN, HN-BC
Providence Integrative Cancer Center, Olympia, Washington
Rosemary Spyhalsky, RN, OCN, HN-BC
, sends a note that the former Sound Cancer Connections is now operating as Providence Integrative Cancer Care. The operation, for which Spyhalsky is the organizer, chief cook and bottle washer and administrator, was formed in March of 2007 when Providence St. Peter Hospital, RadiantCare Radiation Oncology and Providence Western Washington Oncology chose to create an integrative care program serving cancer patients in the Olympia, Washington area.  Five services are offered: therapeutic yoga, oncology massage, naturopathic oncology, acupuncture, and a nutrition class. Spyhalsky notes that the program was developed with "significant input from community practitioners of various fields from the program's inception. The medical leader of the program is Evan H. Hirsch, MD, ABIHM. The link to the program's transitional website is here. (360) 412-8951;

Imagine this

Posing a therapeutic order for policy investment
A new therapeutic order for the nation?

Many years ago my close colleague Pamela Snider, ND and I began playing with appying the naturopathic notion of the "therapeutic order" (use the least invasive things first) on the grand policy scale. We began talking about the need to change the "therapeutic order for the nation." We imagined the article neither of us got around to writing about what it would look like if US health policy actually invested in care strategies in accordance with that order. So it was intriguing to see, in the submission to Obama by Snider's national professional association, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, that a section of the document was devoted to laying out the concept. Have fun with this.
The naturopathic medical therapeutic order, articulated below, is the basic approach taken by naturopathic physicians to guide patients to wellness, beginning with the least force and moving to more invasive means as necessary. It stands as an example of how to integrate prevention strategies into our current treatment paradigm.

1. Re-establish the basis for health, removing obstacles to cure by establishing a healthy regimen.

2. Stimulate the body’s inherent ability to maintain and restore optimal health using various modalities and systems of health-botanicals, homeopathy, nutrition, hydrotherapy, touch, counseling, and Chinese medicine.

3. Support weakened systems using modalities to strengthen the immune system, decrease inflammation, optimize metabolic functioning, balance regulatory systems, enhance regeneration, and increase vitality.

4. Correct structural integrity, correcting physical imbalances by use of exercise,
manipulation, massage, and targeted nutrition.

5. Prescribe specific natural substances for pathology including vitamins, minerals,

herbs, diet, breathing techniques, hydrotherapies to target specific disease

6. Prescribe pharmaceutical intervention to halt and palliate disease process.

7. Recommend surgery, suppressive measures, radiation, and chemotherapy.

The kicker to this suggestion is that it precisely reverses the power structure in our tertiary care focused medical system. Use natural health before pharmaceutical drugs? Go to natural health practitioners first? Invest significantly in wellness? Will what is recommended here only be seen in the Biblical end-of-time when "the last will be first and the first will be last?" Will the IOM throw its weight behind this at the February Summit? Here's to Big Change in the Obama era.


Lou Sportelli, DC sends a reminder that on January 12, 2009, a new round of CAM Practitioner Research Development Awards has been opened through the unique collaboration between the Bernard Osher Foundation and the NIH NCCAM. See notice here.

The Institute of HeartMath has developed a De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times which it is offering for free to anyone, in English or in Spanish. The self-help 12 page booklet was written by HeartMath founder Doc Childre. It's a useful introduction to natural health, self-care principles which might move us toward Senator Tom Harkin's "wellness society," if we all were to practice what is offered.

The regional Tucson Integrative Health Professionals forum will feature Victoria Maizes, MD at its January 27, 2009 monthly forum. Maizes runs the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

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