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Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up: January 17-29, 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up: January 17-29, 2009

Summary: Impact of the Integrator campaign against defunding NCCAM at Obama's ... U.S. Senator Harkin pushes $1.1 billion of "effectiveness research" money into nation's economic stimulus package ... CEO Todd Linden's view of an integration strategy in a rural hospital ... Integrative clinic and employer wellness consultant Nancy Hart offer "teleclass" on integrative strategies ... Yoga's impact at NIH and HHS expands as National Yoga Month declared ... 25 distinct organizations become Participating Organizations for the May 12-13 North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine ... Bland, Karan to be honored at Integrative Healthcare Symposium, February 19-21 in New York City ... ND school in grant from First Nations and Intuit health Branch of Health Canada ... Briggs to speak at APHA conference ... Triad's Hillary Davis starts new healthcare blog ...  

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Integrator alert against defunding NCCAM has impact
Integrator effort against "Defund NCCAM" campaign at Obama's has impact

Many thanks to all of you who responded briskly to the Integrator Urgent Action Alert mailed 18 January, 2009 (
Integrator Urgent Action Update: Your Vote Needed TODAY at Against De-Funding NCCAM.) You had a significant impact, despite barely 6 hours of time to post before the site was closed. By closing, nearly half of all the comments on the site came from supporters, most of them posted after the Integrator mailing. In those few hours, the vote total in favor of defunding declined by roughly 40%. Check the site and wave of nearly 100 comments in favor of NCCAM (and against the initiative) which began to be posted after the Integrator mailing. Any Obama reviewers of the "Defund NCCAM" page will certainly recognize a pattern of that one organized constituency created a campaign against NCCAM and another (semi)organized constituency learned of that campaign and opposed it. Obama's people will also be likely to guess, by the times of the postings, that many more voices would have been heard had the site not been closed.
Comment: Clearly, we had an impact. I know a number of you read the Integrator alert and immediately sent it out to your own lists. Examples were Dan Church, PhD, president of Bastyr University, to his faculty and/or student list; Merrily Manthey, a Washington State health freedom activist, to her members; Linda Bark, RN, to her holistic health coach list; Jacob Shor, ND, FABNO, to his patient list and Pamela Miles to a targeted list from her Reiki community. I was struck that the Integrator subscriber list includes many of you who can, by re-sending an alert, quickly fire up a grassroots campaign. The question for us of course is identifying the initiatives that are core to us and that we are all likely to support. Keeping NCCAM funded is one. I think Wayne Jonas' Wellness Initiative for the Nation is another. (I have told Jonas as much adn asked him to let me know when the use of the Integrator would be valuable.) The issues of wellness, and of ensuring we have the economic support to examine what we do (NCCAM), cut across all our interests. What else is emerging that is worthy of support?

Harkin proposes $1.1 billion for effectiveness research

Integrator contributor Daphne White shares that U.S. Senator Tom Harkin has proposed a Comparative Effectiveness Research project as part of the $819 billion Economic Stimulus Bill.  White notes that the provision is noted under "Health Care," near the bottom, in this way: "Comparative Effectiveness Research: $1.1 billion to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NIH and the HHS Office of the Secretary to evaluate the relative effectiveness of different health care services and treatment options. Expanding this research has the potential to greatly improve health care quality." White notes that there is an apparent consumer effort opposing the provision that actually has Big Pharma funding behind it. The group argues that effectiveness research will limit people's access to health care. States White, reasonably: "Well, yes, if it's ineffective health care." White adds: "This could be a good thing if complementary and alternative medicine treatments are included under 'different health care services and treatment options.'" Then she adds: "Notice it doesn't say ;medical' but 'health care.'" White plans to explore what Harkin intents to accomplish in an upcoming piece in the Integrator as well as share more about the Pharma-funded "consumer" effort against it. Thank you, Daphne!
Comment: As an observer of the process of the economic stimulus bill I have tended to side with the Republicans who have argued that it is just a huge Christmas tree hung with the Democrats' favorite "pork" projects, rather than, for instance, and aggressive infrastructure programs to provide jobs while rebuilding our decaying infrastructure. Funny how I don't feel as critical when some thing I care about may be helped by such a special project.

Integrative Practices

Todd Linder - hospital exec gives tips for integration
Todd Linden: Rural hospital CEO offers views on starting an integrative program

Taylor Walsh sends news of an article on integrative practices in the hospital environment which features Todd Linden, CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center. In the September 2008 article, Linden recommends that hospitals start by bringing in a licensed massage therapist. Next step: volunteerism. Find people in the community who might have some skills in "pet or music therapy" they want to offer, or see if there are staff who are trained in complementary practices. Resistance from medical staff may be encounters, says Linden. He suggests that it be met by giving them massages.  Linden
reports that GRMC's integrated medicine program makes money and covers its costs, but that's almost a secondary consideration. "What it really does is largely impact our ability to expand our optimal healing environment," he says. "That helps with length of stay and patient and staff satisfaction, which improves retention and recruiting. It's part of a bigger picture."

Top-flight integrative clinic business consultant Nancy Hart offers teleclass

Nancy Hart, MBA, CMPE has been consulting with diverse integrative initiatives in every kind of environment: hospital-based, freestanding clinics, not-for-profit, for-profit, since the invention of "integrative medicine." Hart was recently a featured presenter at the Health Forum Integrative Medicine for Healthcare Organizations conference in 2008. Through her new business, Custom Health Integration ("Care Solutions from the Best of Both Worlds") she is now offering a telephone based class about which she says: "So far people have loved the telephone-based consulting and its a low-cost way to get assistance."


Employers: HHS's Designated National Yoga Month, plus NIH wellness week


Is the NIH sufficiently researching what it is practicing? That question may grow if the the agency's new "CORE" program takes off. The acronym, which stands for "conditioning and relating," is the title given to the National Institutes of Health's CORE Week, February 9-13, 2009. Participants in the week of programs "will learn techniques to improve their health and will have the opportunity to try various styles of fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates, running, walking, hip-hop dancing and more." The release notes that CORE grew out of its "Yoga Week" in May 2008 which "received national acclaim and resulted in the designation by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) of September as National Yoga Month." CORE Week is only the second of these events and more are planned for the future. Information on the week's events are available at this link.
Comment: If the NIH keeps up these programs, they may one day have to try and create an operating definition of "health," which I have been told does not exist for those Institutes of same. That would be a nice step toward aligning the NIH with the Senator Harkin's vision of moving from a disease culture to a "culture of health" in the United States.


Over 2 dozen significant organizations participate to support the May 12-15 meeting
North American Research Conference Draws Compelling Group of Participating Organizations

Attendees of the May 2006 first North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NARCCIM) immediately recognized the power in this event. Organized by the MD-oriented Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, coordinators went out of their way to include research findings and topics that reached out to diverse integrative practice disciplines. For round two, the May 12-15, 2009 meeting in Minneapolis, even more effort has been made to expand the group of Participating Organizations. The list of 25 draws a wide circumference.

Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC)
American Association of Accupuncture & Oriental Medicine
Foundation for Chiropractic Education & Research
International Association of Medical Science Educators
International Association of Yoga Therapists
Peninsula Medical School, Exeter
Society for Acupuncture Research
Society for Integrative Oncology
The Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for CAM Research (IN-CAM)
The International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)
American Herbal Products Assn
American Holistic Medical Assn
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Canadian Pediatric Complementary and Alternative Medicine Network
Association of Chiropractic Colleges
The Institute of Integrative Health
Oregon Collaborative for Complementary and Integrative Medicine 
KaMaH-Israel Assn for Health-Promoting Therapies
Pathways, a Health Crisis Resource Center
Canadian Research Institute of Spirituality & Healing (CRISH)
Israel Society for Complementary Medicine
The National Institute of Complementary Medicine
American Medical Student Association
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

NARRCIM has recently posted its compelling list of selected abstracts.  (One of those accepted, by Weeks, John, is on the outcomes of a survey MD-administrators on the competencies of licensed acupuncturists for participation in MD-dominated integrative settings.)
Comment: This is a rare meeting and probably will not happen again until 2012. I have been pleased to be involved on one of the planning teams. If you have an inkling to go, make it so! You won't regret it.


Donna Karan - to be honored for her vision
Bland, Karan to be honored at Integrative Healthcare Symposium

Jeffrey Bland, PhD and Donna Karan will each be honored at the February 19-21 Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York City.
A note from IHS states that the Scientific Achievement Award will go to Jeffrey Bland, PhD, and the Visionary Leadership Award to Donna Karan. Bland has been the mosty influential scientist involved with the natural products induistry and is the founder of the influential "functional medicine" movement via the Institute for Functional Medicine. Karan's interest in integrative practice is based in the Urban Zen initiative through which she is attempting to transform inpatient care. IHS, an Integrator sponsor, anticipates drawing over 1000 attendees to its meeting

Naturopathic school funded to study by aboriginal group

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine recently conducted a preliminary study to examine the potential utilization of naturopathic medicine in improving health care provision to First Nations people. The study was commissioned by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.  the notice was part of a list developed by the
Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) of a quick look at highlights of developments inside the 6 accredited North American programs in naturopathic medicine.  For those interest, the AANMC also published this list of the top 10 for complementary and alternative medicine developments in 2008.

Hillary Davis: starts up health reform blog
Hillary Davis, vice president at Triad Healthcare, begins new blog

Hillary Davis, a marketing vice president with Triad Healthcare with a long background in health policy shares that she has started a new blog entitled Towards Better Health Care. With Agostino Villani, Davis co-authored Pain is Not a Disease, a fascinating re-think of the conventional approach to pain which is the subject of a half-written but not yet published Integrator review. Triad was instrumental in backing the Integrator in 2006-2007.

NCCAM director to speak at American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting

Adam Burke, PhD, MPH, LAc sends notice that Josephine Briggs, MD, director of NCCAM, has agreed to speak at the November 7-1, 2009 annual meeting of the APHA. Her talk will be sponsored by the APHA Alternative and Complementary Health Practices SPIG. Burke, who has been volunteering in the leadershiop of that SPIG, notes that he is "looking to see if we can get Dr. Briggs chosen for as a plenary speaker for the conference at large (13,000 attendees)." He's seeking connections, if any of you have any!  If any of you have connections with APHA leadership please let me know.  APHA conference information is available here

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