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Your Ideas on #10 for the Top 10 in Integrative Practice from 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Your Ideas: #10 for the Top 10 in Integrative Practice from 2009

Summary: When I published my list of the Integrator Top 10 from 2008 and left open #10 for your input. First, Bill Manahan, MD, offered his own list of 10 ideas for revisioning healthcare, and a couple of people quipped that the honoring of teh AANP was too high, or premature. Then a half-dozen other ideas drifted in. I have been slow to assemble these. Here they are, finally, in various forms: Pathways to Wellness, the Myrna Brind Center, the National Center for Homeopathy, the "new family care doctor's office," and a suggestion that we take a collective back-patting for the resilience we are showing as a community.

The call for Integrator readers to supply a #10 to the Integrator Top 10 from 2008 elicited a few direct responses and a few thoughtful comments. The most thorough was from holistic leader and family medicine educator Billl Manahan, MD, who offered his own list of what we need. (See Holistic Leader Bill Manahan, MD: "My Tenth Idea - Revisioning Healthcare for 2009" .)
I was personally pleased with an e-mailed comment on the "excellence" of the work from a respected colleague, Claire Johnson, DC, MSEd, who edits the Elsevier publication, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Thank you Claire! Here are some additional responses.

Pathways to Wellness: 20 years of service
Top Choice for #10
: Pathways to Wellness: 20 Years of Partnerships

I almost noted Boston-based not-for-profit Pathways to Wellness this year for its 20 years of dedication and achievement. Led by Kristen Porter, MAc, MAc executive director, and Beth Sommers, MPH, LAc, ScD (cand.), Pathways began in 1988 as the AIDs Care Project. The center expanded its services via a name change to Pathways for Complementary Medicine, then later to its present presentation as a wellness-focused entity. Through relationships with various hospitals and community centers, Pathways was a long record of significant service in creating access through a combination of a dedicated staff, low cost services, group services, donated care and grants. Meantime, research director Sommers is serving on the national stage as a co-chair of the Alternative and Complementary Health Practices section of the American Public Health Association. The recognition is also for the modeling of a commitment to exploring outcomes of their care to expand the knowledge base on which we all stand. Thanks for the long, quiet labor!

Myrna Brind: a passion for integrative medicine
Deserves mention: Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine

#4 on the list was "Resurgence and Expansion of Integrative Clinics and Centers."  I list a dozen or so examples of clinic developments. I was notified by a reader that I would have been served to have included the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. My bad. And not juts for not noting it here, but for not staying in touch with this center knowing what I learned when I first began surveying emerging centers in 1998. Back then, the Brind Center stood out early as among the most significant clinical programs, in part because it took the risk in more deeply embracing paradigm shift principles, such as the Hippocratic saying emblazoned on its home page: "The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well." The clinic is run by Daniel Monti, MD, and includes a staff six MDs, and 11 other staff practitioners. Philadelphia Magazine rates it as a "center of excellence for alternative medicine" in a special on top hospitals. A fine testament to Myrna and Ira Brind and for Myrna Brind's "impassioned advocacy for integrative medicine" which is noted here.

Homeopathy organization links with medical school,
Suggested: National Center for Homeopath

A reader suggest the National Center for Homeopathy be listed for "the work that the organization has done to keep homeopathy alive in the US." Among (relatively) recent actions of the organization, under the leadership of Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHOM (NA) which were cited were:

  • Developing a seminar series, On the Road, for self care in disaster and emergency situations following the World Trade Center and Katrina incidents.

Comment:  The Integrator acknowledgments focus not on what one discipline or organization may have accomplished in a year. Rather, the focus is on what an individual discipline or field did which links and integrates with others. The argument I was presented for listing NCH mainly related to discipline-centric accomplishments. However, these two areas fit the bill.

Will AANP initiative have legs?
Questioned selection: Should the AANP, Howard and CJR 406 have been #2?

I had two readers who wished to remain anonymous suggest that I placed the wellness initiative led by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians to create a coalition to promote Congressional Joint 406) too high on the Top 10 list, at #2. This may be a good criticism. For me, the action was catapulted there by 3 characteristics converging. First, this is an example of the the integrative practice organizations pushing the wellness paradigm most espouse, rather than merely their parochial agendas. Second, we need to form coalitions. The AANP was taking the lead in doing so. The third is, well, my 1983-1993 direct involvement with the naturopathic profession has left me hoping, 15 years hence, that the AANP would show leadership beyond its guild interests. So, perhaps the placement at #2 was aspirational. Whether it was merited will be based on whether AANP executive director
Karen Howard, Bill Benda, MD and the organizations they assembled keep working together, and make some headway in promoting the wellness agenda.

A vision for #10: The new family care doctor's office    

From social worker Lisa Grady, LCSW, MS, I received this telegram of a response: "Using a truly integrated approach to treating the total patients need in a family care physicians office. Having available a mental health professional, a personal trainer or wellness coach and massage therapist (all licensed) so that the patients can talk and strategize how to get well and stay well using a team at the same visit. This is the new family care doctors office." Lisa Graddy LCSW, MS  

Taylor Walsh: upbeat for 2009!
Staying power of the community, and a nomination for the list for ... 2009

Reader and contributor Taylor Walsh offered a general observation: "The Top 10 list shows the staying power attained by the community. Next year it will be great to add: 'National Integrative Wellness Association formed to advance the inclusion of wellness strategies and practice throughout the US financial and clinical health systems.' An honest to god lobbying operation with real lawyers, favorite spirits in the Congress and whatever else elevates wellness to parity with the fix-it system." Walsh is at

Thanks to all of you who contributed your ideas. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

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