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Issues #67 & #68 - Sept-Oct 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Issues #67 & #68 - Sept-Oct 2009

Issue #68 October 8, 2009

October 6, 2009

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Healthcare Round-up: September 4-October 6, 2009

Andrew Weil, MD offers 7 point action plan on health reform, community responds ... IOM report on Summit due out in November ... 47 members of Congress send letter backing non-discrimination among provider categories ... Academic Medicine article blasts R-25 integrative medicine programs in medical schools, U Minnesota responds ... Shifting landscape for massage educational organizations ... Group to issue educational standards for Yoga therapists ... NCCAM distributes portion of its Obama stimulus funds ...  Beth Clay on controversy over trial of Gonzalez' integrative pancreatic cancer treatment ... FCER, the former spearhead for chiropractic research, ends 60 years of visionary action ... Women legislators back anti-discrimination approach toward licensed acupuncturists ... Blue Cross Blue Shield federal employees program continues to list chiropractic doctors as physicians ... Holistic nursing certification agency marks upbeat in interest ... Employer's story shows how prejudice may restrict appropriate use of workplace massage as cost-saver ... Review paper of cost-related studies of acupuncture ... Economist Herman clarifies how she selected studies used in her reported presentation on areas for cost-savings from CAM ... Philanthropist members in Bravewell Collaborative show some change since 2007 ...  Ricki and Gunn big winners with $250,000 Dr. Rogers' Prize in complementary medicine ... Taylor Walsh shares integrative medicine tweeters ... Unique Hawaii Consortium for Integrative Health Care selects Wong as exec ... Dana Ullman, MPH now blogging at influential HuffPo ...  Pathways to Wellness expanding, seeks new executive director ... John Scaringe, DC chosen as president of Southern California University of Health Sciences ... Tim Birdsall, ND, FABNO honored as AANP Physician of the Year. More 

October 2, 2009

NCCAM's 2009 Grants with Obama's Recovery Money: The List of 52 Awards Totaling $17.8-Million

Credit Integrator reader Tayor Walsh for diving into files on the Obama economic stimulus/American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) site to create this list of the 52 ARRA grants awarded by the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2009. The first year grants totaled roughly $18-million of $32-million NCCAM will be disbursing. (The NCCAM total will ultimately be 0.39% of the $8.2-billion of ARRA funds to the NIH.) Included in this report are subjects, investigators, institutions, amounts and kind of award, plus some Integrator analysis of the types of grants awarded. Thanks Taylor. More

September 29, 2009

Eight Views on Andrew Weil's Seven Recommendations for True Healthcare Reform: Major ND Response

The call for responses to Andrew Weil's recommendations for true healthcare reform brought the most response from the naturopathic medical community, plus a mix of others. Author and AANP president Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO commends Weil for his "revolutionary" recommendations, and underscores the importance of gathering outcomes data. Integrative health leader Pamela Snider, ND urges Weil to go further and points some useful directions, including interesting references suggesting cost savings. Holistic medicine leader Bill Manahan, MD suggests changes in consciousness as central to the 8 "transitions" he recommends. Thaddeus Jacobs, ND, LAc and Pamela Frank, BSc, ND urge more inclusion. Health coach educator Linda Bark, PhD, RN likes Weil's ideas, but wonders how they will take off if we don't work together. True North executive director Tom Dahlborg explores what might happen if we viewed healthcare not as a right but as  an obligation, Finally, reader Mary Klifman wonders if we will get anywhere with any of Weil's recommendations without "corruption reform." More

September 29, 2009

Why influencing NCCAM’s Next Strategic Plan is Key to Shaping Integration in the U.S.

[From my September column.] On September 10, 2009, the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) convened members of its leading advisers to begin developing its next 5-year strategic plan. This plan will be issued in late 2010, the first under Josephine Briggs, MD, NCCAM’s director. The integrative practice community has significant time to influence the outcome. In this column, Janet Kahn, PhD, a former NCCAM adviser, current executive director of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium and participant in the kick-off session points out exceptional reasons we should be involved: namely, NCCAM is the only federal agency charged with "looking at how to move appropriate CAM usage into mainstream healthcare in the United States." Take a look, and consider how you, your profession or institution, might weigh in to influence NCCAM's direction.  More

September 27, 2009

Columnist Michael Levin: Author Michael Pollan's View of Insurance Reform Creates Opportunity for Integrative Practices

In a recent column in the New York Times, author Michael Pollan pits big food vs. big insurance, arguing that the elephant in the room in healthcare reform is obesity, and that the solution comes to slimming down. Integrator columnist Michael Levin finds in Pollan's perspective evidence that key characteristics of current insurance reform efforts create financial incentives that support investment in integrative practices. One wonders, with Pollan, whether "Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry." Yet Levin's argument is clear that we may be seeing changes that could stimulate investment in therapeutic approaches which support habit change. Will these changes incentivize insurers to finally invest significantly in health creation? More

September 24, 2009

Taking on the AMA Campaign to Limit Scope: Interview with Incoming Coalition for Patients Rights Co-Chair Karen Howard, AANP Executive

When the American Medical Association (AMA) announced in 2006 that it was going to challenge scope of practice expansions of virtually all other professions, an amalgam of 35 organizations called the Coalition for Patient Rights (CPR) quickly sprung up to defend against what the AMA called its Scope of Practice Partnership. Four of the aligned organizations were from integrative practice fields. Among the 4 trained spokespersons for the CPR, and slated to become co-chair later this month, is Karen Howard, the executive director of CPR member American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. The Integrator caught up with Howard recently to learn more about the AMA campaign, and CPR's responses. Here is a brief interview. More

September 20, 2009

Andrew Weil, MD Issues Health Care "Call to Action" with 7 Key Recommendations

Author and integrative medicine spokesperson Andrew Weil, MD is one of the nation's most recognized medical doctors. His is certainly the face of integrative medicine. This month, Weil put that face and influence directly in service to a "call to action" on the nation's healthcare. Weil's 7 recommendations quickly reached the 300,000-400,000 unique visitors to his own site plus readers of the Huffington Post and other national media. His voice arrived as the voice of integrative medicine. Are these recommendations your top seven for the field? What would you add, delete or shift in importance? Is this your top 7 agenda for shifting US healthcare? More

Issue #67 September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up:  August 6-September 3, 2009

Top NCCAM-funded researcher Berman founds Institute for Integrative Health ...  Walsh's examination of inclusion (or not) of CAM/integrative practitioners in US House healthcare reform bill ... Economist/researcher Herman reports 9 therapies/21 conditions where use of CAM is shown to be cost saving ... Response to Integrator from NCCAM director Briggs shares reasons for 10th anniversary symposium theme, coming priorities ... Janet Polli selected as first executive director of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine ... Key AOM researcher Hammerschlag retires ... Guiltinan selected to chair naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University ... Center for Integrative Medicine in the Public Health forges relationships with network of 13 clinics to provide integrative services to the underserved ... Chiropractic professionals forge links between the American Public Health Association and US Bone and Joint Decade ... Inner Harmony Wellness Center selected University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine fellow Phaythoune Chothmounethinh, MD as medical director ... AMA's Scope of Practice Partnership targets 30 ND, DC, LAc and certified professional midwife scope expansion legislative initiatives in 2009 ... Naturopathic physicians report legislative gains in HI, OR, WA, CT, NH, VT and elsewhere ... MD starting salaries: Are they part of the problem in the health of the nation? ... Chiropractic organization raises $1-million for autumn ad campaign to promote the role of DCs in health reform ... Huffington Post selects Dean Ornish, MD as its medical editor ... Author and integrative medicine policy enthusiast Dana Ullman, MPH shares letter exchange with Washington Post writer regarding coverage of anti-NCCAM story ... More

September 3, 2009

AMA's Scope of Practice Partnership Targets 30 Legislative Efforts of DCs, NDs, LAcs and Certified Professional Midwives in 2009

The American Medical Association has been working in opposition to over 30 state legislative actions of naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners and Certified Professional Midwives in 2009. The list of these actions, published here, is part of a broader list of 154 against all non-MD profession which the AMA as part of that guild's Scope of Practice Partnership campaign (AMA SOPP). The campaign, begun in 2006, is presented by the AMA as a public safety concern, though little evidence has materialized suggesting that this is other than an effort to keep other professions from entering the MDs turf. Here is the complete list of 30, and a link to the broader list of 154. More 

September 3, 2009

Our Ideals and the Politics of Affirmative Action: Should We Abandon "CAM"?

[From my Integrative Practitioner column] The "CAM" appellation, a drag net to scoop up everything off medicine’s floor that is not conventionally accepted, has never had many champions. Those at the recent IOM Summit and related hearings in front of Congress favored "integrative medicine" or "integrative health." In fact, US Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has suggested that we take the CAM out of NCCAM and rename the NIH center. Now a Delphi Method survey that is underway out of a Marja Verhoef's respected research shop at the University of Calgary is wondering whether it's time to give up the term. Yet there is resistance in many savvy "CAM" leaders. Top-line chiropractic researcher and Palmer College West president Bill Meeker, DC suggests wisely that when it is time, we need an "exit strategy." Here are my own musings, borne of participating in the Delphi survey. More

August 28, 2009

21st Century Medicine: Co-Authors Jones/Hoffmann, plus Jim Whedon, DC and Kara Fitzgerald, ND Respond to the Review of IFM's Exceptional White Paper

If there is one must-read document on health reform to come out of the broader integrative practice community this year I would repeat, as I said in my earlier review, that it is 21st Century Medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine. Sit down for an evening and let yourself learn. These additional perspectives, from NIH fellow and Dartmouth health services researcher James Whedon, DC and from Kara Fitzgerald, ND of Metametrix Institute offer useful insights from two disciplines that were not directly treated in the text. Co-authors David Jones, MD and Laurie Hoffmann, MPH share more on functional medicine's relationships with these other disciplines as well as efforts to penetrate medical schools. Larry Dossey, MD, also offers a supportive perspective. More

August 28, 2009

Why Isn't NCCAM's 10th Year Anniversary Symposium Focusing on Real World Outcomes? A Response from Director Josephine Briggs, MD

When I learned that NIH NCCAM's 10th anniversary celebration in December 2009 was to focus on natural products and mind-body medicine, I was honestly deflated. Why not focus on the exciting directions toward real world outcomes and effectiveness research which NCCAM director Josephine Briggs, MD has articulated? Given the Obama administration's focus on comparative effectiveness research, this seemed a missed opportunity. Even to focus on pain conditions, another of Briggs' spoken priorities, would seem to be a more proactive direction if one's interest is in showing the value of NCCAM to the public and members of Congress. I contacted NCCAM with a series of questions. Here is Briggs' informative, thoughtful and useful response. More

August 27, 2009

Herman's Systematic Review Yields Top 9 Conditions/21 Therapies with High Quality Evidence of Cost Savings from CAM

A systematic review of over 6600 articles found 256 with CAM economic evaluations. Forty-eight were deemed "high quality," with comparisons available. These yielded 9 areas where complementary and alternative medicine for specific conditions have generated evidence of not merely cost-effectiveness but of cost-savings. So reports the professional who is emerging as the leading North American voice on CAM costs, economist-practitioner-researcher Patricia Herman, ND, MS, PhD. Herman co-authored the paper on the economics of integrative medicine for the recent Institute of Medicine Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. She reported findings from her 75% complete systematic review of over 8,000 references at the August 2009 convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Here are Herman's top 9. More   

August 21, 2009

Honoring Acupuncture Researcher Richard Hammerschlag, PhD: Six Voices on His Roles and Post-Retirement Plans

This Integrator article honors acupuncture and Oriental medicine researcher Richard Hammerschlag, PhD, who retires this month from a decade of productive leadership. Those commenting include Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, Brian Berman, MD, Anne Nedrow, MD, Rosa Schnyer, LAc, DAOM, Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, and Dan Cherkin, PhD. Hammerschlag has not only been the lead researcher from a CAM institution in the AOM field. He was also played important roles in the founding of SAR, OCIM, ACCAHC. Hammerschlag's own comments and those of Berman speak to Hammerschlag's upcoming role as a scholar at the Institute for Integrative Health which Berman founded. More

August 14, 2009

All Integrator Round-ups Since May 2008

In May 2008, the Integrator began publishing a "newsletter-inside-the-newsletter" to subscribers and others as a mean of providing a quick scan of action related to integrative practice. Three significant organizations in the field now routinely send these out to their members, recognizing their value - and reaching over 150,000! Assembling them all here will give anyone a decent overview of what's what since we began publishing these in May 2008. Here's hoping these prove useful to you! It's fascinating to take a quick scan, particularly recalling that when I began writing a newsletter on the "CAM" field in 1997, the publisher asked me if there was enough going on to fill 8 pages each month. Please join me in thanking Integrator sponsors NCMIC Group, Alternative Medicine Integration Group, Inner Harmony Group, Institute for Health and Productivity Management and Integrative Practitioner/Integrative Healthcare Symposium for making this service possible.  -- John Weeks, Publisher-Editor. More
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