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Quarterly News from the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care: Nov. 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Quarterly Report from the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care: November 2009

Summary: I split my professional life between the Integrator and related writing and the organization featured here, the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) which, as a multidisciplinary entity, lives and breaths the integration-related issues reported here. This article is ACCAHC's November 2009 Quarterly Report. Featured are: ACCAHC's newly published Clinicans' and Educators' Desk Reference on the Licensed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Professions; a focal project on determining the competencies of CAM professionals for integration in conventional delivery facilities; two collaborations with recipients of the "reverse R-25" NIH NCCAM grants to help with dissemination of the programs and materials they piloted (including a conference planned for the spring of 2011); and news that NBCE and NCCAOM have joined ACCAHC as full members. 
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Note: The following report from the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) is an update on projects that the ACCAHC board of directors and leaders of ACCAHC's 15 member organizations are defining and shaping. The work, with which I am involved as executive director, is exciting in what these leaders are developing and accomplishing, given the call for collaboration and teamwork in healthcare and the relative dearth of good examples. This issue and the June 2009 issue, the first meant for public consumption, are posted here on the ACCAHC site. ACCAHC, and the Integrator, welcome your feedback and comments.

ImageNovember 2009 Quarterly Report
Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care

Purpose:  The ACCAHC Quarterly Report educates members, participants and interested parties on recent work to fulfill on ACCAHC's mission. Feel free to circulate to others. Annual Membership Tele-Meeting December 1, 2:00 PM Pacific time. If interested, contact John Weeks ( ) or Beth Rosenthal ( ).

ACCAHC Publishes Clinicians’ and Educators’ Desk Reference on the Licensed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Professions

“This information will be very useful to patients, healthcare professionals, educators, students and those responsible for future clinical research and healthcare policy.”
 – David Eisenberg, MD, Harvard Medical School, from his Preface

For ordering information:
$24.96 individual copies; $17.50 each for bulk orders of 25 or more

We are excited to announce that the ACCAHC Clinicians’ & Educators’ Desk Reference is now available! We developed this resource over 2 years principally through partnerships with our member educational organizations: CCAOM, AANMC, AMTA-COS, ACC and MEAC. By focusing on practitioners rather than therapies, we fill an important gap in the integration dialogue. Through the chapters from vetted authors we introduce educators and clinicians everywhere to the substance of what our licensed practitioners bring to patient care.

Image“Our main goal with the book,” states project leader Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, “is to foster inter-professional education so that all healthcare practitioners will have access to information about the licensed CAM fields in order to cultivate clinical, educational and research collaborations.” The book also offers 6 sections as appendices on related integrative practice fields developed in partnership with member organizations IAYT and NAMA and with other holistic and integrative nursing and medical organizations.

Academic, medical and nursing leaders have greeted the book enthusiastically. The ACCAHC Desk Reference:

  • “…removes the veil from the licensed practitioners who have won the devotion of a significant portion of our population” according to Larry Dossey, MD and Barbara Dossey, PhD, RN.
  • “…is a great platform for developing relationships (with members of the licensed systems of treatment) to serve our patients,” states Andrew Weil, MD.
  • “…creates common ground in which patient-centered care is central” states the Forward from 3 leaders of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

This Clinicians’ and Educators’ Desk Reference is intended to be useful in the classrooms of all health professions educators. To facilitate its use, the ACCAHC Education Working Group, led by co-chair Jan Schwartz and ACCAHC assistant director Beth Rosenthal, PhD, MPH, MBA, developed a power-point based on the book as a teaching tool. Contact for information. We hope that you will all use the book! Give us your feedback so we can incorporate your thoughts in our next edition. Thanks to everyone who participated in making possible what the Dosseys called “a landmark achievement.”

Clinical Care and Education Working Groups to Focus on Competencies, Resources and Institutional Tools to Support Practice in Integrated Settings

It is a truism regarding all of the ACCAHC disciplines that each developed its educational programs and accreditation requirements in an era when virtually the only practice opportunities for graduates were by setting up solo practices. Times are changing. More opportunities are arising for clinical work and clinical education in hospitals, community health centers and multidisciplinary clinics. Many of our schools are engaging clinical and research collaborations with other institutions.  Some of our schools are becoming universities. Behind the opportunities are medico-cultural-clinical-economic challenges. In addition, many of our graduates have student debt with which positions in mainstream delivery might assist. This is a moment when confidence and competence in opening and walking through these doors is important.

Following action in September, the ACCAHC Education Working Group (EWG) and Clinical Care Working Group (CWG) will move directly into supporting educators, institutions and clinicians seizing these new opportunities. In May, at the ACCAHC leadership gathering at Northwestern Health Sciences University, the EWG and CWG each had their first face-to-face brain-storming on priorities and directions. Following subsequent phone meetings and group email exchanges, both working groups determined to focus on developing the inter-professional education and institutional resources, curricular modules, teaching tools, how-to-guides, best-practices information and more that will support work in integrative environments. Task forces in each working group have taken on clarifying projects. First efforts focus on reviewing key documents which have begun identifying competencies (knowledge-skills-attitudes) for practice in conventional environments.  Driving the effort as the co-chairs for the CWG, Marcia Prenguber, ND and Kathy Taromina, LAc and for the EWG Jan Schwartz and Mike Wiles, DC. (See under “Leadership” for the other participants.) Contact ACCAHC assistant director Beth Rosenthal, PhD, MPH, MBA if you have an interest in participating: .

Start Planning: NIH R-25 Grantees Invite ACCAHC to Co-Convene Spring 2011 Meeting

ACCAHC was honored in July to be asked by the recipients of the NIH R-25 education grants, which focus on shifting the research culture in CAM schools, to co-convene a major, multidisciplinary “dissemination conference” in 2011. All of the NIH awardees are developing pilot programs relative to evidence based medicine and curriculum in research. They have a responsibility to disseminate their findings to other schools. The fit is good: investigators from 6 of the 8 grantee institutions are represented on the ACCAHC Research Working Group: National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), Northwestern Health Sciences University, Palmer College, Bastyr University, Western States Chiropractic College and Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Both ACCAHC RWG co-chairs Christine Goertz, DC, PhD (Palmer) and Heather Zwickey, PhD (NCNM) are investigators on R-25s. Says Zwickey, who is taking a lead for the RWG in the planning:  “At a meeting of the R-25 group at the NIH we realized that ACCAHC is an obvious multi-denominational’ convener.”  The idea of the meeting is also a good fit for ACCAHC as ACCAHC’s leaders have been considering a conference to advance its mission by gathering educators and disseminating the products and projects of all of its working groups. The meeting is tentatively planned for the spring of 2011. Details on place and exact dates are under discussion. Stay tuned!

Research Working Group developing web-guide to help disseminate cornucopia of resources from R-25 grants

Hand-in-hand with the development of the 2011 conference, noted above, the ACCAHC Research Working Group is also committed to creating a substantial resource on the ACCAHC website through which educators from all ACCAHC schools can be linked to the tremendous cornucopia of tools, content, educational strategies, curricular elements and published papers which these leading edge programs in changing culture have created. Explains Richard Hammerschlag, PhD, an RWG member and principal investigator on the R-25 grant to Oregon College of Oriental Medicine: “A challenge for all of our schools is in developing and sustaining investment in research and fostering a research culture among our faculty and students. Our hope is that by making the grant-created programs and products readily available this process can be made easier and less costly for other CAM colleges.” Following a resolution by the RWG, ACCAHC executive director John Weeks began interviewing all of the RWG awardees to explore the elements that might be made public. The RWG anticipates reviewing a draft document before the end of the year.

ACCAHC Presence at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference November 8-11

ACCAHC leaders will be involved both in exhibiting and presenting at the upcoming annual conference of the American Public Health Association.

  • Exhibiting ACCAHC will share a table in the exhibit hall with APHA's Alternative and Complementary Health Practices (ACHP) Special Interest Group in Philadelphia, November 8-11, 2009. Over 10,000 public health professionals are expected to attend. Organizing and representing ACCAHC is assistant director Beth Rosenthal, PhD, MPH, MBA. In a note to ACCAHC leadership, on October 19, Rosenthal offered ACCAHC organizational members a chance to display materials about their organizations and institutions on the ACCAHC exhibit table. Rosenthal will also be displaying materials about the ACCAHC Clinicians’ & Educators’ Desk Reference on the Licensed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Professions. Rosenthal anticipates a significant turnout from ACCAHC-related educators and researchers and urges anyone to stop by.

  • Presenting  Two members of the ACCAHC Education Working Group (EWG), Adam Burke, PhD, MPH, LAc and Donna M. Feeley, MPH, RN, CMT will present a paper developed through the EWG at the APHA meeting entitled “Characteristics of CAM-Competent Consumers: optimal endpoints for integrative healthcare education.” Among the competencies proposed are “education in the recognition of alternative healthcare/CAM diversity, appropriateness of self-care, integrative healthcare provider choice, issues of efficacy and safety, product quality and selection and lifestyle.” 

National University of Health Sciences grants $10,000 to assist CEDR book

Jim Winterstein, DC, president of National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) has been a significant supporter of ACCAHC from the beginning. ACCAHC’s mission of fostering better inter-disciplinary relationships is close to that at NUHS where Winterstein has steered a 100-year-old, broad scope chiropractic medical school into becoming a multi-disciplinary university of natural health sciences with programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, naturopathic medicine and massage therapy. As information about the Clinicians’ and Educators’ Desk Reference began to be publicized to ACCAHC’s leaders, Winterstein assisted in offering useful edits. He then surprised ACCAHC with a decision to grant $10,000 to support production, publication and marketing costs to get this book out to the widest audience possible. Thank you Dr. Winterstein and NUHS!

ACCAHC Board and Membership Developments

The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) and National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) each chose to move from affiliate status to become full member organizations of ACCAHC. NBCE’s membership began this year and NCCAOM begins in 2010. NBCE’s executive vice president Horace Elliott and NCCAOM’s CEO Kory Ward-Cook each attended the ACCAHC leadership meeting in May, as did Tess Hahn, NCCAOM’s board chair. We look forward to their increased participation.  

The ACCAHC Board of Directors is shifting with the leadership of our member organizations and with the new organizational members following action at the October 21, 2009 Board of Directors meeting.  

New members Guru Sandesh Khalsa, ND, was nominated by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) for which he serves as vice chair. Khalsa directs the department of naturopathic medicine at the University of Bridgeport. (His predecessor from the AANMC, Pat Wolfe, ND, will stay involved with ACCAHC as a member of the Education Working Group.) David Wickes, DC was nominated by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), for which he serves as chair. Wickes is vice president at Western States Chiropractic College.  Finally, Kory Ward-Cook, PhD, MT (ASCP), CAE was nominated by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and will come onto the Board in 2010 which NCCAOM’s full membership begins. Ward-Cook is already providing leadership within ACCAHC, chairing the Certification and Testing Special Interest Group and heading up a team that is developing ACCAHC’s Policy Working Group.

Returning members Board member and executive committee member Marcia Prenguber, ND, FABNO will return to a second term on the board following her re-nomination by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education. We are also pleased to welcome back Frank Nicchi, MS, DC, re-nominated by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges which he serves as president. In addition, Wickes predecessor, Joe Brimhall, DC, was nominated to a new term by the ACCAHC’s individual college members and will continue with his position on the executive committee.

Thank you! ACCAHC thanks Patricia Wolfe, ND, and Donna Feeley, RN, MPH, CMT for their service on the ACCAHC board. Feeley has also served on the ACCAHC executive committee, will be rotating off the board when her term is up at the end of 2009. Feeley, who serves as faculty at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she teaches a CAM/IM course, will continue on the Education Working Group. Wolfe, now president emeritus at the Boucher Institute, will also continue to participate with ACCAHC through membership on the Education Working Group.  


ACCAHC stimulated involvement of nearly 40 of its leaders in a research survey project, using a Delphi method, regarding whether it’s time to get rid of the “CAM” denotation. Opinions vary widely! … The Townsend Letter for Doctors published an article on the IOM Summit which prominently featured ACCAHC chair Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, who served on the IOM’s planning committee. The IOM’s report on the meeting is due out November 4, 2009 … Lucy Gonda, the NCMIC Foundation and the Leo S. Guthman Fund each came through with their second year commitments as ACCAHC Sustaining Donors, and Bastyr University completed its first. These donors, who pledge at least $5000/year for 3 years, accounted for $50,000 (42%) of ACCAHC’s operating revenue. Thank you! … For those interested, the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium, which birthed ACCAHC, is stepping up its policy advocacy relative to inclusion of licensed practitioners in any healthcare reform.
Comment: Here's hoping that many of you will find the Clinicians and Educators Desk Reference valuable and, for those of your who are educators, immediately require your students to purchase it! ACCAHC continues to be a remarkable platform for some quality inter-professional education activities. More to come.

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