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The Integrator Blog. News, Reports and Networking for the Business, Education, Policy and Practice of Integrative Medicine, CAM and Integrated Health Care. - Issues #69,#70 & #71 - Nov-Dec 2009
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Issues #69,#70 & #71 - Nov-Dec 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Issues #69,#70 & #71 - Nov-Dec 2009

Issue #71 January 5, 2009

January 5, 2010

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Healthcare Round-up: December 4, 2009-January 5, 2010

Two Integrator Top 10 lists for integrative care from 2009 ... LA Times article on licensed CAM practices and non-discrimination provision in Harkin's Senate health legislation ... George DeVries' transformation of American Specialty Health into a health and wellness firm ... Academy of Oriental Medicine of Austin becomes first AOM school to gain regional accreditation ...  Adam Perlman, MD, MPH and Ben Kligler, MD, MPH take over as chair, vice chair for CAHCIM ... AOM accrediting agency still seeks comments on "First Professional Doctorate" standard for the field ...  Frank Nicchi, DC, MS honored for strengthening chiropractic-public health ties ... Bravewell, the IOM and the AARP join to found Healthy Nation Partnership; inputs solicited ... American Association for Health Freedom becomes Alliance for Natural Health-USA ... New York Beth Israel creates no-cost, online Prepare for Surgery program ... Seattle-based Alternative Health Access Campaign seeks to meet growing demand among the homeless ... Oregon's largest natural health clinic opened by National College of Natural Medicine ... Chiropractors in campaign to regain recognition as providers by Boy Scouts of America ... Integrative Healthcare Symposium sponsors major conference in New York, February 25-27, 2010 ... North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine set for May 15-18, 2012 in Portland, Oregon ... New American Holistic Medicine Research Institute formed with led venerable Robert Anderson, MD in lead; sets sights on first multicenter project ... Massage accrediting agency seeks public member ...  H1N1 lifts dietary supplement sales ... Michael Cohen re-frames his legal services  More

December 31, 2009

From Alternative Medicine a Definitive Guide to the "Wellness Inventory" - An Interview with Entrepreneur Jim Strohecker

One of the rarely sung, significant influencers of our field is entrepreneur Jim Strohecker. Some 18 years ago he was executive editor of the 1100 page text, Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide which involved nearly 400 practitioners and organizations. In the mid-1990s, Strohecker co-founded HealthWorld Online, the first aggregator of wellness and alternative medicine-oriented content, services and professionals on the emerging web. More recently, he has not only re-purposed that site as Healthy.net, he also brought forward the work of wellness pioneer John Travis, MD, MPH. He promotes Travis' visionary Wellness Inventory through an online program for integrative medicine centers, hospitals, corporations, spas and individuals, together with a related coach certification training. In this Integrator interview, Strohecker's comments say much about the history of the integrative practice movement of the last 20 years, and its relationship with the broader wellness effort. Enjoy the learning, and for some of you, the recollections! More

December 30, 2009

The Healthy Nation Partnership: A Look at the Concept Paper from the Bravewell-IOM-AARP Founders

The Healthy Nation Partnership is conceived as "a network of public and private organizations working together to improve the health of all Americans by transforming the way we understand, value, and practice health and wellbeing." The potent founding partners - the Bravewell Collaborative of philanthropists, the IOM and the AARP - envision this as a "national movement for health and wellbeing." The first two organizations first united to promote the role of integrative medicine in the health of the public. This stage is larger. Here is the trio's short concept paper. Is this the network through which integrative ideas and practices will be promoted and flourish? Is this a movement you and your organization wish to support? This entity is a hopeful portent for coming year(s). More

December 28, 2009

Integrator Top 10 People from 2009 in Integrative Health Care and Integrative Medicine

While reviewing recent issues of the Integrator to draft the Top 10 actions and event from 2009, I found myself creating a second list. This was of names of individuals who had been or were about to be significant contributors to the integrative practice field. Of course there is some overlap between key events and influential individuals. Yet a second list seemed to be in order. As is the Integrator custom, this Top 10 only counts 9, leaving space for your nomination of others who have distinguished themselves, or are about to. Who would you suggest? Who is the obvious or less obvious omission? Happy reflections on the year that was, and on the year to come. More

December 21, 2009

Coming of the Light: Integrator Top 10 Events and Action from 2009 for Integrative Medicine/Integrated Health Care

On or about the winter solstice, the Integrator announces a Top 10 from the previous year which will support the coming of the light for integrative practice in the New Year. Here is the 2009 Integrator Top 10 for integrative policy, practice, research and professional activity. Not surprisingly in this year of healthcare reform debate, policy dominates. Just 9 are listed. What are your suggestions for #10? Thanks to the individuals behind the good work. Happy reading, and reflecting, on the year that was as we look ahead. More

December 15, 2009

Rocket Science, the Manhattan Project and a Healthy Nation Partnership

Implementing healthy practices seems straightforward, not "rocket science." But then why are we having such difficulties? A public-private Healthy Nation Partnership and a section of proposed federal health reform legislation each suggest the dimensions of brilliance we must draw upon to lay a foundation for a healthy society. The former initiative, recently announced, is led by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the AARP and the Bravewell Collaborative; the latter by US Senator Tom Harkin, the Samueli Institute and others. Wellness entrepreneur James Strohecker, CEO of HealthWorld Online suggests the nation needs another "Manhattan Project" such as was created to develop the bomb. But might not the key to establishing Harkin's "wellness society" be nothing less than encountering the damaging dimensions of what was sown by that earlier project? [This article was developed as a column for Integrative Practitioner.] More

Issue #70 December 4, 2009

December 3, 2009

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up:  November 3, 2009-December 3, 2009

Examination of Congress' mandate to NCCAM shows gross misalignment ... Synopses of submissions on NCCAM strategic plan from 8 organizations: IHPC, AHMA, AANP, MTF, IAFT, ACCAHC, AANMC and NCH ... New information (and rumors) on inclusion of CAM and integrative practices in US Senate and House versions of health reform legislation ... Nurses urge Harkin against changing NCCAM to "National Center for Integrative Medicine" ... IOM's Summary Report on the February Summit the perfect holiday gift for an integrative practice wonk ... Family Medicine article shows clarity emerging on integrative medicine in residencies ... Joint meeting of two academic consortia celebrated as key moment ... Umbrella specialty Board of Comprehensive Medicine under exploration jointly by AHMA, ACAM, AANP, ICIM, ABIHM, AAEM and IFM ... National acupuncture groups announce 5-year strategic plan ... Holistic medical group AHMA back from the brink ... Rick Rosen, MA, LMT provides excellent overview of the evolving massage "field" ... Nurses add 5-point acupuncture detox to inpatient treatment at Longmont United Hospital ... IAF and Samueli explore whole person "total fitness" for the military ...  Information on the $1-million real world research project with Obama stimulus money going to Marino Center and University of Arizona ... Samueli Institute publishes white paper on cost-savings from a sampling of integrative, wellness and public health interventions ... Kolata's New York Times integrative cancer article draws rejoinder from the Society for Integrative Oncologists' Abrams ... Anti-CAM/IM crusader Novella co-founds new institute dedicated to the same mission ... Gazella expands Community Partners group of the Natural Medicine Journal to 11 professional associations, 8 educational institutions and 3 industry associations ... UCSF-Osher has opening for new fellow ... Info on cost-effective integrative MD practices sought ... More

December 1, 2009

Stakeholder Organizations on NCCAM's Strategic Plan: IHPC, ACCAHC, AHMA, AANP, IAYT, NCH, AANMC and MTF

That NCCAM's 2011-2015 strategic plan is critically important to the future of the integrative practice field is clear from this set of stakeholder responses. Together, these organizations represent over 360,000 licensed practitioners: Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium, Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, American Holistic Medical Association, Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, International Association of Yoga Therapists, Massage Therapy Foundation, National Center for Homeopathy and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. (The two consortia represent 22 separate partner or member organizations.) Notably, their comments are almost entirely supportive of the direction Congress mandated but in which NCCAM poorly invested under its first director. If this input is valued, NCCAM has significant stakeholder backing for complying with Congress' real pragmatic research mandate. More
November 30, 2009

Guest Columnist Charlie Priester: On Obesity, Financial Incentives for Wellness and Integrative Practice

The issue of insurers incentivizing good behavior, and particularly the relationship of such policies with the growing epidemic of obesity, calls integrative practitioners to the challenging balancing act of finances, health, behavior change and of compassion. Here, Integrator reader Charlie Priester, a self-employed, informed consumer of integrative, natural health practices - particularly of the self-care variety, wades into the debate. He offers ideas about how such policies can be good for naturopaths, acupuncturists and Yoga therapists, and for self-employed individuals like himself. Priester is a former colleague in publishing the hard-copy Integrator (1998-2002) and in developing the Integrative Medicine Industry Leadership Summits (2000, 2001, 2002). More  

November 25, 2009

IOM's Inviting Report on the February 2009 Summit on Integrative Medicine, uh, I mean "Integrative Health Care"

The Summary Report from the Institute of Medicine on the February 2009 Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public is an expansive and stimulating conversation for anyone close to the integrative practice movement. The more than 60 sections in 164 pages are inviting in length, style and substance. An appendix with bios let's you know something about the sterling group of professionals who were invited to do the talking. Here are 10 short reflections including: integrative "medicine" versus "health"; Senator Harkin's warning about opposing vested interests; Don Berwick's 8 principles, and his holy grail for integrators; Ed Wagner's chronic care model and a 1989 definition of naturopathic medicine; notes on NCCAM's priorities, as shared; an opportunities for accessing $75-million a year for evaluating models, such as the Penny George Institute-Allina initiative; apparent exclusion of multiple suggestions that licensed CAM providers can might help meet primary care needs; and deep thanks to the Bravewell sponsors for providing the funding that made this happen. If you are at all wonkish about this field, buy the book. Gift yourself. It's a great little reader. More

November 23, 2009

Transformation and MD-Centrism in Dr. Weil's Policy Book

In his most recent book, Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future, author and integrative medicine leader Andrew Weil, MD calls for a “radical change” in US health care. Weil shifts his focus from the two passions that have shaped his work: transforming personal health practices and changing US medical education. Here Weil’s ambitious eye is trained on the gold ring of transforming healthcare itself. Weil presents his “argument that integrative medicine is the key to solving the healthcare crisis.” He enjoins “leaders of this new medicine to make people aware of the facts presented (in the book) and motivate them to join us in working for real reform." Unfortunately, Weil’s success in engaging the leaders on whom such a grassroots movement rests may be limited by the MD-centrism and protectionism in the otherwise compelling vision in Why Our Health Matters. More

November 21, 2009

Taylor Walsh: IIH/CMTP Symposium Explores Interface of Comparative Effectiveness and Integrative Care Research

This is an auspicious moment for evaluating integrative practices. The Obama-empowered comparative effectiveness research (CER) movement focuses attention on practical evaluations “to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions that will improve health care at both the individual and population levels.” Meantime, the new NCCAM strategic plan, if it follows Congress' mandate, will march to a similar drummer. Into this vortex steps the Institute for Integrative Health (IIH) and the Center for Medical Technology Policy (CMTP), led by leading NCCAM-funded researcher Brian Berman, MD and former CMS medical director Sean Tunis, MD, respectively. They convened top scientists in CAM/IM, CER researchers and government agencies to explore the common ground of effectiveness. Berman calls the gathering the beginning of a process "to make evidence much more relevant, and getting to the essence of the clinical encounter.” The group will create an "Effectiveness Guidance Document" to aid IM/CAM researchers in CER study design. Taylor Walsh, a participant, files this report on the November 9, 2009 symposium. More
November 16, 2009

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

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. More

November 12, 2009

How NCCAM's "Real World" 1998 Congressional Mandate is Optimal for NCCAM's 2010-2015 Strategic Plan: Respond by November 30!

This article aims to help you respond, as a stakeholder, to the next NCCAM strategic plan. Responses are due November 30. I first analyze the 1998 Congressional mandate relative to this most important issue that will face the integrative practice community in the coming 5 years; namely, the prioritization of $600-million the NIH NCCAM will spend. The mandate will surprise you: prioritized were outcomes research, exploration of "prevention modalities, disciplines and systems" and evaluation of "integration ... into delivery systems" rather than the basic research and RCTs that dominated NCCAM under its first director. Now, as NCCAM seeks your input, even as it is being reasonably challenged for having created limited value to date, might NCCAM be served to embrace what Congress originally mandated? I offer 14 trends in the healthcare and policy worlds and inside the integrative healthcare community that make the direction Congress' mandated 11 years ago even more auspicious at this time. This article is background for submitting your own stakeholder inputs on the NCCAM strategic plan. Get your comments in by November 30! More

Issue #69 November 5, 2009

November 5, 2009

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up:  October 7-November 4, 2009

Respond now! NCCAM seeks stakeholder comments on 5 year plan ... IOM publishes report on February 2009 Summit ... FTC/FDA cracks down on dietary supplement sites, including DrWeil.com, for "fraudulent" H1N1 claims such as are made in many kitchens every morning ... Update on action relative to LAc, certified professional midwives, "non-discrimination" and ABC Codes in federal health reform ... 2009 consumer use data on massage (more each year for medical purposes) ... Council for Responsible Nutrition survey info on use of dietary supplements ... MSNBC stirs antagonism to integrative medicine programs in medical and nursing schools ... School yoga champion creates new not-for-profit organization to support advance of programs ...  AMTA responds to Integrator comments the termination of its Council of Schools ... International CAM: Brief reports on recent developments in Switzerland, Italy, England and South Africa ... Harvard professor, key employer leader find chiropractic cost effective for low back and neck pain in new review study ... Congressional amendment stimulates debate over financial incentives for healthy behaviors ...  November is a time for giving of thanks to the Integrator sponsors ... Kokolulu Farm and Cancer Retreat shifts to donations-based business model ... Integrative Medicine Alliance announces new website ... JACM in deal with Natural Standard more

October 27, 2009

MDs, NDs, DCs and LAcs: Changing Trends on Who is a "Physician"

[From John Weeks' October 2009 IntegrativePractitioner.com columnThere was a time not long ago that licensed medical doctors, a.k.a. the kings (and queens) of the hill in U.S. medicine owned the term "physician." Much common and professional usage of the term still connotes MDs. Yet legal realities are shifting. Recently promulgated US Department of Labor definitions note that naturopathic doctors and chiropractors may use this term. In Florida, licensed practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental medicine can legally call themselves Acupuncture Physicians. The legislature in New Mexico just set up a category of "certified advanced practice chiropractic physicians." The AMA is warring against the perceived erosion of authority. But trends suggest that one endpoint of the movement toward integrative medicine is that “physician” will increasingly umbrella a rainbow of disciplines. This column reviews these trends and how they reflect jockeying for economic as well as cultural authority. More

October 26, 2009

Bipartisan Push Heats Debate on Financial Incentives for Wellness: Good for Integrative Practice?

Passage of a bipartisan amendment from US Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Tom Carper (D-DE) has elevated a debate Integrator columnist Michael Levin has repeated brought to these pages. To change behavior, in Levin's view, "education rarely works, economics usually does." The Ensign-Carper amendment allow health plan costs to be cut by as much as 50% for those who engage healthy behaviors. Some unions and major disease-based organizations are opposed. Employers tend to support the direction, as Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD(hc) and Sean Sullivan, JD, each share. A tremendous discussion has been kindled on the Washington Post site. Levin lays out what he believes are significant opportunities for the integrative medicine community. Where are you on this issue of patient engagement, habit change, healthcare economics and public policy?  More

October 23, 2009

Researchers from Harvard and Employer Group Find Chiropractic "Highly Cost-Effective" Versus MD Treatment

Harvard's Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD and Pacific Business Group on Health medical director Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH take on the most hard-fought "CAM" versus conventional question: Are the covered services of chiropractic physicians (as they are called by these researchers) in health plans for effective and cost-effective than those of medical physicians? The answers are mixed but with a very strong tilt in the direction of chiropractic, especially if the cost of drugs are factored in. There are implications here for how we belly up to the cost-effectiveness bar in other integrative practices. A leading researcher offers a blunt comment that suggests comparative cost-effectiveness research should be at the top of our research agenda. More

October 18, 2009

Your Comments: 16 Voices on Integrator Themes - 2 RNs, LAc, 4 DCs, 2 MDs, an MPH, a Lobbyist, plus

This is a catch-up on some comments sent recently from Drisko, Quinn, Foley, Korn, Sportelli, Whedon, Zabik, Hoagland, Clay, Matteson, Bark, Pannozzi and Patel. The themes are the IOM coverage, NCCAM on use, research focus and NCCAM defensiveness, advance of certified homeopaths, Gawande's influential New Yorker article on how economic structure's create use patterns, the practitioner-industry relationship in integrative medicine, the value of a DC lobby-day experience, and more. Enjoy these voices of 2 researchers, 3 DCs, 2 RNs, a community LAc, 2 MDs, 3 organization leaders, a student and a lobbyist. More

October 15, 2009

International CAM: Swiss Constitutional Inclusion, British Report, Push in Italy & African Actuary's Group

Welcome to this Integrator travelogue, linking you to international policy developments in traditional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine practices ... A citizen's referendum in Switzerland forces inclusion of CAM practices in healthcare planning ... In England, a report from the King's Fund concludes that we need both new methodologies and new attitudes, thank you, to optimally research complementary medicine and health ... A report on non-conventional medicine (the preferred term) in Italy calls for an end to 20 years of procrastination, and shares what's already covered in Tuscany and parts north ... Actuary Heather McLeod, a CAM leader in the International Association of Actuaries, is setting up a similar group in a new African health economics organization ... More

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