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University of Arizona's Integrative Medicine Fellows: Portrait of an Emerging Cadre of Leaders PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

University of Arizona's 466 Integrative Medicine Fellows: Portrait of an Emerging Cadre of Leaders

Summary: An issue since the idea of an "integrative medical doctor" emerged 15 years ago is what exactly the term denotes. Is this an MD who recommends some meditation or an herb now and then? What is the required training to earn the title? A standard was set by Andrew Weil, MD, Victoria Maizes, MD, MPH and others when they created the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. The program recently survey the 466 fellows who have completed this program. Here is the profile that emerged from the 254 respondents.
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ImageArizona Center for Integrative Medicine (ACIM) leaders Andrew Weil, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD, MPH sent an e-letter to ACIM supporters on June 25, 2010. The letter reported responses of 254 of the 466 Fellows in Integrative Medicine since the program was established in 2000. The data underscore that the program is serving both private practitioners and health system physicians.


The ACIM Fellowship is a 1000 hour, 2-year program. It principally targets medical doctors and osteopaths and is also open to nurses and physicians assistants.

Asked if the data surprised her in any way, Maizes responded: "I was surprised and delighted to see the very high percentage of graduates who are teaching students.  It bodes well for a very different next generation of health care providers."

____________________________________

U Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellows: At a Glance

     
Year Founded
  2000
Total Fellows
  466
Survey participants
  254 (54% response rate)

Disciplines
  93% MD/DO
6% Nurse Practitioners
1% Physicians Assistants



MD/DO specialities
  62% primary care
10% hospitalists
Remainder: Specialties such
as oncology,rheumatology,
and cardiology.

Practice locations/types
  26% academic practice
10% community health centers
53% are in private practice.

Among those in academia
   2% professors
13% associate professors
19% assistant professors
16% clinical instructors
5% lecturers

Types of engagement
  97% clinical practice
73% teaching
55% "contribute to research"

Target disciplines among
those who teach
  74% MD/DO students
62% MD/DO residents
27% nursing students
20% physicians' assistants

Most valuable skills gained
  -Advise patients about nutrition
-More effectively practice preventive care
-Deeper understanding of IM components
-Confidence to apply IM to patient care

Sample comment: " I gained valuable tools
to address the patient more fully, with
respect to mind, body, and spirit."


Source: Based in large part on a June 25, 2010 notice
from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
____________________________________


The survey found that over half of the participants "use the skills acquired during the Fellowship almost daily." The letter, which was sent under the umbrella of the program's development effort, also included some remarks of the respondents. Some focused on the value of the learning to their clinical practices. Others spoke of how the program provided a model for system change. Stated one:
"It is the perspective in healthcare that the fellowship provided that has been the most beneficial as I am in a leadership role trying to effect significant transformational change in our organization."
 
Image
Maizes: The Center's director
The program maintains a web page that lists the fellows and the addresses of their practices and the health systems with which they work. That list is available here.
_____________________

In other recent news, ACIM recently received an award at
the 2010 Workshop for Directors of Family Medicine Residencies entitled "21st Century Training and Residency Redesign." The award related to a separate Center program, a 200 hour curriculum that can be hooked onto family medicine residencies elsewhere. The award-winning ACIM poster was entitled “Integrative Medicine in Residency: An Innovative Curriculum Model.” The workshop was sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM), the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors (AFMRD), and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). Maizes says that the program has 5 "early adopters" for their residency program.

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