The Integrator Blog
Share |
Contact Me, Experience, Mission, Sabbatical in Central America, plus
Editorial Advisory Board
Michael Levin
Taylor Walsh
background resources in PDF
Insurance, Integrative Clinics, Industry Summit Reports, News Files '99-'04
some organization links
Professions, Academia, Research, Policy
some CAM/IM publication links
Electronic, Peer-Reviewed, Blogs, More
Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH, Revolution Health Blog
supported conference
Institute for Health & Productivity Management - Integrative/Complementary Healthcare
Kansas' Drisko Honored with Nation's First Endowed Chair in Orthomolecular Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Kansas' Drisko Honored with Nation's First Endowed Chair in Orthomolecular Medicine

Summary: Jeanne Drisko, MD, was named last summer to the Hugh D. Riordan Professorship in Orthomolecular Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The endowed professorship is the first of its kind in the United States. The chair honors Drisko's mentor, a long-time leader in the orthomolecular field. Interesting, for a field which was originally able to flourish because of its distance from academic medicine.

The term orthomolecular, coined in 1968 by two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling for a paper her published in Science magazine, means "right molecule." The aim of orthomolecular medicine is to prevent disease and restore health by providing the body with optimal amounts of natural substances. The emerging field proved a profound influencer in the development of functional medicine, modern naturopathic medical practice, clinical nutrition and environmental medicine.

Drisko and UKMC vice chancellor Atkinson
Now, nearly 40 years later, Pauling's concept has arrived in academic medicine with the nation's first endowed professorship. In a ceremony last summer, Jeanne Drisko, MD, was named to the
Hugh D. Riordan Professorship in Orthomolecular Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center (UKMC). Riordan, who died last year, was Drisko's mentor. He was a long-time leader of the International Society of Orthomolecular Medicine (ISOM) for which he served as the associate editor of its Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. The professorship was endowed through a combination of sources including family and a group of foundations.

Barbara Atkinson, MD, vice chancellor of the UKMC, honored Drisko in the ceremony: "Dr. Drisko has exemplified herself through outstanding work as a researcher and educator. She has earned the distinction that this professorship represents."

Drisko developed the UKMC Program in Integative Medicine, which she founded in 1998. Drisko's work include an unusual integrative clinic in which she teams with a licensed naturopathic physician in a program which offers a style of care taught through the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Drisko's program is a member of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

Drisko, a principal investigator on a number of research projects, has also distinguished herself for her education and policy work.
The UKMC release announcing the professorship noted that Drisko "has worked closely with Kansas legislators, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, and the Kansas Medical Society to develop and pass laws and to define policy in the area of complementary and alternative medicine." Drisko also served on the Institute of Medicine committee which produced the report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States

: I first came across Drisko's work in early 2005 while researching distinctive multi-disciplinary relationships in conventional academic health centers for the National Education Dialogue ot Advance Integrated Health Care. I learned that, there in Kansas, Drisko had not only credentialed a naturopathic physician as her partner in her academically-based integrative center - a rarity - but she had also played a leading role in securing the naturopathic licensing statute in her state - even more rare.

When I asked her how she accomplished all this in Kansas, of all places, Drisko merely shared that some had "drawn a circle that excluded me, so I just drew a bigger one that included them." Significant pioneering. Congratulations, Dr. Drisko!

Hoffer, the
modern leader
for orthomolecular
medicine, believes
a major contributor
to his group's early
was their
not their

Side note: I recently re-encountered Steven Carter, the managing editor of the ISOM journal. I picked up a 2004 issue (Volume 19, Number 2). I found myself reading a fascinating and instructive article on the founding work in psychiatric orthomolecular care - before the term was dubbed - in the outback of the province of Saskatchewan in the early 1950s. Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, the Journal's editor, ticks off an intriguing list of the "main events which came together, an amazing series of circumstances" which allowed his group to engage their pioneering exploration. Among these are (italics added):

  • Hoffer's own ignorance of psychiatry, which he credits for allowing him to take on challenges without being bound by academic teaching which would have ingrained in him that the conditions with which he was working were "incurable."
  • Synergies through an unusual, multi-disciplinary mix in both his own background and in his group of collaborators
  • "No medical school. No one to tell us what we could or could not do."
  • "At least 500 miles away from the nearest medical school." (Hoffer enumerated this separately from the point just above, to underscore the importance of being outside of academia.)
  • No committees on research which would restrict what they could do.

The original orthomolecular explorations a half century ago, apparently made possible in part by the explorers' distance from academic medicine, have led, today, to the creation of an academic medical home, in 2006, at Drisko's endowed position at University of Kansas Medical Center.

This is either a sign of uptake into our culture - or maybe there is a Saskatchewan-Kansas connection that explains this.

< Prev   Next >
Integrative Practitioner
The Westreich Foundation
voluntary contributions
Support the work!
All Integrator Round-ups
Integrator Top 10 Lists 2006-2015
Issues #140-#142 Oct-Dec 2015
Issues #137-#139 July-Sept 2015
Issues #134-#136 April-June 2015
Issues #131-#133 Jan-March 2015
Issues #127-#130 Sept-Dec 2014
Issues #123-#126 May-Aug 2014
Issues#119-#122 Jan-April 2014
Issues #116-#118 - Oct-Dec 2013
Issues #113-#115 July-Sept 2013
Issues #110-#112 April-June 2013
Issues #108-#109 Jan-March 2013
Issue #105-#107 Oct-Dec 2012
Issues #102-#104 - July-Sept 2012
Issues #99-#101 - April-June 2012
Issues #96-#98-Jan-March 2012
Issues #94-#95 Nov-Dec 2011
Issues #92-#93 Sept-Oct 2011
Issues #90 and #91 - July-Aug 2011
Issues #88 and #89 - May-June 2011
Issues #86 and #87 - March-April 2011
Issues #84 and #85 - Jan-Feb 2011
Issues #82 and #83 - Nov-Dec 2010
Issues #80 & #81 - Sept Oct 2010
Issues #78 & #79 - July August 2010
Issues #76 & #77 - May June 2010
Issues #74 & #75 - March-April 2010
Issues #73 & #73 - Jan-Feb 2010
Issues #69, #70 & #71 - Nov-Dec 2009
Issues #67 and #68 - Sept-Oct 2009
Issues #65 and #66 - July-August 2009
Issues #63-#64 - May-June 2009
Issues #60-#62 - March-April 2009
Issues #57-#59 - Jan-Feb 2009
Issues #55-#56 - Nov-Dec 2008
Issues #51-#54 - Sept-Oct 2008
Issues #47-#50 - July-August 2008
Issues #46 & -#47 - May-June 2008
Issues #43-#45 Mar-April 2008
Issues #41 & #42 - Feb 2008
Issues #39 & #40 - Dec-Jan '08
Issues #37 & #38 - Nov 2007
Issues #35 & #36 - Oct 2007
Issues #33 & #34 - Sept 2007
Issues #30-#32 - July-Aug 2007
Issues #28 & #29 - June 2007
Issues #26 and #27 - May 2007
Issue #25 - April 2007
Issues # 23 & #24 - March 2007
Issues #21 and #22 - Feb 2007
Issues #19 and & 20 - Jan 2007
Issues #17 and #18 - Dec 2006
Issues #15 and #16 - Nov 2006
Issues #13 and #14 - Oct 2006
Issues #11 and #12- Sept 2006
Issues #9 and #10 - Aug 2006
Issues #7 and #8 - July 2006
Issues #5 and #6 - June 2006
Issues #3 and #4 - May 2006
Issues #1 and #2 - April 2006
All Articles by Subject: 2006
All Articles by Subject: Jan-June 2007
IAYT-Sponsored Series on the Future of Yoga Therapy