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Short Notes: Organizational Action in CAM and Integrative Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Short Notes: Organizational Action in CAM and Integrative Medicine

Summary: Action abounds. Here are short notices of activity from the American Botanical Council, American Board of (Integrative) Holistic Medicine, American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Bravewell Collaborative, American Chiropractic Association, Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, Hawaii Integrative Medicine Consortium, American Association for Health Freedom, American Public Health Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and ... a taste of CAM developments in Italy.
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When I first wrote a newsletter on developments in complementary and alternative healthcare in 1997, the publisher wondered if I could find enough going on to fill the 8 pages I had each month. Times have changed. Here is a short-note scan of recent organizational action.

Correction on Herzlinger Link with Wellspace Co-Owner, Clemente 

An Integrator article (
Wellspace/SickSpace:  Reflections on a Pioneering Integrative Clinic Gone Down for the Count, Novembre 27, 2007) incorrectly reported that Paul Clemente, one of the final co-owners of the Wellspace clinic co-authored a Harvard Business School (HBS) case study of the clinic. Regina Herzlinger, the author and HBS professor, notified the Integrator that Clemente “had nothing to do with my case study.” My apologies to Herzlinger for not independently verifying a statement made to me about Clemente’s role, and about the study itself, which Herzlinger describes as ”an object lesson in business models gone awry.” [Note: Herzlinger subsequently shared with the Integrator, via an email note on November 12, 2008, that "Clemente was never a student or employee of the Harvard Business School."]

ImageABHM Becomes American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM)

Wendy Warner, MD
, president of the American Board of Holistic Medicine sent a note to the Integrator on Wednesday, February 13, 2006, that her organization had changed its name to American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM).  The Board explained its unanimous decision this way:

"As we discuss in our review course, we see 'integrative' as encompassing the tools we might use for healing, while 'holistic' refers to how we approach our patients and their care. It is possible to use integrative tools while still coming from a very allopathic mind-set.  Likewise, it is also possible to approach a patient very holistically while using only conventional tools for care.  With this in mind, we changed the title of our annual review course several years ago to reflect the way in which most of us work.  More recently, the Board voted unanimously to officially change the name of our organization to the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM).  We feel this more adequately and accurately reflects who we are and what we do.”
The change, which is being phased in, follows recent work to draw a stronger connection between the “holistic medicine” and “integrative medicine” elements in the MD community. A subset of physicians associated with integrative medicine programs, typically those with strong clinical practices, have chosen to sit for the certification exams.

Herb Med, Herb med Pro, ABC, BlumenthalAmerican Botanical Council Acquires HerbMed

The not-for-profit American Botanical Council, a leading source of consumer, industry, research and media interest on botanicals has recently acquired HerbMed and an enhanced version of HerbMedPro, according to an ABC release.
Mark Blumenthal, ABC executive director states: “For several years ABC has offered HerbMedPro as a benefit of membership to all ABC members at the Academic level and higher, and we consistently receive high praise about the usefulness of this time-saving research tool.”  ABC plans to integrate some of its own content into HerbMedPro. Adds Blumenthal: "ABC is deeply grateful and honored that the Alternative Medicine Foundation has chosen to convey its unique HerbMed and HerbMedPro databases to ABC for future stewardship and development.” Jacqueline C. Wootton, MEd, president and executive director of the Alternative Medicine Foundation and founder of HerbMed, will retain her position as editorial director of both databases, while ABC will assume control of the administration, financing, and marketing of the database. Disclosure: I am a trustee of ABC.

ImageAAAOM Announces Standard for Acupuncture Practice

The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has announced key new appointments to its board and chief publication, the American Acupuncturist. Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association has become the public, voting members. McGuffin is a long-time leader in the herb industry, with deep connections throughout the community. (He will soon be featured here on the Integrator industry/practitioner dialogue.) Michael Taromina, an attorney with extensive involvement in AOM legal and regulatory affairs, in New York, nationally and globally, was appointed to serve as the AAAOM's alternate public member. In addition, the AAOM appointed San Francisco State University associate professor Adam Burke, PhD, MPH, LAc, as editor-in-chief of the American Acupuncturist, AAAOM’s flagship journal. Terry Courtney, MPH, LAc will serve as clinical editor. Courtney is dean of the School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Bastyr University and recent past chair of the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

ImageACA Announces Key Appointment to Work Group of AMA Consortium

The American Chiropractic Association has a large enough presence that releases of developments come frequently. Recent highlights include a February 6, 2008 that Will Evans, DC, PhD, CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist), has been appointed to service on the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (Consortium) work group on preventive care and screening of the American Medical Association. According to the ACA, the Consortium, comprised of more than 100 medical specialty and state medical societies, is “the body through which national quality measures are being developed.” As a member of the Consortium, ACA has ensured chiropractic representation on select condition work groups.

The ACA also announced that "
  "following an unprecedented profession-wide campaign led by the ACA, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has announced it will rescind its recent policy declaring chiropractic manipulative treatment for headaches and pediatric patients as unproven, and therefore, not a covered service." United issued the policy in September of 2007 and all leading chiropractic organizations mounted a fierce opposition which led to a United decision in October to look into the matter further.

ImageNaturopathic Cancer Specialty Society Certifies First New Fellows

The newsletter of Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO, recently told the tale of that 5-letter acronym. The American Board of Naturopathic Oncology (ABNO), a specialty society of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, has certified its first fellows. ABNO’s process included establishing a board of medical examiners then developing and administering a test through Comira, an independent testing company. The first exams, reportedly grueling, were administered in November 2007. Those who are successful will use the initials FABNO (Fellow of ABNO). A good deal of the organizing energy came from the naturopathic physicians associated with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which employs NDs.

ImageBravewell Collaborative Announces Patients’ Bill of Rights, New Publication

The winter 2008 issue of the newsletter of the Bravewell Collaborative of philanthropists in integrative medicine announced publication of a Best Practices in Integrative Medicine: A Report from the Bravewell Clinical Network. The $50 book, available through Bravewell, was “compiled by medical journalist Bonnie Horrigan, published in November 2007 and offers an in-depth look at the eight integrative medicine centers in the Bravewell Clinical Network.” Horrigan, the founding publisher of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and editorial director of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, focuses on how the clinics “are organized, what markets they serve, how they are financed, what services they offer, what lessons the leaders have learned along the way, and what business plan each center is using as their specialized blueprint for success.” Bravewell also took its Declaration for New Medicine and translated it into a Patients’ Bill of Rights. Comment: The Bill of Rights is a useful document. I only wish that they saw fit to acknowledge the patient's right to distinctly licensed CAM professionals. 68% of Iowa voters and 75% in Washington State think coverage should be in basic benefit plans according to polls funded 
by Code Blue Now! As visionary as Bravewell is in many of its initiatives, it's too bad that it lags behind the public on this.  

Goldblatt (l) with conventional colleague Ann Nedrow, MD
Complementary Healthcare Academic Consortium Incorporated, Names Goldblatt to Chair

Elizabeth (Liza) Goldblatt, PhD, MHA/PA, a long-time leader in acupuncture and Oriental medicine education has been selected to take over as chair of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC). ACCAHC's core membership consists of councils of colleges, accrediting agencies and certifying/testing organizations associated with the licensed natural healthcare discipline. Goldblatt is a past president of the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She succeeds Reed Phillips, DC, PhD, ACCAHC's founding chair. Like her predecessor, Goldblatt has  a long-time commitment to expanding multi-disciplinary understanding. ACCAHC, which was begun in 2004 as a project of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium, was incorporated as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization on January 9, 2008. (See related article here.) Disclosure: I currently serve in a part-time capacity as executive director of ACCAHC.

Beth Sommers, MPH, LAc, DSc (cand.)
Public Health Association Expanding CAM/Integrative Practices Group

The co-chairs of the Alternative and Complementary Health Practices (ACHP) special interest group of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Richard Harvey, PhD and Beth Sommers, MPH, LAc, DSc(candidate) are reaching out to involve more professionals in the ACHP group. Current members include public health specialists, researchers and academics, as well as providers of integrative care. The ACHP special interest group has its own electronic newsletter, accessible through the APHA's website. Writes Sommers: “In the spirit of advancing the level of research done in these areas, members provide peer review and other types of networking, support, and outreach to individuals interested in this field.” ACHP also sponsors 2 days of programming and presentations at APHA’s annual meeting. For more information about the group’s activities, please contact Sommers at .

Ira Zunin, MD, MBA, MPH
Hawaii Consortium Reports on Two Years

A distinctive player in the integrative healthcare world has been the Hawaii Integrative Healthcare Consortium, organized by Ira Zunin, MD, MBA, MPH, an Integrator adviser. The consortium includes representatives from most of that state’s leading stakeholders and focuses on establishing and maintaining “collaborative efforts among stakeholder members for the advancement of integrative healthcare in Hawaii.” An autumn report on 2 years of action noted the following actions and plans:

Ambitious agenda.
Throughout the workd, the Consortium seeks to also fulfill on its commitment to "service to the native Hawaiian community." The educational and clinical initiatives nopted above are structured and located to serve this population. Laura Crites, MA, MS, serves as executive director of the Consortium.

ImageFederal Legislative Initiatives of the American Association for Health Freedom

The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF), re-invigorated this past 18 months under the direction of Brenna Hill, is working on the following legislative fronts. Hill reports that its Medical Information & Treatment to Access Act has bipartisan support and the support of the Congressional Physician’s Caucus. AAHF is also "finishing the drafting of the Science Free Speech bill" which seeks to allow the distribution of scientific research in connection with foods and dietary supplements. Hill states that “we are also concerned about conflicts of interest at the FDA and their thinking on healthcare.” In a note to the Integrator, Brenna adds that the AAHF is drafting responses currently related to FDA activity related to “attacking bio-identical hormones, irradiation of food & supplements, guidance on off-label usage, and (FDA’s) intent to reevaluate the scientific evidence for two previously authorized health claims (dietary lipids (fat) and cancer; soy protein and risk of coronary heart disease) and two qualified health claims that were the subject of letters of enforcement discretion (antioxidant vitamins and risk of certain cancers; selenium and certain cancers)." AAHF’s lobbying is led by former Congressional staffer Bill Duncan.

Council for Responsible Nutrition to Try to Get “Out of the Box” of Reductive Research

In  an upcoming conference of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the agenda includes a couple of unusual presentations. CRN, an industry organizatiuon representing the largest players, will present Cheryl Rittenbaugh, MD, one of the top whole systems thinkers and researchers in integrative medicine. Rittenbaugh presents in a session CRN bills as examining "the reductionist approach of evidence-based medicine.” CRN “aims to encourage attendees to 
‘think outside the box’ and consider the value of’ other types of  scientific research’ for dietary supplements.” (Note that this theme appears to follow a perspective of David Barnes, PhD, of Integrator sponsor Standard Process which was published here as: Barnes Advocates a Shift in the Nutrition Research Paradigm Toward an Industry-Academic Partnership on a Whole Systems Approach, June 24, 2007.A  second presentation is from Adi Haramati, PhD, past vice chair of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. Haramati  will present “an overview of educational initiatives in integrative medicine.” The session will be at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Hotel on May 8, 2008.

Italy's CAM/IM leader Paulo Roberto di Sarsina
Status of Non-Conventional Medicine in Italy Highlighted in New Text

Integrative medicine in Italy is a few steps, if not a century, off pace. Paolo Roberti di Sarsina is doing what he can to move it forward. He has kept me abreast of developments, though my lack of Italian has challenged my understanding. But a recent open-access article in English by Bologna resident Roberta Nuzzi in E-CAM, cats more light on challenges there. (See "Non Conventional Medicine in Italy. History, Problems, Prospects for Integration," January 8, 2008.) In 2003, Roberti de Sarsina helped convene the Permanent Committee of Consensus and Coordination for Non Conventional Medicines. That committee is now made up of 23 associations: medical and scientific societies, federations and associations of patients, representing close to 12,000 medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians.

In 2007, the Committee published a book on the state of CAM, calling for legislation to better recognize the fields. In a Nuzzi's review,
one catches a glimpse of a very different world. According to Nuzzi, the Committee's exploration took place in a context which "concentrated on the nine most reliable and representative CAMs disciplines, as acknowledged by Italian National Federation of Colleges of MDs and Dentists in the Document on Non-Conventional Medicines signed on 2002, which now falls under the exclusive competence, practice and responsibility of MDs (chiropractic, osteopathy, phytotherapy, homeopathy, anthroposophy, acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, homotoxicology)." Comment: The walk through this article remains a somewhat mysterious journey into another cosmos, stirring some nationalistic pride about how far we seem to have come, relatively, in open dialogue here in the United States. Credit goes to Roberti di Sarsina and a couple close colleagues, according to Nuzzi, for their success in kick-starting the dialogue.

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