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Issues #43-#45 - March-April 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

April 21, 2008 mailing - Issue #45

April 21, 2008

Comments: A DC, an MD, an MSW, an RN, and a PhD on Bolles, Managed Care, NCCAM, Cultural Authority and More 

Bob Sager, MD wanted integrative MD questions in the CodeBlueNow! voter surveys ... Wellpoint fraud expert Howard Levinson, DC comments on the state of managed care ... Former holisitic nurses association leader Sonja Simpson, RN, AHN-BC believes commentator Beth Wooton, ND was spot on regarding practitioner education ... Researcher Lyn Freeman, PhD has some suggestions about new routes to project funding that are not NCCAM dependent ... Lisa Yater, LCSW, on how the structure of conventional care delivery limits the opportunity for inclusion. More ...

April 21, 2008

In Memoriam: Naturopathic Medicine's Bob Timberlake and CAM Coverage Leader Steve Gorman

Two individuals who have played significant roles in different areas of the integrative care universe died recently. Robert (Bob) Timberlake was a leader in jump-starting the re-emergence of naturopathic medicine, and particularly its expansion of new licensing of naturopathic physicians in the 1990s, serving later in a leadership capacity with Vital Nutrients, a quality leader in natural products. He was a valued colleague and friend ... Steve Gorman, founder of Alternative Health Insurance Services, began talking about, and dreaming up ways to expand, coverage of alternative medicine services over two decades ago. Adviser Michael Levin offers appreciation for Gorman's life. More ...

April 21, 2008

Academic Advances: AMSA & NMSA, SPARC, UCLA, Harvard, NUHS, NIH-Yoga, Yale, NYCC, New Consortium Members, plus

Breakthrough: American Medical Student Association formally recognizes the Naturopathic Medical Student Association as an affiliate ...  Fønnebø to propose a "peace treaty" in "research battleground" at May 18 SPARC meeting ... Harvard integrative clinic featured ... UCLA program offers seven approaches to back pain in consumer-focused event ... Formerly chiropractic-only schools gain recognition for AOM and ND programs ... Yale's kick-off event draws overflow crowd ... NIH to have May Yoga week ... U Mass natural products Master's degree now largely internet-based ... BU and Northwestern Feinberg medical schools bring to 41 the members of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine ... Master's in Integrative Health in development for 2008 at National University, San Diego. More ...

April, 15, 2008

Forum on NCCAM's Direction: Was the Integrator Irresponsible in Printing the Clay Article on Jack Killen, MD?

Guest writer Beth Clay's mention of homeopathy and her challenging of the credentials of a top NIH NCCAM deputy, Jack Killen, MD, provoked strong responses. I corresponded multiple times with an anonymous scientist who was livid with the Integrator and Clay yet did not want his comments published, even anonymously. I capture some of the exchange, as I believe there may be many others who agree. Entrepreneur Taylor Walsh wonders if the challenges to Killen are merited. Consultant David Matteson, MPH credits the Integrator (and Clay) for the discussion. Finally, author and homeopath Dana Ullman, MPH, details a rebuttal to Killen's view, as quoted in Newsweek, that there is "no condition for which homeopathy has been proven to be an effective treatment." More ...

April 15, 2008

Columnist Michael Levin: Opportunities for Integrative Medicine in a Recent AARP Report on Drug Price Escalation

Integrator columnist Michael Levin, founder of Health Business Strategies, is a long-time promoter of integrative medicine strategies that challenge the often costly, unsafe and quality of life-damaging interventions promoted by Big Pharma. So when Levin, who has been an executive with both pharmaceutical and dietary supplement firms, saw the new AARP report on drug price trends pre and post the implementation of the Medicare Drug Benefit, he analyzed it both for what Pharma had already extracted, and for what integrative medicine might. Here is Levin's brief report and view of opportunities. More ...

April 15, 2008

Chiropractors in the Nation's Largest Health System: Anthony Lisi, DC on Integration into Veterans Health Facilities

When Yale University School of Medicine recently chose to bring a chiropractor into their first Integrative Medicine Symposium, Anthony Lisi, DC was the chosen presenter. As director of the Veterans Health Administration's Chiropractic Service, Lisi sits in the hot-seat for the most significant complementary and alternative healthcare integration effort nationwide. To Lisi's account, practitioner-to-practitioner relationships and patient reports are overcoming the deep reluctance which greeted this Congressionally-mandated program. The Integrator caught up with Lisi to learn more about this pioneering initiative. More ...



April 5, 2008 mailing - Issue #44

April 5, 2008

Former United Healthcare Consumerism Leader Stephen Bolles on the "Inexorable Retailizing" of Health Care

When this interview with Stephen Bolles, DC, was first published in the Integrator two years ago, United Healthcare asked that it be pulled. The issue was not with facts. United was officially upset that Bolles hadn't gone through channels to get the information approved - which approval would not have come, as he later learned. Bolles, a longtime colleague who was then a senior director for consumer health initiatives with United, told me after the interview was first published that United was applying extreme pressure and that he felt his job was at stake. I clicked the article off. Bolles and United have since parted and the information in the interview remains useful although United has gone in some different directions since our interview. I spoke with Bolles recently when he wrote his excellent response to the recent "cultural authority" piece. He cleared me to "republish" it. Enjoy this look at something that stirred up United's executives enough to threaten an employee. More ...

April 5, 2008

After Obama's Talk on Race - Reflections on Parallels in Healthcare Integration

[From my Integrative Practitioner Online column] "I have always viewed work in healthcare “integration” as deeply akin to the effort to racially integrate the culture we inhabit. So I was riveted when Barack Obama addressed the nation with a speech which was, as the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart put it, the first time “a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race, as though they were adults.” I listened as a child of parents who took me on Open Housing marches in Seattle 45 years ago. I also listened from within my 25 years of involvement with thousands of you in the plodding advancement of the “integration” of health care disciplines and practices. The parallels are profound. Between the dominant school of medicine and any healing-oriented, whole person approach, there exists a huge cultural and economic chasm." More ...

April 5, 2008

Bravo! Canadian-British Team Brings Research Home with Launch of the IN-CAM Outcomes Database

Bravo to Marja Verhoef, PhD and her team with the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research (IN-CAM)! On March 31, 2008, IN-CAM unveiled the IN-CAM Outcomes Database. The project, funded through the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation, brings together a huge set of instruments with which practitioners and researchers can explore their outcomes. Good results have been reported in generic levitra.While one might quibble with the non-inclusion of presenteeism and economic indicators, this database should become the center of the universe for the most productive research in complementary and integrative medicine. Ever wonder why it is leaders from Canada and not the United States who have taken the lead in this work? More ...

March 29, 2008

Integrator Report on My March 14, 2008 Meeting with Incoming NIH NCCAM Director Josephine Briggs, MD

Early in March, I received an invite from Josephine Briggs, MD, the incoming director of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to meet with her at the NIH. I had forwarded my Open Letter and some of the comments from readers and shared that I wouldn't be far from Bethesda on other business in mid-March and would look forward to a chance to meet. Briggs made time. We met on Friday, March 14, 2008. Here is a report from that meeting plus some input from my Integrator advisers. More ...

March 29, 2008

Comments Forum: 5 Voices on Chiropractic, CAM and "Cultural Authority"

My reflections on the theme of "cultural authority," with which the chiropractic profession is wrestling - in its relationship both to conventional medicine and the "CAM"- stimulated a half-dozen thoughtful responses. Stephen Perle, DC, MD, focuses on the idea of chiropractic as a "limbo profession." James Winterstein, DC, wonders if naturopathic medicine and acupuncture and Oriental medicine are easier for conventional medicine to embrace because their more unusual theories are less known. William Wulsin, ND, LAc, MPH (cand.) offers a historic, and hopeful perspective. Lou Sportelli, DC, muses on how a person's positive experience of a chiropractor will not necessarily translate into positive views of chiropractic. Finally, Stephen Bolles, DC, concludes some forthright commentary with a view that "perhaps cultural integrity and (forgive me) authenticity require some serious attention at this point in our development." Excellent perspectives with resonance for all emerging fields. More ...



March 20, 2008 mailing - Issue #43

March 20, 2008

3 Voices on NCCAM's Transition: Mind-body Pioneer Achterberg, AOM Student and Anonymous Academic Researcher

Here are three additional comments on Integrator dialogue on the selection of the new NCCAM director, Josephine Briggs, MD: mind-body pioneer Jeannie Achterberg, PhD, shares some professional frustration with NCCAM priorities; acupuncture and Oriental medicine student Natalie Schwehr takes me to task for polarizing the discussion; and an anonymous academic medicine-based researcher opines on the wisdom of commenting fully about differences with the status quo since securing NCCAM funds is the anchor for the career. Briggs is actively educating herself. But will those with whom she interviews speak freely, and with deep connection to the clinicians in the field? More ...

March 20, 2008

Your Forum: Comments from an MD, DC, 2 NDs, Holistic Nurse, Yoga Teacher and 2 Business Types

Karen Lawson, MD, on the value of functional medicine for opening conventional MDs to integrative practice; educator Beth Wooten Pimental, ND, on  educational issues begged by the column by Marty Rossman, MD; Linda Bark, RN, notes the absence of integral nursing in the upcoming IHPM employer conference; James Winterstein, DC, gives kudos to acupuncture physician James Saylor, AP, for comments on patient -focused care; Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO on a previous reference of Winterstein to what is properly called the "whole Megillah;" CAM entrepreneur Taylor Walsh fills out the Integrator Top 10 with an excellent post; and then, non-typical Integrator fare from adviser Michael Levin and Jessica Noggle, PhD, RYT regarding emerging research in contamination of our water supply. More ...

March 20, 2008

Reflections on Cultural Authority, CAM and Chiropractic from the 2008 ACC-RAC Conference

The theme this year for the Association of Chiropractic Colleges and Research Agenda Conference (ACC-RAC) meeting was "cultural authority."  From March 13-15, 2008, I had a chance to attend, for the first time, and present at this gathering of 350 educators, researchers, policy leaders and administrators principally based in accredited chiropractic colleges and research institutions. Despite advances on many fronts, "cultural authority" has been an elusive gold ring that the chiropractic has been pursuing in recent years. The positioning around "CAM" factors in that pursuit. Here are some reflections on what I saw and heard on this theme as I moved through the conference. More ...

March 18, 2008

Former NIH Staffer Beth Clay: Who Is NCCAM Deputy Killen and Why Is He Demeaning Homeopathy in Newsweek?

  Shortly after former NIH staff member Beth Clay read the Integrator open letter regarding NCCAM leadership with no experience in complementary and integrative medicine, Clay was startled by a statement in a Newsweek article. NCCAM's acting deputy director Jack Killen, MD, described the science behind homeopathy in terms that Clay believes run "contrary to the actual evidence." Clay looked into Killen's background and found that his leadership of an AIDs research project in Africa was the subject of a very critical NIH report. NCCAM's acting #2 also had no background in complementary and integrative medicine. Clay's guest article, part investigative journalism, part commentary, raises additional questions about the fitness of NCCAM's staff to provide optimal leadership for exploring the field. I sent the article to NCCAM for comment prior to publication; the NCCAM response is printed below Clay's article. More ...

March 18, 2008

Immunolabs Strategy and Conferences Help Integrative Practitioners Work with Employers

Three years ago, Kauley Jones, vice president for sales and marketing Immunolabs, a vendor of diagnostic testing services to integrative practitioners, began educating herself to the economic “plight of employers” regarding health-related costs and the potential link to integrative practice. She was stimulated to do so by her integrative practitioner clients. Jones learned that the most significant cost of poor employee health is not medical costs but something employers call “presenteeism” – basically, health-related productivity issues. Jones began creating a multi-year Immunolabs initiative to support integrative physicians who wish to learn the language and culture that will allow them to serve “this (other) stakeholder which has a vested interest in health.” More ...

March 12, 2008

Do Republicans or Democrats Most Want Prevention and Licensed CAM Practitioners in Basic Benefits?

Two healthcare surveys of voters, in Iowa and Washington state, by the independent not-for-profit, CodeBlueNow! (CBN) offer a rare chance to look at differences in response by party affiliation on key prevention and complementary and integrative healthcare questions. CBN, which surveyed on a wide array of health reform topics, included one question on whether respondents agreed that acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians and other licensed practitioners should be in core, covered benefits. Another looked at whether health care should focus on prevention "instead of on high technology cures." Here are responses by party affiliation. More ...

March 12, 2008

Conferences: Health Forum,Yale, IHPM-Employer, Holistic Primary Care

  These conferences all offer a little something different. The AHA/Health Forum's 6th Integrative Medicine for Healthcare Organizations presents hospital best practices enlivened by comments from major healthcare taking heads, including the successful model at Woodwinds campus led by Northwestern Health Sciences University; Yale's IM program offers its kick-off conference; Holistic Primary Care gets into conferencing by focusing on the business of integrative practice success; and, for those who might wish to learn about the metrics and language for partnering with a stakeholder interested in health creation, the Institute for Health and Productivity Management's offers both immersion in employer-think and and employer-focused complementary, alternative and integrative medicine track.  More ...
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