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Quarterly Report of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care: July 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Quarterly Report from the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care: July 2010

Summary: 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). This Quarterly Report describes how the release of the Clinicians' and Educators' Desk Reference on the Licensed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Professions is opening significant discussions about inter-professional education inside schools and universities nationwide; new developments in a dialogue with the NIH NCCAM leadership; initial Council of Advisers includes Cooper, Haramati, Jonas, Kligler, Knutson, Kreitzer, Nedrow, Perlman; document on Competencies for Optimal Practices in Integrated Environments that is expected to shape ACCAHC activity going forward developed through extensive multidisciplinary process; plus latest thinking on themes for ACCAHC's June 26-28, 2011 Conference for Educators, and more.
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Note: The following report from the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) is an update on projects that the ACCAHC board of directors and leaders of ACCAHC's 15 member organizations are defining and shaping. I am involved with this work as ACCAHC's executive director. These leaders are practicing inter-professional education, collaboration and teamwork in all they do with ACCAHC. This issue and prior issues are posted here on the ACCAHC site. ACCAHC, and the Integrator, welcome your feedback and comments.

Members include 17 national organizations
July 2010 Quarterly Report

Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care

Purpose:  The ACCAHC Quarterly Report educates members, participants and interested parties on recent work to fulfill on ACCAHC's mission to better patient care through enhancing understanding and mutual respect between the disciplines. If you have questions, contact John Weeks ( ) or Beth Rosenthal ( ).

In this issue:

  • First adoptions of ACCAHC's Clinicians' & Educators' Desk Reference; outreach promotes curricular examination
  • Working Groups take lead in creating ACCAHC Competencies for Optimal Practices in Integrated Environments
  • ACCAHC names first seven members to top-flight Council of Advisers
  • ACCAHC & NCCAM's agenda:  Dialogue, follow-up letter, reception with Briggs, plus
  • Planning for the June 26-28, 2011 ACCAHC Conference for Educators: Focus on Leadership
  • Work underway on ACCAHC Professions and the Future of Primary Care project
  • Inside ACCAHC: Tomasko on Board, CHE becomes first Emerging Professions member, plus


First adoptions of ACCAHC's Clinicians' & Educators' Desk Reference; outreach promotes curricular examination

The following schools and programs each have something in common:

  • Allegany College of Maryland-Massage Therapy Program
  • Asian Institute of Medical Studies
  • Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine of New York Chiropractic College
  • Georgetown University-Masters of Science in CAM Program
  • New York Chiropractic College
  • Northwestern Health Sciences University Massage Therapy Program
  • Tri-State College of Acupuncture
  • University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute
  • University of Western States
  • Your program/college/institution here ...

In each, the ACCAHC Clinicians' and Educators' Desk Reference on the Licensed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Professions (CEDR) is beginning to play a role in fostering better care through enhancing interprofessional education (IPE). In 6 of these programs, the CEDR has been adopted as a required text. At Georgetown University, the book was gifted to 50 graduates of a Master of Science program. At the University of Western States, the administration purchased 50 copies to gift to faculty as an IPE resource and to stimulate potential use in the curriculum.

ACCAHC publication provokes intra-institutional dialogue on curriculum on inter-professional education
These are just some of the outcomes since late February when ACCAHC mailed CEDR copies to presidents or directors of the 167 accredited universities, programs and schools associated with ACCAHC's councils of colleges. The effort, led by ACCAHC assistant director Beth Rosenthal, PhD, MBA, MPH and administrative assistant Linda Tate, has also included distribution of the book to the directors of the 44 integrative MD programs that are part of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.  Rosenthal and Tate are following up these mailings with individual phone calls to presidents, directors and individual faculty.

ACCAHC's goal is simple:
Adoption of the book as a core, required text, throughout our schools and programs.

Success produces two outcomes.  First and foremost, we guarantee that students in ACCAHC schools gain at least a minimal lift out of their professional silos. Each finds grounding for the inter-professional understanding that supports participation in clinical teams. At the same time, ACCAHC gains income to advance its mission. A purchase of 50 CEDRs for $875 ($17.50 each) nets $625 to support ACCAHC's work. 

Outreach is teaching us a great deal. Many educators are not sure where to fit the CEDR in their curriculum.  We find that inter-professional education is often not well incorporated into a student's education. That everyone wants others to know more about their discipline does not translate into focused teaching about other disciplines in their programs.  Rosenthal and Tate are diligently working with faculty members to clarify courses in which CEDR may be taught. They now provide lists of possible courses in which the CEDR could be useful to educators they contact.

At the same time, we are learning that faculty members in these fields view the CEDR as a great resource. Rosenthal has put together comments about the CEDR received from educators in a variety of disciplines.  For example, Dale Healey, DC, the dean of the massage therapy program at Northwestern Health Sciences University states:
"We developed our Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine course in response to the changing healthcare market and the profound need for increased collaboration among all healthcare providers. This book and the companion power-point are the exact resources we needed." 
Bottom line : Marketing the CEDR is not just about selling a book. It is provoking reflection and action relative to ACCAHC's core mission of fostering mutual respect among the disciplines. It's a grassroots effort - advancing one program at a time. We hope yours is next.  For information, contact Beth Rosenthal at .

ACCAHC Competencies for Optimal Practices in Integrated Environments

In September 2009, the ACCAHC Education Working Group (EWG) and Clinical Care Working Group (CWG) each chose to focus their work on supporting academics in educating students for practice in integrated environments.  Working Group leaders recognized this as a value across all our fields.  The ACCAHC website could be used to share resources. We could identify exemplary practices, provide model inter-institutional contracts, create curricular modules, sample course content and perhaps continuing educating or elective programs useful to educators, students and clinicians seeking to be prepared for these environments.

The ACCAHC teams decided that the best place to start this multi-year project would be to identify the target competencies for students. Through the work of a joint EWG-CWG committee and a series of working group meetings plus the April 2010 ACCAHC Board and Executive Committee meetings, a competencies document has been developed. It remains in a draft form. The competencies are clustered around 4 thematic areas:

  • Healthcare Policy
  • Institutional Healthcare Culture and Practice
  • Communication and Inter-professional Relationships
  • Evidence-based Health Care and Evidence-informed Practice   

Over 50 ACCAHC professionals have had significant roles in influencing this document. Of particular note were the perspectives and inputs of Jason Wright, LAc, Joe Brimhall, DC, Whitney Lowe, LMT, David Wickes, DC, MS, Tom Souza, DC, Belinda "Beau" Anderson, PhD, LAc, and Bill Meeker, DC, MPH. The working groups have been guided through these processes by co-chairs Marcia Prenguber, ND and Kathy Taromina, LAc (CWG) and Jan Schwartz,, MA  and Mike Wiles, DC, MEd (EWG). We plan to publish the document following a final review. A copy is available for review by contacting   

ACCAHC honored to announce initial group of top-flight Council of Advisers

ACCAHC recognized that, with a focus on integration, we would be served by exceptional advice from leaders from outside our disciplines. The ACCAHC Council of Advisers was established by the Board in January 2010 for that purpose. We are pleased and honored to share this founding group of top-flight advisers.

  • Richard A. "Buz" Cooper, MD, DSc is Professor of Medicine and Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania; national leader on issues related to the supply of physicians and non-physician clinicians and the dimensions of the health care system.

  • Aviad (Adi) Haramati, PhD is Professor in the Departments of Physiology & Biophysics and Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine; founding Vice Chair, Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

  • Wayne Jonas, MD is the CEO of the Samueli Institute where his team researches integrative practices, promotes optimal healing systems, and is helping shape a wellness agenda in US healthcare policy. Jonas was an influential past director of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine.

  • Bejamin Kligler, MD, MPH is Professor of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Vice Chair and Research Director of the Beth Israel Department of Integrative Medicine; Vice Chair, Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

  • Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HN-BC is the Executive Director of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital where she developed the largest hospital-based integrative care program in the US.

  • Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN is Founder and Director, Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of Minnesota; Past Vice Chair, Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

  • Adam Perlman, MD, MPH is Executive Director for the Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ICAM) at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and Chair, Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

More information about each of these professionals is available in the Council of Advisers page of the ACCAHC website.

ACCAHC & NCCAM's agenda:  Dialogue, follow-up letter, reception with Briggs, plus

ACCAHC's February 2010 Quarterly Report shared highlights of the ACCAHC input to the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) 2011-2015 strategic plans. Dialogue has continued. ACCAHC leaders held a conference call with NCCAM director Josephine Briggs, MD, Deputy Director Jack Killeen, MD and other NCCAM staff on March 15, 2010.  Extensive internal dialogue to further clarify ACCAHC recommendations followed. This involved the Board, Executive Committee and the ACCAHC Research Working Group (RWG).  ACCAHC's chair Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, on behalf of the board, and RWG co-chair Heather Zwickey, PhD, on behalf of the RWG members, subsequently submitted a 4-page follow-up letter to NCCAM on May 8, 2010. The foci: developing capacity in our schools, capturing cost issues and review processes. In her response, Briggs' underscored that ACCAHC "is one of our key stakeholder groups."  She noted additional ways where ACCAHC members can have input. (Copies of the letters are available on request.) 

ACCAHC Reception with Dr. Briggs
NCCAM Director Briggs was the guest-of-honor at an ACCAHC-sponsored reception on May 15 at the Seattle home of John Weeks and Jeana Kimball, ND, MPH. Roughly 25 ACCAHC leaders and colleagues attended the evening gathering. Thanks to Diana Thompson, LMT, Clinical Care Working Group member and past chair of the Massage Therapy Foundation for co-hosting.

RWG brainstorm with NCCAM advisors
On May 28, 2010, RWG member Janet Kahn, PhD, and EWG member Adam Burke, PhD, LAc, MPH, created an additional means by which ACCAHC RWG members have a chance to provide direction on NCCAM's work. Both are members of the NCCAM National Advisory Council on Complementary and Alternative Medicine which was to meet the next week. A subset of RWG members met with these two and with Tim Birdsall, ND, another member of NCCAM's advisory group. Birdsall was an invited guest on the 75 minute call. A similar call is anticipated prior to the September meeting of NCCAM's advisers.

Planning for the June 26-28, 2011 ACCAHC Conference for Educators: Focus on Leadership

On May 20-22, 2010, some 20 ACCAHC leaders met in Seattle to plan the June 26-28, 2011 ACCAHC conference for educators. The emerging themes focus on leadership.

  • Federal healthcare overhaul legislation created new opportunities for integrative practices and has significant implications for educators. How do we maximize the benefits? 
  • The US Health Resources Services Administration and Institute of Medicine have identified inter-professional education as critical for future team care. Are we stepping up to the challenge? Can we? Do nominally "integrative" practices have traits that will help us out of our silos into leadership? Where are best practices? 
  • Similarly, opportunities for integration increase daily. What new responsibilities are emerging for educators? How do we best teach for participation in these environments? 
  • Finally, a key competency for interprofessional relationships, for optimal integration and for participation in policy is the comfort and strength of our graduates in evidence-based health care and evidence-informed practice. Are we grounding our graduates in the language and culture of evidence?

These themes and identification of practical examples of how to take the most beneficial steps as educators are shaping ongoing mulling of conference possibilities. Hold the dates. More soon! 
Thanks to the following for helping keep the costs of the ACCAHC retreat low: institutions that anteed up travel costs (New York Chiropractic College, University of Western States, National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, National College of Natural Medicine-Helfgott Institute, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners and Five Branches University; Tom Weeks/Deborah Oyer, MD for donating their home for our meeting place; and Vicki Weeks/David Jones for no-cost sleeping spaces for 4 attendees.  
Work underway on ACCAHC Professions and the Future of Primary Care project

Discipline-based teams are busy at work on the white paper ACCAHC is developing, the working title of which is the ACCAHC Professions and the Future of Primary Care. The project is being co-led by Michael Goldstein, PhD, a senior investigator with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and ACCAHC executive director John Weeks. Under project plans, each group will create a 3000 word section that responds to an agreed-upon template. The following are the teams, as identified via their councils of colleges:

  • DC: Joe Brimhall, DC and Bill Meeker, DC, MPH, co-leads; Glenn Bub, DC, Marion Evans, DC, and Vince DeBono, DC
  • AOM: Belinda "Beau" Anderson, PhD, LAc, lead: Will Morris, LAc, DAOM, PhD; Hong Jin, LAc; Bingzeng Zou, PhD, DC, DAOM
  • ND: Rita Bettenburg, ND and Bruce Milliman, ND, co-leads: Beth Pimentel, ND, Erica Oberg, ND, MPH and Jamey Wallace, ND
  • Midwives: Marla Hicks, CPM, Suzy Myers, LM, MPH

Drafts of the sections are to be completed this summer. Goldstein and Weeks will take the lead in preparing the introductory and concluding sections of the papers. 

Inside ACCAHC: Tomasko on Board, CHE becomes first Emerging Professions member, plus

Board of Directors Felicia Tomasko, RN
, was elected to the ACCAHC Board after her nomination by the Traditional World Medicines (TWM) and Emerging Professions group. Tomasko is a board member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and an ACCAHC TWM member. Tomasko is also editor of LA Yoga and Ayurvedic Health.

Emerging Professions The Council on Homeopathic Education
, the accrediting organization for homeopathic education programs, applied for membership in ACCAHC as the first Emerging Professions (EP) member. CHE director Heidi Schor led the CHE application process.  For purposes of participation in ACCAHC, CHE and Schor will act with and through a combined TWM-EP group which has the opportunity to nominate one person to the ACCAHC board and two each to ACCAHC working groups.

ACCAHC Tele-dialogues Recordings of the ACCAHC Telephone-Dialogues with Allina Hospitals' Lori Knutson, RN, HN-BC on competencies in integrated environments and Richard "Buz" Cooper, MD, DSc on primary care and the roles of ACCAHC disciplines are available on the
ACCAHC Resources web page. Each recording includes a lively discussion with a group of ACCAHC leaders who chose to be on the call.

Sustaining Donors
To close on a note of thanks, the Leo S. Guthman Fund and NCMIC Foundation have each fulfilled on the 3rd year of their $10,000/year Sustaining Donors Group
pledge to ACCAHC. Bastyr University has completed the second of its $5,000/year pledge. Many thanks to the leaders of these institutions for their commitment to advancing our work!

Please let John Weeks know if you have any questions or suggestions on any of this ACCAHC business. Email or call 206-932-5799.

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