National Summit on Integrative Medicine Calls for Change

 

(March 2009)

 

Members of the integrative and functional medicine community celebrated a big victory this February 25-27 as the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science held the "Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public". The summit was a broad coalition that came together with a common voice and intent to "change not only the WAY we do medicine, but also the medicine we DO".

 

The need to truly integrate medicine was nicely framed by Dr Snyderman, Chancellor Emeritus, Duke University School of Medicine, as an integrated healthcare system that must be prospective in viewpoint- participatory, preventive, predictive, and personalized. Those of you who are familiar with my style of medicine know that this clinical model and proposed philosophy is what I have been proclaiming over the last 14 years in my Integrative practice. This same architecture has also been an integral part of the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), of which I am a longtime member and a certified participant since 2004, and the American Board of Holistic Medicine (ABHM), where I hold another board certification.

 

Two of my mentors and founders of IFM, Jeffrey Bland, PhD and Mark Hyman MD, also testified at the summit on how Functional medicine can help solve our health care crisis through a paradigm that focuses on underlying causes of chronic disease. Functional Medicine focuses on how our environment and lifestyle choices act on our genes to create imbalances in our core biologic systems...in turn these imbalances present with frank dis-ease or disease. Using Integrative and Functional Medicine we optimize biologic function in the body's core physiologic systems to treat disease and promote wellness.

 

It is gratifying for me to see what I have been advocating for years come into the national spotlight, promoted both at The White House and on Capital Hill as good preventative medicine and viable means to deal with chronic disease. I have been privileged to be a part of advancing the integrative medicine movement over the last decade and believe that now is the time to expand our understanding of medical treatment and refresh our outdated models of health care delivery. Recently, I was personally invited to attend a conference in Gig Harbor, Washington with a select number of other Integrative medicine physicians from around the country. At the conference we spent time with Dr. Bland and other renowned leaders of integrative and functional medicine to focus on, advocate for, and elevate the role of functional medicine in national healthcare.

 

I want to thank each of you who have been true advocates of this provocative, predictive, progressive and patient-centered way of living your life powerfully. Know that without our relationship and your belief in Integrative-functional medicine we would never have made it to Washington , DC in February 2009 to propose substantial changes in our nation's health care system.

 

Contributed by Theri Griego Raby, MD, ABMH

 

Integrative medicine is about seeing every person fully – recognizing that good healthcare attends to and nurtures body, mind, and spirit.