On the Front Lines

with John Weeks

download

Who is John Weeks?

John Weeks is a writer, speaker, chronicler and organizer whose work in the movement for integrative health and medicine began in 1983. He is publisher-editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports, which since 1995 – in various prior forms – has created primary connective terrain for the diverse stakeholders and professions in the field. He is a new contributor to Today’s Practitioner and contributes a regular column to Integrative Insights at Integrative Practitioner, a column for Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, and regular blogs for the Altarum Institute, the Huffington Post and elsewhere. In May 2016,  he accepted an invitation to serve as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Since mid-2015, John has re-focused his work on presenting, teaching and mentoring.

Read More »

How the Backlash to Oregon’s Plan to Taper Opioids with Integrative Approaches Missed the Mark

When Oregon announced in 2016 that it would shift its back and neck care for Medicaid clients from opioids toward acupuncture, spinal manipulation, massage, yoga therapy and mind-body methods, it was heralded as a breakthrough for pain treatment nationally. Inside that policy was a mandate many now consider even bigger news. Doctors were required to totally taper patients off opioids.  A backlash propelled by a letter signed by over 100 conventional pain academics nationwide – plus with one notable signer from the integrative pain community – stopped Oregon’s planned expansion of the model in its tracks. While there are good

Read More »

US Medicine as a Game of Thrones: The Houses of Volume, of Value, and of Integrative Health

I recently gave a commencement talk at Northwestern Health Sciences University, the day before Episode One of the last season of Game of Thrones. I chose to inject the sacredness of that day by referencing that other world by presenting the landscape of health and medicine that the graduates were entering as a jockeying between three Houses. In power on the Iron Throne: the House of Volume/Industry. The other two Houses are each insurgencies: the House of Integrative Health and the House of Value-Based Medicine. Can this life-and-death game play out favorably with an alliance between the two insurgencies in

Read More »

Part 2: An Examination of Research Action at 7 Multidisciplinary Universities of Integrative Health

The following is the second part of two interviews from John Weeks on 7 Multidisciplinary Universities of Integrative Health.  From the perspective of research contributions from academic institutions in integrative health, the 7 multidisciplinary universities have been key important contributors. These institutions, with one exception, are products of the last 20 years of advance of complementary, integrative and non-pharmacologic approaches in US health care. Each began as a professional school for chiropractic doctors, naturopathic doctors or acupuncturists then chose to expand its offerings for bird-of-a-feather programs, morphing into universities of integrative, natural health sciences. Part 1 of this series, “The

Read More »

Fascinating! Group Visits May Outperform (Already Positive) Individual Outcomes at Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine

Is it possible that group visits can outperform individual visits in patient reported outcomes? The audience for an energetic panel discussion that touched on group visits at the February 2019 Integrative Healthcare Symposium heard an intriguing –  though yet premature – data point. Panelist Mark Hyman MD noted that the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine (CCCFM) has developed a functional medicine “shared medical appointments” group model. Hyman then noted that first indications appear to be that self-reports of participants in groups in the Center’s Functioning for Life program. A cursory look at data showed more positive change on key

Read More »

The Future for Integrative Health: Interviews with Presidents of 7 Multidisciplinary Universities

The past 20 years witnessed the expansion of a new type of institution in academic health care – and specifically in integrative health and medicine: multidisciplinary universities with professional degrees in multiple natural health fields. Variously denominated as universities of “natural health sciences” or “health sciences” or “integrative health” or merely as “university,” these 7 institutions were each founded as single purpose colleges to educate  chiropractors, naturopathic doctors or acupuncturists. They expanded to include other disciplines, degrees and certifications. Many have played important roles in the integrative health movement. All sit at the intersection of two fields in turmoil: health

Read More »

Interview with Andrew Weil, MD on His $20-Million of Gifts to the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

The news broke last week that the physician most associated with the term “integrative medicine”, Andrew Weil, MD, had donated $15-million to fuel the work of what is now known as the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. The donation comes on top of $5-million Weil has already gifted the program he founded over two decades ago. In October 1996, I met him during a small symposium on the coverage issues in integration co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and Weil’s nascent program. (For perspective on one of the program’s influences, it was held in the

Read More »

Boot-Strapping a Research-Base: Naturopathy’s Scientific Journey via a Journal Special Issue

Non-naturopathic doctors will have at least these reasons to explore the Special Focus Issue on Naturopathy. One is the review of the necessary scientific work by that whole system profession’s researchers to examine multimodal and whole person treatment. Its the best concerted effort of any integrative health profession. A second is to witness naturopathic medicine’s journey in the last 35 years to raise a scientific mission from scratch. A third is for insight into this still small profession’s outsized contributions to the evolution of integrative health. Their foundational work in linking science to natural health modalities is at its root.

Read More »

“Normalizing” Integrative Medicine in Large Delivery Organizations: Nancy Sudak, MD and the Essentia Model

Nancy Sudak, MD became known nationally as a leader in the board certification of integrative holistic medical doctors and then as the founding executive director of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM). In these roles, Sudak knew the challenges of sustainability for integrative medicine models in large delivery organizations. So when she left AIHM, she developed an opportunity in a large upper Midwest system to create and prove an model. Now, two years plus into her experiment that is now a growing enterprise, Sudak has strategies to share in what she continues to view as a way to

Read More »

Huge Loss to US Pain Policy: Academy of Integrative Pain Management Shuts Down

For the past half decade, the Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM) has carried the policy mantle for integrative pain treatment into ever more influential places.  The beacons were the 2017 and 2018 Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress. The most recent convened 70  stakeholder organizations, including key payers and federal agencies. On January 29, 2019, AIPM announced that it has ceased operations. Amidst the present opportunities for transforming pain treatment, the integrative pain field lost its engine. Oddly, the very challenges to the pharma industry in the center of the dominant pain model were part of AIPM’s undoing. (See more

Read More »

Integrative Psychiatrist Scott Shannon, MD: The Phase III MDMA Trial and the Transformation of Psychotherapy

Author Michael Pollan’s powerful 2015 New Yorker essay “The Trip Treatment” suggested that a book was coming, as it did with last year’s best seller: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence. Pollan’s essay also suggested that a companion book might be needed: How to Change the Psychotherapy Industry. Long-term value from 1-3 doses of these agents presents its challenges for both the manufacturers of competing pharmaceuticals and also for clinicians accustomed to banking on long-term treatment processes. So when I learned that integrative psychiatrist Scott Shannon,

Read More »

How the Backlash to Oregon’s Plan to Taper Opioids with Integrative Approaches Missed the Mark

When Oregon announced in 2016 that it would shift its back and neck care for Medicaid clients from opioids toward acupuncture, spinal manipulation, massage, yoga therapy and mind-body methods, it was heralded as a breakthrough for pain treatment nationally. Inside that policy was a mandate many now consider even bigger news. Doctors were required to totally taper patients off opioids.  A backlash propelled by a letter signed by over 100 conventional pain academics nationwide – plus with one notable signer from the integrative pain community – stopped Oregon’s planned expansion of the model in its tracks. While there are good

Read More »

US Medicine as a Game of Thrones: The Houses of Volume, of Value, and of Integrative Health

I recently gave a commencement talk at Northwestern Health Sciences University, the day before Episode One of the last season of Game of Thrones. I chose to inject the sacredness of that day by referencing that other world by presenting the landscape of health and medicine that the graduates were entering as a jockeying between three Houses. In power on the Iron Throne: the House of Volume/Industry. The other two Houses are each insurgencies: the House of Integrative Health and the House of Value-Based Medicine. Can this life-and-death game play out favorably with an alliance between the two insurgencies in

Read More »

Part 2: An Examination of Research Action at 7 Multidisciplinary Universities of Integrative Health

The following is the second part of two interviews from John Weeks on 7 Multidisciplinary Universities of Integrative Health.  From the perspective of research contributions from academic institutions in integrative health, the 7 multidisciplinary universities have been key important contributors. These institutions, with one exception, are products of the last 20 years of advance of complementary, integrative and non-pharmacologic approaches in US health care. Each began as a professional school for chiropractic doctors, naturopathic doctors or acupuncturists then chose to expand its offerings for bird-of-a-feather programs, morphing into universities of integrative, natural health sciences. Part 1 of this series, “The

Read More »

Fascinating! Group Visits May Outperform (Already Positive) Individual Outcomes at Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine

Is it possible that group visits can outperform individual visits in patient reported outcomes? The audience for an energetic panel discussion that touched on group visits at the February 2019 Integrative Healthcare Symposium heard an intriguing –  though yet premature – data point. Panelist Mark Hyman MD noted that the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine (CCCFM) has developed a functional medicine “shared medical appointments” group model. Hyman then noted that first indications appear to be that self-reports of participants in groups in the Center’s Functioning for Life program. A cursory look at data showed more positive change on key

Read More »

The Future for Integrative Health: Interviews with Presidents of 7 Multidisciplinary Universities

The past 20 years witnessed the expansion of a new type of institution in academic health care – and specifically in integrative health and medicine: multidisciplinary universities with professional degrees in multiple natural health fields. Variously denominated as universities of “natural health sciences” or “health sciences” or “integrative health” or merely as “university,” these 7 institutions were each founded as single purpose colleges to educate  chiropractors, naturopathic doctors or acupuncturists. They expanded to include other disciplines, degrees and certifications. Many have played important roles in the integrative health movement. All sit at the intersection of two fields in turmoil: health

Read More »

Interview with Andrew Weil, MD on His $20-Million of Gifts to the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

The news broke last week that the physician most associated with the term “integrative medicine”, Andrew Weil, MD, had donated $15-million to fuel the work of what is now known as the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. The donation comes on top of $5-million Weil has already gifted the program he founded over two decades ago. In October 1996, I met him during a small symposium on the coverage issues in integration co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and Weil’s nascent program. (For perspective on one of the program’s influences, it was held in the

Read More »

Boot-Strapping a Research-Base: Naturopathy’s Scientific Journey via a Journal Special Issue

Non-naturopathic doctors will have at least these reasons to explore the Special Focus Issue on Naturopathy. One is the review of the necessary scientific work by that whole system profession’s researchers to examine multimodal and whole person treatment. Its the best concerted effort of any integrative health profession. A second is to witness naturopathic medicine’s journey in the last 35 years to raise a scientific mission from scratch. A third is for insight into this still small profession’s outsized contributions to the evolution of integrative health. Their foundational work in linking science to natural health modalities is at its root.

Read More »

“Normalizing” Integrative Medicine in Large Delivery Organizations: Nancy Sudak, MD and the Essentia Model

Nancy Sudak, MD became known nationally as a leader in the board certification of integrative holistic medical doctors and then as the founding executive director of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM). In these roles, Sudak knew the challenges of sustainability for integrative medicine models in large delivery organizations. So when she left AIHM, she developed an opportunity in a large upper Midwest system to create and prove an model. Now, two years plus into her experiment that is now a growing enterprise, Sudak has strategies to share in what she continues to view as a way to

Read More »

Huge Loss to US Pain Policy: Academy of Integrative Pain Management Shuts Down

For the past half decade, the Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM) has carried the policy mantle for integrative pain treatment into ever more influential places.  The beacons were the 2017 and 2018 Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress. The most recent convened 70  stakeholder organizations, including key payers and federal agencies. On January 29, 2019, AIPM announced that it has ceased operations. Amidst the present opportunities for transforming pain treatment, the integrative pain field lost its engine. Oddly, the very challenges to the pharma industry in the center of the dominant pain model were part of AIPM’s undoing. (See more

Read More »

Integrative Psychiatrist Scott Shannon, MD: The Phase III MDMA Trial and the Transformation of Psychotherapy

Author Michael Pollan’s powerful 2015 New Yorker essay “The Trip Treatment” suggested that a book was coming, as it did with last year’s best seller: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence. Pollan’s essay also suggested that a companion book might be needed: How to Change the Psychotherapy Industry. Long-term value from 1-3 doses of these agents presents its challenges for both the manufacturers of competing pharmaceuticals and also for clinicians accustomed to banking on long-term treatment processes. So when I learned that integrative psychiatrist Scott Shannon,

Read More »

Who is John Weeks?

John Weeks is a writer, speaker, chronicler and organizer whose work in the movement for integrative health and medicine began in 1983. He is publisher-editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports, which since 1995 – in various prior forms – has created primary connective terrain for the diverse stakeholders and

Read More »