On the Front Lines
with 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.
The evolution of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) began in the 1930s with a founding focus on a single emerging modality and now boasts a position as the largest multidisciplinary-centered rehabilitation organization in the country. ACRM was first a medical academy for x-ray therapy, broadened to more physical therapies, then focused in on physical medicine, and finally extended outward again to address both physical and psychological issues. Core disciplines are medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology. The door is not shut. Anyone can join. Now a subset of the heterogeneous organization’s membership is casting a broader net.
Inclusion Check-in: Are Integrative Practices in New Federal Opioid Legislation, National Academy, and FDA Activity?
One can easily count the chickens of non-pharmacological approaches highlighted in multiple organizational guidelines and state strategies related to pain and opioids. But one definitely cannot count on them hatching inside each new, significant policy initiative. Regular medicine tends to regress toward a non-inclusive mean in pain treatment. And “mean” may be the operative word – at least from the perspective of individuals who remain unaware of the integrative therapies and practitioners that may help them. This is an irregular Integrator look at the level of inclusion in recent major initiatives related to pain and opioids. To start, the federal
The movement from the wild-west of “alternative” medical practices into mainstream respect and inclusion is typically a process of standard-setting, self-regulation, and then governmental action. Two principals in the Osher Collaborative for Integrative Medicine recently asked whether – with the chaotic and rapid expansion of the field — its time for integrative medical doctors, in particular, to consider additional, proactive steps. The recommendations touch on an integrative medical doctor’s responsibilities to patients, to self, to their still newly emerging field, and, interestingly, to complementary providers. The Osher Center leaders propose, perhaps most significantly, that it is time for the Federation
Retraction Needed? JAMA Oncology’s Bum Science Suggests People Die Faster Using Complementary Medicine
The media had a feeding frenzy when a data-mining report from Yale researchers published in JAMA Oncology suggested a causal relationship between use of complementary medicine and shortened life span among cancer patients. A New York Times subheading was representative: “People who used herbs, acupuncture and other complementary treatments tended to die earlier than those who didn’t.” The appearance of this apparent death knell due to the “nostrums” as the Times writer called them – “herbs, vitamins, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, acupuncture and others” – had a fascinating timeliness. The publication of “Complementary Medicine, Refusal of Cancer Therapy, and Survival among Cancer Patients with Curable Cancers”
Integrative Medicine Leader Tracy Gaudet and her “Aha!” Moments Driving the VA’s Cultural Transformation
In a recent presentation at a National Academy of Medicine workshop, Tracy Gaudet, MD, the founding director of the Veterans Administration’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, described how radically her team is approaching their work to create health in the veterans they serve. “We start with peer conversations between the veterans and their peers about what is important to them,” began Gaudet – who from 1995-2011 led integrative medicine programs at the flagship University of Arizona program founded by Andrew Weil, MD and then Duke Integrative Medicine, before being chosen to found the VA’s new office. She continued: “Then, circling out from that, we have
The movement of medicine toward an integrative model took an important step in early June. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) endorsed a clinical practice guideline for integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment. The endorsement was published on June 11, 2018 in ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology as “Integrative Therapies During and After Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline.” That guideline, with a few added discussion points, has beenpublished in 2017 by the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO). According to one major cancer center, ASCO’s move “sent a clear signal to breast cancer patients and their care teams:
Front-Lines for Integrative Health, by columnist John Weeks | Note to Today’s Practitioner readers: You are doing the clinical work. Shifting the medical industry toward a system focused on creating health also requires organizational, institutional, professional and policy action. Some of you so inclined and engaged. Others of you pay attention. In my new column for Today’s Practitioner I will report, celebrate and sometimes cajole relative to efforts at the convergence of integrative health and the dominant school of medicine – as I have been through the Integrator Blog, and elsewhere, over the past 25 years. More on my background is
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