On the Front Lines

with John Weeks

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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.

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$5-Million to Mayo and Other Choices in the George’s Strategic Investment in Integrative Health

The George family name has been linked symbiotically to the growth of integrative health and medicine in the United States for 20 years. When a group of philanthropists met with a set of integrative academics at the Miraval Resort in 1999 and then again in 2001 in what would become the immensely influential Bravewell Collaborative, Penny and Bill George had their hands on the wheel. At Allina Health inpatient-outpatient integrative health program in their home city of Minneapolis they intentionally spawned methods and data that would guide others through $30-million pouring on the coal. The action of the Georges and

Read More »

Breaking the Class Barrier for Integrative Medicine: Innovative Roles for Group-Delivered Services, JACM Special Issue

Cast a net for papers on “innovations in group-delivered services” and what do you get? Guest editor Maria Chao, DrPh, MPA summed up the nearly 40 submissions this way: “Our editorial team was struck by the heterogeneity of integrative group visits for a range of health conditions, serving diverse patients across the life course and implemented in varied healthcare settings. A unifying theme is the potential for integrative group visits to address unmet needs of underserved and vulnerable patients. In many ways, group visits serve as a critical model towards integrative health equity.” The commentaries and research articles in the

Read More »

Mimi Guarneri, MD on the State of Integrative Cardiology

We pulled out this blog post from John Weeks’ archives, posted last February, on integrative cardiology with Mimi Guarneri, MD. As integrative medicine for chronic illness treatments gains more attention, this blog post and video presentation from Dr. Guarneri becomes all the more important to revisit. It was astonishing two decades ago when word emerged that medical device industry giant Medtronic – famed for its pacemakers – had made $1-million grants for cardiologists at heart centers across the country to explore complementary therapies. One seeded the creation of a center at Scripps led by interventional cardiologist Mimi Guarneri, MD. Guarneri

Read More »

Part 2: A Conversation with National Pain Leader Sean Mackey, MD, PhD on Integrative Practices and the Controversial Oregon Opioid Tapering Decision

Shortly after my recent post, “How the Backlash to Oregon’s Plan to Taper Opioids with Integrative Approaches Missed the Mark,”  I received an e-note from national pain leader Sean Mackey, MD, PhD. The letterhead of the chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University and co-chair of the US HHS National Pain Strategy was the vehicle through which Mackey and 100 co-signers successfully campaigned for the Oregon Health Authority to prevent forced tapering “of certain patient populations.” Mackey wrote that he presumed we had shared interests in bettering care, yet he thought there was a harmful “negativity” in

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 »

$5-Million to Mayo and Other Choices in the George’s Strategic Investment in Integrative Health

The George family name has been linked symbiotically to the growth of integrative health and medicine in the United States for 20 years. When a group of philanthropists met with a set of integrative academics at the Miraval Resort in 1999 and then again in 2001 in what would become the immensely influential Bravewell Collaborative, Penny and Bill George had their hands on the wheel. At Allina Health inpatient-outpatient integrative health program in their home city of Minneapolis they intentionally spawned methods and data that would guide others through $30-million pouring on the coal. The action of the Georges and

Read More »

Breaking the Class Barrier for Integrative Medicine: Innovative Roles for Group-Delivered Services, JACM Special Issue

Cast a net for papers on “innovations in group-delivered services” and what do you get? Guest editor Maria Chao, DrPh, MPA summed up the nearly 40 submissions this way: “Our editorial team was struck by the heterogeneity of integrative group visits for a range of health conditions, serving diverse patients across the life course and implemented in varied healthcare settings. A unifying theme is the potential for integrative group visits to address unmet needs of underserved and vulnerable patients. In many ways, group visits serve as a critical model towards integrative health equity.” The commentaries and research articles in the

Read More »

Mimi Guarneri, MD on the State of Integrative Cardiology

We pulled out this blog post from John Weeks’ archives, posted last February, on integrative cardiology with Mimi Guarneri, MD. As integrative medicine for chronic illness treatments gains more attention, this blog post and video presentation from Dr. Guarneri becomes all the more important to revisit. It was astonishing two decades ago when word emerged that medical device industry giant Medtronic – famed for its pacemakers – had made $1-million grants for cardiologists at heart centers across the country to explore complementary therapies. One seeded the creation of a center at Scripps led by interventional cardiologist Mimi Guarneri, MD. Guarneri

Read More »

Part 2: A Conversation with National Pain Leader Sean Mackey, MD, PhD on Integrative Practices and the Controversial Oregon Opioid Tapering Decision

Shortly after my recent post, “How the Backlash to Oregon’s Plan to Taper Opioids with Integrative Approaches Missed the Mark,”  I received an e-note from national pain leader Sean Mackey, MD, PhD. The letterhead of the chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University and co-chair of the US HHS National Pain Strategy was the vehicle through which Mackey and 100 co-signers successfully campaigned for the Oregon Health Authority to prevent forced tapering “of certain patient populations.” Mackey wrote that he presumed we had shared interests in bettering care, yet he thought there was a harmful “negativity” in

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 »

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 »