In 2014, the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM)
will expand to become an international academy, the Academy of
Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM).
The mission of the expanded global academy will be to implement the
science of health and healing into practice by bringing leaders of
medicine and the healing arts together into an academic and clinically
In December 2013, stakeholders representing key organizations in the
integrative health and medicine sector met formally in San Diego to
discuss the development of the academy, its major goals, and vision.
Leaders from the American
Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), the Integrative
Medicine Consortium (IMC), the Consortium
of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM),
Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC), the American
Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Academic
Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care
of Naturopathic Medicine (FNM), the American
Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), Healing
Beyond Borders (HBB), and the American
Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM), had a meaningful
discussion about the future academy, which will be a strong voice for
integrative health and medicine professionals.
Funding for the expansion of the new academy was made possible by an
endowment from the Taylor Family Foundation and Miraglo Foundation. Don
and Ruth Taylor of Calgary, Alberta are committed to projects to
transform health care to a system of prevention and early intervention,
promotion of optimal health, personalized health interventions, social
support and individual empowerment.
Six major shifts in health care have created the need for an expanded
education and certification program in integrative and holistic health
and medicine. In recognition that successful health and medicine
delivery requires professionals from multiple disciplines, the academy
will welcome a wide array of healthcare professionals. In addition to
medical and osteopathic physicians, the academy will support licensed
and credentialed healthcare providers such as naturopathic physicians,
chiropractors, acupuncturists, registered nurses, nurse practitioners,
physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists,
nutritionists, and dieticians. By 2015, the academy will have a
certification process in place for these licensed and credentialed
health professionals for additional advanced training. Specific details
about eligibility will be provided in 2014.
The six major shifts in healthcare in the United States are as follows:
1) Patient Demand: Increased patient demand for integrative,
preventive and holistic healthcare services.
2) Efficacy: Proven cost
efficacy of integrative health and medicine in wellness programs
in employment settings, universities, and pilot programs as summarized
by the Bravewell
3) ACA: The Affordable Care Act stipulates that licensed health
care professions (including licensed acupuncturists, naturopathic
physicians, and others) cannot be discriminated against by insurers
(Section 2706) and incorporates integrative practitioners into several
other sections of the law.
4) Recognition: The increased recognition of integrative health
and medicine as affordable and effective: A recent senate
resolution declared naturopathic medicine to be affordable,
effective, and safe, and encouraged more Americans to consider
naturopathic medicine as an option for their healthcare.
5) Assurances: Patient and healthcare industry need for assurance
that integrative practitioners are highly qualified. Patients rely on
their healthcare providers, often their physicians or nurses, for advice
and quality referrals regarding safe and effective integrative
approaches, which now have a significant place on the health care map.
6) Doctor Demand: Demand for certification in recent years has
escalated considerably for primary care physicians and specialists. By
early 2014, the ABIHM will have certified nearly 2500 MD and DO
physicians in integrative holistic medicine.
Dr. Guarneri explained to an audience of more than 500 healthcare
professionals attending the ABIHM Annual
Conference in November 2013, "Broadening beyond the
psychometrically validated, peer-reviewed board certification exam in
comprehensive integrative holistic medicine to MD's and DO's enabled us
to reconfigure our course offerings to meet the demand for more
certified practitioners in holistic medicine and healing." Further she
noted, "The integrative healthcare community needs a comprehensive
resource to support integrative health and medicine practices. Plus, we
need a unified forum for political advocacy for these values, practices
The academy will provide a unified voice for holistic and integrative
healthcare providers dedicated to shifting the nation from disease care
to true health care; from sickness to wellness. The academy will be the
platform for all healthcare providers who recognize that health is more
than the absence of disease, and is not limited to individuals, but
includes our communities and the planet.
AIHM will also provide resources for patients and employers, students,
research activities, professional advocacy, leadership development, and
more. Details will be planned in collaboration with the stakeholders and
announced early in 2014.
Leaders in the field and those with questions should feel free to convey
their interest to the emerging AIHM's executive director, Nancy Sudak,
MD, at NanSudak@aihm.org. Leave
comments regarding this announcement under the press tab at www.aihm.org.
About The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine:The
American Board of Holistic Medicine was founded in 1996 and officially
changed its name to the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine
in 2008. The Vision of the ABIHM is to establish and maintain the
highest standards of medical care, ignite and sustain the joy and
passion of physicians in their work, establish the role of unconditional
love as the basis of healing and support, and to recognize the
importance of the health of the planet as integral to human health. The
intention of this process is the transformation of medical systems
towards holism, by combining science and compassion.
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