Filed Under 'Integrative Medicine'
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
The New Year is a great time to share motivational stories of providers leading the transformation of healthcare. I am fortunate to connect with these inspirational leaders regularly and will share some of their transformational stories throughout the year.
I recently wrote about the growth of integrative medicine and the increasing number of providers who pursue training in the field. Following is the account of an experienced integrative medicine physician who dares to live her big dream and ventured out on her own to practice integrative medicine.
The Year of Big Dreams: 2014
December 31, 2013 By Dr. Kay Corpus
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2013 was The Year of the Snake. Though most things that slither about horrify me (earthworms and caterpillars included) the mythological metaphor of snakes and serpents had me pegged. They represent transformation, creative power, change, rebirth and healing. Just as the snake, which sheds old skin to make room for new growth, in 2013, I chose to say good-bye to a life of comfort and predictability to find full expression of my life’s purpose.
Sloughing off some major limiting beliefs was the first step. You know the ones, “I’m not capable enough, smart enough, good enough, strong enough, rich enough, or brave enough…” Then, I started honoring the whispers of my soul… slept longer, started saying ‘hell, no”, ate more chocolate, and even closed my medical practice. It was a test of will, of trust, and a huge leap of faith, but has been so far the most creative and spacious time of my life. Interestingly enough, many others at the same time were outgrowing their skins in hope of letting go of the old self to birth something new. In fact, many of them were physicians too.
The Chinese astrologers say this year, 2014, is The Year of the Horse, the one of big dreams. Horses represent travel, wisdom, power and freedom. They often have wild spirits that cannot be broken. What a perfect transition from limitation to liberation! I’m beyond excited and hopeful to witness what this New Year will bring for all of us as we venture on this journey together. So, from today on, as Mary Oliver would ask, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Kay Corpus, MD is a board-certified family physician specializing in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. Her approach to medicine involves uncovering the root cause of illness and disease, which, she believes, is essential to living well and in full vitality. In her clinical practice, she and her patients work together to illuminate how pathology occurs as a result of emotional, psychological, and spiritual imbalances. Dr. Corpus completed family medicine residency at Penn State Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA and the two-year Integrative Medicine fellowship with Andrew Weil, MD with the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. She has also completed coursework with The Institute of Functional Medicine and her certification with the Whole Health Medicine Institute is pending. For more tips on true health and healing connect with her at www.kaycorpusmd.com, https://www.facebook.com/kaycorpusmd and Twitter @kaycorpusmd.
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
As the “un-recruiter” for integrative medicine providers, I am regularly asked what I see happening in the industry. For several years I’ve waited and can finally report I’m seeing an increasing number of opportunities as integrative medicine grows.
Society is mainstreaming integrative medicine.
I see this bandwagon rolling along nicely now. This growth is in response to the demand of the patients who are not getting their health care needs met through the conventional model of medicine.
Integrative medicine is breaking through the conventional barriers as a growing number of providers and patients are choosing patient-centered care.
A Growing Number of Providers
I talk to physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who pursue integrative medicine training because they are not able to provide the patient-focused care necessary to heal and educate patients. They seek integrative medicine because they want the freedom to practice medicine as it should be, through prevention, education and the treatment of the cause of illness. They seek additional training to do this investing their own time and finances.
The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine Fellowship Program began in 1997 with 2 graduates per year. Since then the Fellowship has graduated nearly 1000 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants with about 120 new graduates per year. The Institute of Functional Medicine continues to grow as well and reports attendance at their Annual International Conference jumped 45% from 2012 to 2013.
Medical schools are also answering to the demand. In 2008 The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine launched its Integrative Medicine in Residency program. By 2012, 33 institutions adopted the curriculum. The Institute of Functional Medicine reports faculty from one-fifth of medical schools in the US have attended their foundational training course, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice. And The Consortium of Academic Health Center for Integrative Medicine now has 57 highly esteemed academic medical centers in their membership.
Some of these trained integrative medicine providers are establishing their own practices and experiencing immediate practice growth in response to the demand.
A Growing Number of Established Practices
I reach out to integrative practices regularly to build my business. I make many more contacts today than I did two years ago, or even a year ago. My list of integrative practices grows every week and these practices are growing organically.
I’ve worked with practices across the nation that have grown simply by word of mouth and seek my help to source an additional provider. They are in the West, mid-West, East, suburban and rural settings, and many times in less progressive communities.
I’ve also worked with practices in larger cities that have utilized strong marketing efforts to build their practices, and it has worked. Their increase in patient load required that that they hire additional providers.
In both instances the practices continue to grow by word of mouth because integrative medicine actually gets people better, PLUS, they stay better. The integrative medicine word is spreading from the patients whose experience is the evidence and proof it is effective.
Hospitals are responding to the demand as well. A 2011 American Hospital Association report found that 42 percent of surveyed hospitals offer one or more Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) services with their conventional services.
A Collective Action
Some of the most transformative shifts in our country have happened without any initiation from the government. The Green movement, organic movement, women’s suffrage and the abolishment of slavery, all broke through the conventional barriers from the collective action of people working towards a common goal.
The integrative medicine collective action is the catalyst for the movement towards patient-centered care. “The People” are leading the movement and with more providers available, more patients will find optimal health and the word will continue to spread.
Future of Healthcare
Integrative medicine is the future of healthcare. The only solution to achieving optimal health is through personalized health care that addresses the cause of the illness and the mind, body, spirit and environmental factors impacting health.
In the midst of health care reform, a shortage of primary care physicians, and an overweight and chronically ill country, it’s important to acknowledge some good that is happening. The good is integrative medicine is growing. We have more providers available to spend the necessary time with patients to provide the patient-centered care required to achieve health.
Understanding we have a long road ahead, I am encouraged by the shift that is happening. In the words of Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” and the steps “The People” are taking will make integrative medicine the standard of care. Integrative medicine is meeting the demands of the people and healing our health care system one practitioner and one patient at a time.
Monday, December 9th, 2013
Large environmental medicine center searching for Board Certified Physician to join their growing outpatient center.
This multi-specialty facility focuses on allergy/immunology, toxicology, nutrition and prevention. The center has been in practice for over 30 years and treats patients from all over the world. The practice offers a great opportunity for a physician wishing to practice cutting-edge medicine and maintain a quality of life.
• Outpatient practice with 8 – 5 schedule Mon-Fri.
• No weekends and rotating light call
• Treating patients from the US and internationally
• Practicing cutting edge modalities
• Research opportunities
• Fee for service with large support staff
• Comprehensive benefits package, generous CME
• Training provided
• Relocation considered
• Must be Board Certified in at least one specialty
• 5 years of clinical experience
• Integrative medicine experience (functional, environmental, preventive, anti-aging)
• Experience in mold toxicity a plus
The center is located in Charleston, which was rated the “Top City in the United States” by Conde Nast Traveler for two consecutive years.
Interested candidates please email Lisa McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Renowned integrative medicine establishment in Arizona searching for Integrative Psychiatrist to join their leading-edge mental health facility. This facility provides individualized and compassionate treatment for mental health, addictions and chronic pain utilizing a truly integrated approach that addresses the whole person.
Competitive salary and benefits package with relocation. Interested candidates please contact Lisa McDonald – email@example.com.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Large well-established integrative medicine center in Pennsylvania is searching for a Board Certified Primary Care Physician. This multi-disciplinary center provides comprehensive patient-centered care and integrates natural therapies into conventional medical diagnosis and treatment.
Position offers guaranteed base salary with generous productivity incentive, comprehensive benefits package and relocation considered.
Located in a beautiful, quaint and rural area 1 hour from Philadelphia. Interested candidates contact Lisa McDonald at Integrated Connections; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
This post was written by Poorvi Shah, DO, Integrative Medicine Physician
1. Public Demand.
Now more than ever, patients desire an integrative medicine approach to their condition. They want to find the root cause of their illness. With all of the literature on whole living, nutrition, and integrative therapies, the consumer demand for integrative services is at its highest. This demand has warranted large institutions such as Harvard Medical School, Duke University, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and the University of Calfornia, San Francisco to establish integrative medicine clinics.
2. Patients Lack Direction when Choosing an Integrative Practitioner.
Only 12% of patients who use integrative therapies were referred by a physician. Most patients seek an integrative medicine solution on their own, often led on a goose chase of several therapies, some of which are not evidence based and fail, thus spending hundreds, sometimes thousands of unnecessary dollars. An integrative physician sees the patient, recommends the appropriate evidence based therapy, can save the patient and insurance system money. Patients want direction and the ability to discuss CAM integrative therapies with their physician and receive advice.
3. Integrative Therapies Help with Stress Related Illness.
Studies predict that up to 80% of primary care physician visits are for stress related conditions. Therapies such as mindfulness based stress reduction, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, massage, osteopathy, acupuncture and others can help manage stress, and stress related disorders effectively.
4. Physician Resistance of Integrative Medicine creates a rift in the doctor patient relationship.
In a nationwide study of hospitals that offer integrative therapies, 44% listed ‘physician resistance’ as a top hurdle. Patients are often unwilling to share information about the use of integrative therapies with their physician. If a physician is not aware of all the treatments a patient is undergoing, she cannot provide comprehensive, quality care. The physician feels like she failed and the patient loses trust in their doctor. Being open to ALL of a patient’s needs is the best approach, and is taught to integrative medicine physicians.
5. Treating the Whole Person Just Makes Sense.
In the early days, physicians were leaders in their community, medicine men, and healers. They looked at the body, mind, and spirit of each patient. Using this approach as the root of preventive care, integrative medicine physicians create wellbeing and balance by addressing emotional, physical, and spiritual issues in one’s life. Integrative medicine physicians not only help prevent disease, but offer patients a chance at optimal health.
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
At this time when we are reminded to be aware of all we are grateful for, I reflect on my appreciation for being able to work with the incredible healthcare providers who are leading the transformation of our healthcare system – the integrative medicine providers. I am grateful for this specialized group of healthcare providers and admire the characteristics they generally share.
Integrative medicine (IM) providers embark on a new journey knowing it is not always accepted or supported, and may not result in increased financial rewards, but proceed with conviction because they truly care about people’s health and well being. They are passionate about educating and empowering their patients to achieve and sustain better health through an integrated approach that supports healing and promotes health.
The journey that leads to practicing IM typically begins with the practitioner who can no longer continue in the role of a provider who is limited to a brief patient visit to simply manage symptoms. They choose a different path because they are committed to the highest good of the patient and are passionate in how they approach practicing medicine.
Committed to Educating and Empowering Patients
A visit to an IM provider may last an hour or longer because they spend the time to understand the whole person. They create a personalized health plan with each patient that not only heals, but also educates on how to achieve and sustain health; a plan that addresses health and prevention.
Through this partnership, the IM provider educates their patients to discover the power within themselves to make sustainable healthy lifestyle changes and to utilize the many effective modalities available to help them. They educate on the proven mind-body connection so patients can restore health by working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself and address the root cause of disease, not just addressing the symptoms.
This personalized plan empowers active participation from the patient and requires the patient to accept responsibility for their health.
The IM provider embraces the understanding that no one system has all the answers. They stay open to the many evidence based disciplines and modalities that have proven safe and effective in treating patients. They are committed to being aware and continuing their education on the various modalities to ensure they can present the best options possible when creating the personalized health plan with their patient.
Their open-mindedness allows them to provide innovative and preventative treatment approaches customized to each patient. The options available may include lifestyle modifications, integrative therapies, as well as conventional medicine.
The IM provider adopts a team approach in working with other integrative and conventional practitioners to determine the tools and support necessary to improve health and support behavior change. They work in concert with knowledgeable and skilled practitioners to select options that will best meet the individualized needs of each patient.
This unified team brings incredible power to finding solutions to health problems and creating individualized prevention and health promotion plans. The IM provider understands each practitioner in the team has an equal role as a healthcare provider and are each critical in healing and empowering the patient.
The IM provider practices what they preach. They personally adhere to healthy lifestyle behaviors and implement appropriate integrative therapies to create their own personalized health plan. They are role models to their patients by maintaining health and balance in their own lives.
They know an integrated approach is the path to optimal health and vitality, and that they will be better healers and educators when they take care of themselves. The IM provider implements the whole person approach into managing their own health in order to live life to its fullest, enjoy their personal relationships and better serve their patients.
The IM providers are leaders in the transformation of our healthcare system from a disease management system to a health promotion system. The National Institute of Health predicts that all healthcare providers will be versed in integrative medicine modalities by the year 2020. Integrative medicine will be the standard of care, and the IM providers are leading the way.
Their passion, commitment, open-mindedness and team approach enables them to be stellar role models and leaders that embody the change that is much needed in our healthcare system.
I am grateful for the valuable work they do, and the opportunity I have to work with all integrative medicine practitioners. I whole heartedly believe integrative medicine is the answer to the epidemic of chronic illness in our country and truly grateful for the integrative medicine providers who are raising our awareness and leading us to becoming a healthier nation. Their work inspires me to diligently pursue placing them into opportunities that can optimally educate and empower individuals to health and well being.
Monday, June 18th, 2012
We hear a lot about wellness today and for good reason. Americans spend $2 trillion every year on treating disease and obesity has reached epidemic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of the U.S. population is obese; and as this number continues to increase, so too will chronic illnesses and healthcare costs.
Gallup recently reported that 86 percent of full-time employees in the U.S. are above normal weight or have at least one chronic medical condition. Compared to healthy workers, these employees are absent an estimated 450 million extra days each year costing at least $153 billion in lost productivity.
Employers are taking note. According to the Wellness Councils of America, more than 80 percent of U.S. businesses with at least 50 employees participate in a health-promotion program. In the pursuit of chasing wellness to control healthcare costs, I think it’s important to define what constitutes wellness.
Wellness pioneer, Donald Ardell, Ph.D in his book, High Level Wellness, states “Wellness is first and foremost a choice to assume responsibility for the quality of your life.” Once you make the conscious decision to choose a healthy lifestyle you can adopt a wellness mindset.
Wellness is a mindset – a mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations. No matter what life circumstances you are experiencing, you choose how to react to them, how to live through them, and which resources to choose to support a healthy state of being. It’s a personal choice that must come from inside and must be intrinsically motivated and supported with education.
Employers are increasingly joining the wellness train and implementing wellness programs at their workplaces. There is plenty of research now telling us that savings are a result of prevention, but I think the majority of organizations also understand the critical importance of healthy employees in maintaining a happy, productive and profitable organization. It isn’t just about controlling healthcare costs, it’s about supporting and maintaining a culture of health which inspires creativity and productivity, fosters better communication, and supports people in the pursuit of their purpose. Imagine how successful organizations would be if the majority of their employees possess a wellness mindset.
Ralpho Waldo Emerson stated, “The first wealth is health”. That statement is applicable to individuals as well as corporations.
The growing acknowledgement that a company is only as healthy as its employees is encouraging. I applaud any efforts to promote health in the workplace, yet I think it is critical to reinforce the intrinsic motivators more than the extrinsic ones to achieve the wellness mindset. Reinforcing that people must assume personal responsibility for their wellness and ensuring they are empowered with the knowledge to make choices that lead to healthier lives. Educated choices make the best choices.
Providing health education seminars in the community and workplace is an effective platform to empower individuals with the knowledge that allows them to make healthier choices. The most significant way to achieve a wellness mindset is to educate people on health and prevention.
Preventable illness makes up approximately 80% of illnesses and 90% of all health care costs, which means education is key to reducing long-term health care and disease management costs for all of us, considerably.
Integrative healthcare practitioners are the perfect resource to support a state of well being through education and effective treatments. They provide the information, awareness and therapies people need to support healthier choices. Integrative medical practitioners blend conventional medical practices and complementary wellness care that empowers individuals to take control of their own health and recommend therapies that will help them achieve their wellness mindset and improve the quality of their life. They are powerful motivators who look at the whole picture – mind, body and spirit.
Integrated Connections places integrative medical practitioners into seminars and speaking events which engage audiences to make educated choices that sustain health and wellness over time. Our speakers aim to educate and transform health; and our seminars are much less expensive than reactive health care options that are often costly and temporary.
Wellness is the choice to assume the responsibility for your quality of life, so to achieve a wellness mindset you must make mindful, educated choices that support your desired life. It’s time to get educated. Integrated Connections can help.
Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Traditional medicine such as acupuncture, chiropractic, ayurvedic and naturopathy have been referred to by skeptics as woo-woo medicine – a derogatory term for healing therapies that have been in practice for thousands of years, and with reports and studies of efficacy and acceptance increasingly growing.
It is unsettling to me when I hear this term in reference to effective and authentic healing methods because it misrepresents and suppresses them. Woo-woo is a slang term that denotes things that are nonsense, crazy or quackery. These modalities and their licensed and trained practitioners are anything but nonsense or quacks. Traditional medicine practitioners choose professions that require rigorous and costly studies knowing their salaries will be much less than if they had chosen a conventional medicine path. Their office visits may last an hour or longer because they spend the time to understand the whole person and address the proven mind-body connection. They educate and restore health by working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself and address the root cause of disease, not just covering up the symptoms. They understand the benefits of combining traditional natural medicine with the best of modern medical science. They take an integrated approach.
The skeptics refer to anything that lacks substantiated evidence as woo-woo. Anyone who has ever been touched by the therapeutic benefits of a traditional healing therapy knows they are not nonsense or quackery. Their benefits are life changing and their proof is supported by the growing number of people experiencing these benefits, and the increasing number of reputable institutions that are researching, practicing and teaching about them.
The National Institute of Health has funded an entire agency with 65 employees to study complementary and alternative medicine. This agency, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, states integrative medicine “combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.”
Their efficacy continues to be reported from the 50 highly esteemed medical institutions that are part of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine whose mission is to advance the principles and practices of integrative healthcare within academic institutions. A few of these institutions include Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Johns Hopkins.
The acceptance of traditional healing therapies is seen at some of the most respected medical centers in the nation that have established integrative medical centers, i.e. Scripps, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Mayo Clinic and Duke University Medical Center. Some of the services listed at these centers are acupuncture, yoga, Healing Touch, Qigong, meditation, massage therapy, Reiki and herbal medicine.
Even the military has embraced acupuncture, meditation, yoga and biofeedback as strategies to help veterans and soldiers manage chronic physical pain, PTSD, depression and insomnia.
Yet there are still many skeptics who diminish the credibility of these effective healing therapies by labeling them “woo-woo”. This label limits acceptance and deters from educating. It is preventing people from accessing all the modalities available to help achieve optimal health.
In Deepak Chopra’s post “Woo Woo Is a Step Ahead of (Bad) Science”, Dr. Chopra states “ ‘woo woo’ is a derogatory reference to almost any form of unconventional thinking, aimed by professional skeptics who are self-appointed vigilantes dedicated to the suppression of curiosity.”
I have often heard from traditional medicine practitioners that their typical patient comes to them after exhausting all western medicine options and they are desperate for an alternative because they are still sick. These traditional methods do not have to be an alternative; they can be integrated with a conventional regime and expand choices beyond western scientific care.
Cancer patients integrate acupuncture into their treatments to help combat nausea from chemotherapy, or yoga, Reiki and meditation to alleviate stress, fatigue and pain. They consult with naturopathic physicians to confirm the supplements they take are safe and appropriate when combined with their cancer drugs.
We have to broaden our definition of medicine from the conventional expectations that a 15 minute visit to our primary physician and a take-a-way prescription will bring us the solution to a chronic health problem.
As Amanda Enayati writes in her article ”Searching for a Medical Miracle” for CNN Health, “At some point we will recognize that our wonderful and already-overwhelmed doctors can’t be all things to all people, and we will seek and incorporate the advice of certified nutritionists, naturopaths, energy medicine practitioners and others into regimens for the treatment of disease.”
The primary physician should be educated and comfortable in referring patients to all healing traditions and modalities that may be appropriate for optimal health. If physicians are educated about the benefits of all integrative therapies they can be reliable sources for referrals. Physicians currently refer to the Urologist, ENT and Physical Therapist. They should be comfortable in referring to an Acupuncturist, Naturopath, Chiropractor and Reiki practitioner too.
By both patient and physician being educated about all available treatments, the approach to achieving health becomes a shared responsibility. Physicians and patients should educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of all therapies.
Medicine is not a one-size fits all health solution. No single individual is alike. We have to explore what combination of therapies would be best for our individual health condition and tailor our healthcare to our individual needs.
We should choose our healthcare with the same understanding and conviction as other important choices in our lives. We choose our friends and spouses that best support our own values, interests and happiness. We choose the mix of stocks, bonds and funds that support our investment goals. We choose the religion or way of life that best supports our personal spiritual needs. We also need to take this educated and individual approach in discovering the best therapy or modality to support our health, even those that exist outside the familiar and comfortable conventional treatments but can be very effective when combined with them or alone.
One solution to optimizing the integration of all therapies to healthcare is offering more venues for educating about them. Health education seminars, workshops and classes in the workplace and community are great platforms for this education. The more information people have the better choices they can make.
Another solution is already being implemented in a number of medical schools around the country – the addition of CAM courses to the medical school curriculum. This knowledge will help physicians adopt an integrative approach and partner with their patients to create a plan including ALL the very best treatments available to achieve health.
So let’s be done with the term “woo-woo” and call these effective therapies what they are – integrative healing therapies. Then more educating can occur and optimal health achieved.
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Health insurers are trying to encourage members to take better care of themselves by motivating them with extrinsic rewards. The Wallstreet Journal article found here discusses creative strategies insurers are implementing such as digital gaming, raffle prizes and awarding gift certificates. The intent is that these initiatives will help bring down insurance costs as members’ health improves.
Engagement is critical in changing behaviors to transform health and it is certainly more effective to encourage than to threaten. There is merit in the creative efforts of insurers in rewarding positive behaviors to encourage improvement.
But in order to sustain behavioral change there has to be more than external reward factors. To really move and engage individuals there is nothing more powerful than a live speaker who can educate and inspire.
The external rewards can get the momentum going but a live presentation can motivate participation long enough to experience the intrinsic benefit that will transform health. The intrinsic reward is achieving self-empowerment to create and maintain a healthier life.
Health is an individual choice so it is essential each individual have the knowledge of how to empower themselves to achieve and sustain optimal health. Once the experience of more energy, less stress, increased focus, more joy and overall well being occurs, the incentive will expand from winning a gift certificate to achieving the empowerment to adopt a healthier, happier life.
Each individual has to learn how to maintain health and how to support the body’s potential for self-healing. Education is critical in achieving wellness, and educating through a live experience is powerful.
Integrated Connections’ multi-disciplinary team of speakers empowers individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our speakers’ live presentations engage audiences and provide tools and real life examples of the impact educated health choices have on quality of life. Our speakers tailor their information to best fit the audience’s needs with a variety of topics and tools such as:
- Mindfulness Based Stress Management Techniques
- Nutritional Lectures for Healing, Sports and Weight Management
- Workshops on Yoga and Aromatherapy
- Presentations on Therapies that Support Optimal Health and Healing
Contact Integrated Connections so we can provide you with customized solutions to achieve wellness in your organization with our motivational speakers.