Why Get an Education in Integrative and Functional Medicine?

Computer, pen and books

Getting an education in the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine is no easy feat.  In addition to the cost of the courses and time involved in studies, there is lost time from work and possibly expenses incurred from travel to attend courses.

So why get an education in the field? 

It Makes You a Better Clinician

Conventional medicine only allows the clinician enough time to treat symptoms and takes a one-size-fits all approach. It doesn’t provide the time or education necessary to support optimal health.  Integrative and Functional Medicine takes a personalized approach, providing the tools to get to the root cause of the illness and educating the patient on how to achieve optimal health.  Conventional medicine excels when it comes to surgeries, acute or emergency care, but fails to treat chronic illness. 

Dr. Yoon Hang John Kim, Director of Integrative Medicine at University of Kansas Medical Center, completed a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with University of Arizona and is also board certified in Medical Acupuncture.  When I asked Dr. Kim what value he found from his education and training he stated, “Studying Integrative and Functional Medicine is one thing every clinician can do to improve their ability to address the growing complexity of our patients needs.”

Dr. Kim continued to explain specifically how education in the field addresses this complexity, “Integrative and Functional Medicine can help to address the limitations of our current biomedical system. There is a rising epidemic of treatment resistant conditions including functional illnesses (IBS, CFS, Fibromyalgia), lifestyle illness (diabetes and obesity), autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and addiction. The determinants of these conditions are often complex which include genetic, biopsychosocial, and environmental issues.  Our medical training did not adequately train us for these conditions as our educational model stems from linear infectious disease model in early 20th century. Studying Integrative and Functional Medicine is crucial for those wanting to be the most effective clinician they can be.”

Unfortunately the system isn’t designed to educate on prevention or reversing chronic illness. For example, Physicians do not get adequate training in medical school on diet and nutrition and instead of prevention are taught an approach that focuses on medication and surgery.  

It’s Not a Trend

Over 100 years ago Thomas Edison stated “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”  That future is now.

Some people may refer to it as a trend, but Integrative and Functional Medicine has taken off in prestigious institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, which has an Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine Center as well as a Center for Functional Medicine.

The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health has over 70 members from highly esteemed academic medical centers.  The Consortium has a vision for “A transformed healthcare system promoting integrative medicine and health for all.”  Some of their members include Harvard, Yale, Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The government is catching on, and so are employers.

Employers are launching Functional Medicine clinics on their campuses and it’s evident from our job board that the number of Integrative and Functional Medicine private practices continues to grow.

Invest in Yourself – It Will Pay Off

Do you want to burnout on the conventional medicine treadmill? Or practice medicine that will provide a purpose filled life in which you are making a tremendous difference in the lives of others?

There are incredible benefits to working in a field in which your contribution is valued and gives you more options.

The number of job opportunities continues to increase.  When I first started a job board for the field about 3 years ago I launched with only 4 job postings.  In a short time we’ve had as many as 40 jobs posted in one month.

And you can still get value by taking your education back to a conventional setting.  Knowledge never goes wasted.  You have tools and skills you can share with patients in ANY setting.  I interviewed a Surgeon and Physician Assistant who provided examples of how they took their education from the field back to their conventional setting.

Your knowledge will benefit you personally too. Many of the candidates I interview got started in the field because they were trying to find health solutions for themself or a family member. Conventional medicine failed them so they looked for answers elsewhere and started researching the field.  Once they saw improvement in their personal situation they knew they had to practice medicine this way.

Getting education in the field puts you ahead of the pack, leading the movement to transform healthcare. Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves.”  Taking that first step towards education in Integrative and Functional Medicine is one of the smartest moves you can make.

It will make you a better clinician, give you a purpose-filled life, and provide more options in your career and life. It’s one of the smartest investments you can make.

For a comprehensive listing of jobs in the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine, or more information on our placement and consulting services, visit www.integratedconnects.com.

Find additional guidance and support on our Integrated Connections Academy which hosts our eCourses on crafting your Cover Letter and CV and preparing for your interview. Our courses are designed specifically for professionals preparing for in the field of Integrative, Lifestyle and Functional Medicine.