Integrative Medicine Clinicians 2004

The Annie Appleseed Project was able to participate in a table at this conference. Many practitioners from around the country took our literature handouts. Some commented that they knew of our website.

Successful First Integrative Medicine Conference Helps to Build Community and Evolve New Healing Paradigm

By Louis Lento, Managing Editor Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal

The first Integrative Medicine Clinician’s Conference and Natural Healthcare Expo in Miami this past April drew over 300 attendees.

Those who attended, exhibited, and presented took a leap of faith to help create a new educational venue for the field, and the reaction from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

Said Marie C. Shafe, EdD, PhD, “I have been attending CAM seminars for over 15 years from ACAM to IFM and this was one of the best! There were opportunities for enhancement of knowledge and competencies, as well as for networking with like-minded professionals.

This, plus the emphasis on the latest research and practice and support by exhibitors, made this a must-attend conference.”

The educational goals of the conference were very-well met, with 88% of attendees surveyed ranking achievement of those goals as either excellent (69%) or good (19%).

Some of the learning objectives included: identifying the use patterns, evidence base, and expected clinical results of the 10 most-commonly used herbs; identifying common and potentially dangerous drug/herb/nutrient interactions or possibilities for interaction; understanding the latest nutrition research; assessing product quality and safety; working with CAM providers; articulating a protocol for the co-management of the most common diseases; and more.

“The conference was designed around three themes: education, evolution, and collaboration,” said Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, editor-in-chief of Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, president emeritus of Bastyr University, and course director for the conference.

“After my conversations with several of the attendees and after sitting in on a focus group of journal subscribers who expressed their concerns, I would add a fourth theme: community.

The need for community became quickly apparent to me as practitioners asked me questions such as: ‘Who is our peer group?’ ‘How do we learn the basics of integrative medicine practice?’ ‘How do we advance our training once we have the basics?’ ‘Who do I call for advice on my difficult or unresponsive patients?”

Professional Diversity of Clinician-Attendees

Of particular interest was the diverse make-up of the attendees—a good balance of conventional and CAM professionals and practitioners. Medical and osteopathic doctors made up 44%, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants (17%); CAM professionals (15%); registered dieticians and nutritionists (12%); PhDs (7%); and “Other” (4%).

The conference provided the opportunity for practitioners to meet like-minded, receptive clinicians and to develop professional relationships.

The 29 speakers, mostly collaborative pairs of conventional and CAM doctors (including MDs, NDs, and other health professionals), delivered clinically-useful and practical presentations.

Some of these presentations covered integrative protocols for treating such diseases as Diabetes (Mick Lyon, MD, and Michael Murray, ND); Hyperlipidemia (Cindy Breed, ND, and Suzanne Laurel, DO); Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Deborah Metzger, MD, PhD, and Darin Ingels, ND); and Cancer (Timothy C. Birdsall, ND, and Bernard Eden, MD).

Future Conference Goals

A major focus of the conference was to help evolve the conceptual basis of this new paradigm of healing. The presenters’ co-management protocols were of great value to the clinician-attendees and generated considerable praise.

Said Dr. Pizzorno, “A couple of things I would like to do differently for the next conference is create a better forum for the discussion of philosophy and concepts, rather than simply sticking to a standard didactic mode of education, and provide more opportunities for community-building.”

It is highly anticipated that the Integrative Medicine Clinician’s Conference will become not only a forum for collaboration and advancement of the conceptual basis of this medicine, but also a focus for establishing of a community of like-minded physicians, practitioners, educators, and researchers.

Said Carlos Reynes, MD, “This conference combined up-to-date, relevant topics based on scientific research presented by excellent, well-known, respected ‘teachers’ in the field of integrative medicine.”

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Conference on Intergrative Medicine

Ann Fonfa's report on April, 2004 event in Miami


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