Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine Conference Draws over 700 Attendees

By John Weeks
To all accounts, the turnout of over 700 to the October 26-31, founding conference of the emerging Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) was a rousing success. But how did this organization, formed principally of MDs and DOs, succeed in its effort to create a more multidisciplinary gathering?

Figures released by executive director Nan Sudak, MD, were as follows: MD 492, DC 62, RN 28, PhD 21 (other), ND 20, LAc 11 and 87 “other.” The latter encompasses Ayurvedic medicine practitioners, nutritionists, pharmacists, physicians’ assistants and more. In addition, over 8 countries were represented, with a significant group from the Middle East.

AIHM invested in stimulating this multidisciplinary turnout through a program of selected and subsidized “ambassadors” from different disciplines. The emerging organization also held two pre-conference business meetings exploring significant collaborations with organizations linked to multiple integrative health and medicine professions.

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In a related move, AIHM continued to diversify its Board of Directors with a new chiropractor and two nurses. The board already included a naturopathic doctor, a licensed acupuncturist, and two individuals with close ongoing relationships with multiple non-MD/DO groups. (Alignment of interest disclosure: I am one of those latter two individuals on the AIHM Board.)

Comment: I am an interested party, as noted, and I have found the level of commitment to inclusion of this still MD/DO dominant organization remarkable. I’d judge the diversity of this conference good for a first time event in a very busy AIHM year. Some of us are betting on this being the best chance for creating a truly horizontally integrated and inclusive organization that can power-up our efforts to contribute to the move of our medical industry toward a system focusing on health creation. More to come.

This article originally appeared in The Integrator Blog.

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Author: John Weeks

Weeks’ Integrator Blog News & Reports and monthly Integrator Round-up are considered top sources on policy, business and academic developments for the field. He is also executive director of Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) where he directs the Center for Optimal Integration: Creating Health. He speaks widely on the policy, business and history of the movement for integrative health and medicine.


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