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TMCNet:  The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM) Announces Its Expansion to Larger International Academy Driven By Six Major Shifts in Healthcare

[January 24, 2014]

The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM) Announces Its Expansion to Larger International Academy Driven By Six Major Shifts in Healthcare

DULUTH, Minn. --(Business Wire)--

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 focused community.

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), the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC), the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC), Foundations 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 Collaborative.

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 and disciplines."

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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