OHSU Among First to Incorporate Integrative Medicine

04/05/04    Portland, Ore.

OHSU Department of Family Medicine joins consortium to train residents in integrative medicine

The Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine is one of six medical schools nationwide to incorporate the philosophy and practice of integrative medicine into its family medicine education program.

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the University of Arizona School of Medicine a grant to develop a national consortium of six training centers to implement a four-year training program that teaches family medicine residents to consider all appropriate therapies, both conventional and integrative, in treating patients.

 "Integrative medicine is defined as healing-oriented medicine and takes into account the whole person -- body, mind and spirit, as well as all aspects of lifestyle," said Wendy Kohatsu, M.D., co-director of the OHSU Integrative Family Medicine Program. "Our program blends nutrition counseling, mind/body wellness, stress management, spirituality and botanicals into the traditional family medicine practice." Two residents, Deirdre Donovan, M.D., and Mari Walsh, M.D., currently are enrolled in the program.

The new curriculum is based on a model created by internationally acclaimed integrative medicine guru Andrew Weil, M.D. His Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona was the first in the nation to offer a fellowship in integrative medicine. Kohatsu, also an assistant professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine, was among the first four phyicians to complete an integrative medicine fellowship under Weil in 1999.

Meg Hayes, M.D., co-director of the Integrative Family Medicine Program at OHSU and medical director of OHSU Family Medicine at Marquam Hill, says the new integrative family medicine program takes the very best of conventional medicine and extends it. "We haven't thrown out the CTs, the X-rays or the drugs. Rather, we've expanded the scope of our practice and provided our patients the kind of high-tech, high-touch care they need and highly value." Hayes also is an assistant professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. She is studying the use of acupuncture in treating hot flashes in men with prostate cancer.

Six family medicine training sites have joined the consortium: OHSU, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Middlesex Hospital Family Practice Residency Program, University of Arizona College of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin.

The OHSU School of Medicine ranks No. 2 in the nation among America's 125 medical schools for its primary care education program; its Department of Family Medicine ranks No. 3, according to the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools 2005."

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