Consortium of Academic Medical Centers for Integrative Medicine in the USA

The importance of integrative medicine is growing continuously in the US. This is evident in the changing attitudes of major universities in the United States and the long-term trend towards integrating CAM into conventional healthcare. In 2010, the following information was published in the article Current Issues Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States:

“In recognition of the widespread popularity of CAM, leading academic institutions are increasingly incorporating CAM into medical education, clinical practice, and research. A national Consortium of Academic Medical Centers for Integrative Medicine has been formed, composed of 42 academic centers whose goal is to advocate and foster research on CAM and integrative medicine. With support from the federal government, medical and nursing schools are incorporating lessons about CAM and dietary supplements into the education and training of physicians and nurses. For example, the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has medical residency programs in hospitals nationwide. The University of Minnesota also offers an elective course in alternative healing methods at a Hawaiian medical center. Although Harvard University does not claim to advocate or teach alternative medicine, students there are offered electives in mind-body medicine.” (212)

The Consortium of Academic Medical Centers for Integrative Medicine was established in Michigan in July 1999. Its founding members were the Integrative Medicine centres at the following eight universities: Duke University, Harvard University, Stanford University, San Francisco University of California, Arizona University, Maryland University, University of Massachusetts, and University of Minnesota. All the centres had previous experience in education, clinical care and research in this field and received significant support from the universities. The aim was to coordinate current developments and promote mutual awareness and cooperation within the field. The long-term vision was to contribute to creating a new paradigm for modern medicine, a paradigm that will truly integrate the best approaches to healthcare at all levels. Many other academic medical centres have since joined the consortium. Today, more than 70 academic medical centres across North America have joined, whereas in 2002 it still only had 11 members. Working groups meet regularly to develop curricula and research standards for integrative medicine, as well as to work on models for integrating CAM methods into clinical healthcare. (213)