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by Lisa Marshall
envisioning
the future of
HEALTHCARE
As a tie-dye-clad, free-spirited medical student of the ’60s with a fascination for botanical remedies, Chi-
nese medicine and mind-body healing, young Andrew Weil soon became disheartened by the conventional
approach to medicine as practiced in the West. “I was dismayed at the lack of connection with the natural
world, the complete ignorance about botanicals and the utter absence of interest in any mind-body connec-
tion,” recalls Dr. Weil, who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1968 as a medical doctor, with no
intention to ever practice medicine. “I left there completely unprepared to help people stay well. I got very
discouraged.”
Now, 40 years later, this bestselling author, internationally renowned physician and founder of the Arizona
Center for Integrative Medicine has channeled his discontent into action. Weil is among those pioneering a
burgeoning new kind of medicine that many insist holds the answer to our nation’s healthcare woes.
I
ntegrative medicine, a thoughtful blend of conventional fulness-based stress reduction. As of this year, eight major
medicine, common sense prevention and modalities medical schools require that students take part in a 250-hour
once dubbed alternative, such as acupuncture, medita- integrative medicine curriculum as part of their residency.
tion, breath work and dietary supplements, has caught on According to the American Hospital Association, 16 percent
widely from coast to coast in the past decade, both among of hospitals, including medical facilities at Harvard and Duke
consumers and once-skeptical healthcare practitioners. The universities, now feature integrative medicine centers. Of
Association of American Medical Colleges reports that 113 those that don’t, 24 percent plan to offer them in the future.
of the nation’s 126 medical schools now include discussion In February 2009, the Institute of Medicine, once leery of all
of complementary and alternative therapies in conventional things alternative, held a momentous two-day summit, Inte-
medical courses. Seventy-seven offer standalone electives in grative Medicine and the Health of the Public, inviting 600
such approaches as traditional Chinese medicine and mind- policymakers and practitioners to explore where this new
22 Oakland, Macomb, Livingston & St. Clair, MI
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