The University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine Earns 'Center of Excellence' Designation

Friday, June 13, 2008 General News
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TUCSON, Ariz., June 12 The Arizona Board of Regentsrecently conferred Center of Excellence status on The University of ArizonaCollege of Medicine Program in Integrative Medicine -- a move that reaffirmsthe positive impact integrative medicine has had on health-care systemtransformation.

Now known as the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM), theprogram underwent an intensive evaluation process and earned unanimousendorsements from UA health sciences program directors and college deans. Thenew designation formally recognizes the center's achievements in the fieldover the past 14 years, and its status as the world leader in integrativemedical education.

Founded in 1994 by internationally renowned author and integrativemedicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicinejoins nine other Centers of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine.

"Having our work recognized in this way is among our greatestaccomplishments to date," Dr. Weil said. "The Center of Excellencedesignation formally recognizes us as an innovator in educating the nextgeneration of physicians and health-care professionals. Our challenge now isto remain at the forefront of innovation so as to make integrative medicineavailable to everyone, regardless of economic or geographic limitation."

UA President Robert N. Shelton lauded the Regents' decision, saying, "Thisformal designation acknowledges that the Arizona Center for IntegrativeMedicine is a respected and significant voice within the University, andindeed throughout the global health-care community.

"What began as a small, pioneering program has now inspired thedevelopment of scores of similar programs across the country, anothermanifestation of the University's innovation and leadership in the healthsciences arena."

Since its founding, the center has created five integrative medicinefellowships, received more than $7 million in federal funding and graduatednearly 300 integrative medicine fellows. Many of these fellows are nowacademic leaders in other prestigious centers, including The Johns HopkinsUniversity, Stanford University, Duke University, Tufts University, TheUniversity of Wisconsin, and the University of Maryland.

The Center of Excellence designation will enhance the center's ability tocourt top-tier faculty and inspire a new era of program growth -- led by thecenter's most ambitious program to date: the Integrative Medicine inResidency (IMR). The center's integrative medicine curriculum soon will beincorporated into standard three-year family medicine residency programsacross the nation. Residents will learn to incorporate integrative medicineconcepts into their practices, including patient-centered care techniques thatfacilitate lifestyle change.

Through funding raised from both public and private sources, an IMR pilotprogram will be launched in July at eight family medicine residency programsnationwide, including the UA; Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City;Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C.; Maine Medical Center, Portland,Maine; Maine-Dartmouth, Augusta, Maine; University of Connecticut, Storrs,Conn.; Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minn.; and the Universityof Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

"This will be the first program in the nation to create a requiredcurriculum in integrative medicine for physicians during residency," saidVictoria Maizes, MD, executive director of the Arizona Center for IntegrativeMedicine. "Over the next 10 years, development of IMR into the national modelfor residency education is a major goal for the center. We will graduallymove beyond primary care into subspecialty training."

Dr. Shelton added, "Through the center's leadership in education andresearch, the role that integrative medicine plays in health-caretransformation has been revealed in exciting new wa

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