Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine reaching 'tipping point'

The Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society, is reaching critical mass toward sustaining its mission.

The Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine's vision is: "To provide leadership for the transformation of global healthcare toward compassionate and caring models, supported by law and social policy, that bridge our physical, psychological and spiritual selves."

The Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine serves as a reliable forum for investigation and recommendations regarding the legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and integrative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional medicine. To that end, the Institute collaborates with scholars and organizations worldwide in developing models of health care that:

* draw on and respect our planetary heritage of healing;

* acknowledge the rights, interests, and needs of patients and families;

* understand health and healing as spiritual and emotional as well as physical journeys; and

* regard human transformation as central to a compassionate, caring healthcare system.

Last year, the Institute received generous support from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation, St. Joseph, Michigan, of a one-year challenge grant to "help create a think tank of international reputation for law and policy in integrative health care," and a matching grant from the Helen M. and Annetta E. Himmelfarb Foundation.

The funding supported a number of projects, including completion of a book, Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, published by the University of North Carolina Press.

The Institute is presently pursuing ongoing development efforts aimed at creating a sustainable series of programs, including fellowships, seminars, public lectures, and resources for clinicians, hospitals, health care educational organizations, and government executives and agencies.

Institute personnel have been leaders in policy development concerning complementary and integrative medicine. They have been involved not only in consistent scholarly publication on topics of law, regulation, ethics, and policy in the field, but also in forwarding the field through rendering legal advice to clients (in private practice and in pro bono projects), drafting legislation, and commenting on proposed regulatory activities.

For example, among other activities, Advisory Board member Alan Dumoff, JD played a key role in drafting and lobbying for Maryland's first massage therapy statute, and also in working on the Hill toward amendment of the Kennedy-Kassenbaum legislation on specific area pertinent to reimbursement for complementary care.

Advisory Board member Sherman Cohn, JD has a long-standing history of developing legislation for acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine. A Board member of the National Acupuncture Foundation, Professor Cohn's involvement goes back to the early days of acupuncture's emergence as a profession in the U.S.

Michael H. Cohen, JD has participated in key public policy projects in integrative medicine, including:

* Serving as Consultant to Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Study of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

* Participating in drafting by the Federation of State Medical Boards of Model Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Medical Practice.

* Helping to advise the Massachusetts Special Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medical Practitioners.

* Serving on the Research Advisory Council for the Religion, Health and Healing Initiative, at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School.

Individuals interested in contributing to the Institute through donation or otherwise should contact Michael H. Cohen, President.

Note: Institute funding in 2005 enabled a variety of additional educational and research and writing projects, including:

· Cohen MH, Kemper KJ, Stevens L, Hashimoto D, Gilmour J, Pediatric use of complementary therapies: ethical and policy choices. Pediatrics. Electronic Pages.2005; 116: e568 - e575.

· Cohen MH. Legal, ethical, and policy issues in complementary and alternative medicine. In: Bioethics for Clinicians (Viens, A, editor). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press [in press, 2006].

· Cohen MH. Legal and ethical issues relating to use of complementary therapies in pediatric hematology/oncology. J Ped Hematology/Oncology 2006; in press.

· Cohen MH. Legal issues in integrative health care. In: Integrative cardiology. McGraw-Hill (Vogel JH & Krucoff MS, editors). New York: McGraw-Hill, in press;2006.

· Cohen, MH. Some implications of integrative health care for religion, psychology, and the humanities. In: Religion and psychology (Frank Columbus, ed.). Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.; 2006;pp.39-52.

· Cohen MH. Legal and ethical issues in integrative pain management. In: Integrative Pain Medicine: The Science and Practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pain Management (Audette, JF & Bailey A, editors). Totowa, NJ: Humana Press [in press, 2006].

· Cohen, MH. Legal and ethical issues regarding evidence-based inclusion of complementary, alternative, and integrative medical therapies. In: The desktop guide to complementary and alternative medicine: an evidence-based approach (Ernst, EE, et al, editors). New York: Mosby, Inc.; 511-512 [in press, 2006].

· Cohen MH, Schouten R. Legal issues affecting integration of complementary therapies into mental health care. In: [American Psychiatric Association, in press;2006].

The Institute's accomplishments greatly expanded influence of the Institute on and attention to its activities by members of the public, as well as clinicians, of important legal and policy issues in complementary medicine. The educational work has continuing benefits to the participants, and the scholarly works are resources of enduring benefit to the community, and can be applied in hospitals and health care institutions nationwide.

It is clear that a new field is being developed. We have created a think tank of international reputation for law and policy in integrative health care, creating scholarly works and programs of lasting value. Now the hope is to secure sufficient philanthropic support to help build this field on the nonprofit basis envisioned.