Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with John Weeks
I’m super honored and grateful that you decided to join me and read this episode where we are talking about the evolution of integrative healthcare and its influence on pain care. As I was putting together the pieces of the podcast, I realized that the word integrative and integrative health is one that’s thrown around with not on a very solid definition. Integrative healthcare is simply an individualized holistic and evidence-based approach to healthcare as well as pain care. A true integrative practitioner can help you improve not only your physical health but also your mental as well as your spiritual well-being. True integrative healthcare consists of a comprehensive physical examination, a review of your medical records and laboratory tests, a thorough discussion about education regarding lifestyle management behavioral modification, and if needed a referral or recommendation to services such acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition, counseling, yoga, mindfulness. There are many types of practitioners and interventions that fall under the umbrella of integrative healthcare.
Here to speak to us about the evolution and some of the politics behind integrative healthcare is John Weeks. John has worked in this field for more than 35 years as a writer, speaker, organizer and as a consultant. Since the mid-1990s, John has consulted on the integration with various parties including the NIH, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, multiple insurance companies, hospitals and of course, professional associations and academic organization. Four institutions have granted him an honorary doctorate for his groundbreaking work and forward-thinking work in the field of integrative medicine. He’s the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine which covers the paradigm, practice and policy advances that are happening in integrative healthcare. John has been in this field for a long time. He is a wealth of information. I really enjoyed talking to him about the evolution of integrative healthcare and especially some of the politics with regard to how we insert an integrative health model within the existing biomedical model. I know you’re going to enjoy this episode. Make sure you share it with your friends and family. Sit back, relax, and let’s meet John Weeks.
Watch the episode here:
The Evolution And Controversy Of Integrative Health For Chronic Pain with John Weeks
John, welcome to the show. I’m excited to talk to you.
I’m glad to be here with you, Joe. I’m looking forward to it.
We’re talking about integrative health and integrative medicine more and more on this show. This show helps support both practitioners and people with chronic pains. Integrative health has a very important role in that and a growing role. I know you’ve been involved in integrative medicine and health for many years as an advocate and an educator. It’s a long time to be involved in. Tell me how you got your start.
It’s not quite 50 but it feels that way. I’ll tell a story that goes back 50 years, but I got involved about 35 years ago. I’ll tell the story of its evolution that goes back to the ‘60s, which is also when I was coming of age. My start began not with a passion for healthcare or medicine or due to a specific condition of my own, which frequently what it counts for a lot of people getting involved. I was asked about interest in a job in a place that I checked out that appeared to be promoting a set of values that I liked. It was called John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine. It’s now Bastyr University. I’ve been working in politics and as a journalist in an advocacy role.
The set of values that I saw, the environment, naturopathic flung there, of respecting the whole person but also respecting all of our tools from the most scientific rationale to the intuitive and living in ambiguity with all of those influences. The respect for natural process as stewardship of natural process, male and female energies, both being appreciated. Much of this was thoroughly aligned with what I’ve been devoting my work as an advocate and organizer too. I signed on to work with Bastyr in 1983 and spent a decade with the naturopathic doctors. Since ‘93, I’ve been in this for many years in this broader world that opened up to us that was a surprise. We were just shooting for it all those years and lo and behold, opportunities open to us.
How do you describe integrative medicine and integrative medical health? How would you describe it to people when they ask about it? It’s one of those things people say, “What is integrative health? Does it mean a physician that’s trained traditionally but maybe also does nutrition? Is it a certain philosophy?” How would you describe it to people?
We’ve been caught up in language issues forever in this field. There are politics involved in language choices. The integrative medicine as a term was invented by academic medical doctors who were trying to promote a new way of medicine that included what they called the best of alternative and complementary therapies with Western biomedicine. There are people from the chiropractic, naturopathic, acupuncture fields who were the alternatives in the ‘80s who looked at this very negatively like it was a massive co-optation of what they were doing and were mistrustful about it. Increasingly, the term is being used by non-medical doctors. Uneasily still by a lot of people in the other fields because they feel like it’s a term that’s more owned by medical doctors.
At its best, it is integrating the best of and it’s middling. It asserts biomedicine first off and hangs complementary things on as Christmas ornaments when many of us believe you need to question the biomedical model more deeply and ask if you’re targeting, first of all, health that’s patient-centered and then figuring out what tools go with it. You don’t start with biomedicine, then if these don’t work well or if they failed, let’s add some other things or try some other things. This, unfortunately, is what happens with a lot of the integrative medicine out there. There are many medical doctors who are deeply aligned with this whole paradigm thinking and are fostering some traditional. We can get to the VA later but it’s a classic example of a deep paradigm shift led my medical docs.
Challenging the biomedical model is something that this show embraces because we talk about pain from a biopsychosocial perspective. Once you open things up to more of that biopsychosocial perspective, you’re opening up that can of worms to a lot of other different types of interventions like you mentioned traditional interventions as well as complementary and alternative medicine interventions. When I look at pain care back many years, there was such a thing as integrative pain care in the United States. It was more in hospitals but they were multi-disciplines under one roof that are providing care. Some of those still exist but there’s not a whole lot that exists. It’s almost like integrative medicine neither took some importance from that or evolve from that or maybe filled the gap for what’s missing there.
There are two things. First, to your question, I’m thinking about the years and what happened to those models. One of the things that happened was opioids. Many years ago, we started going head over heels in the US to a point where somewhere between 80% and 95% of the world’s opioids are here. The main argument that we’d backed is we don’t need opioids because somehow human beings in the rest of the world seem to get along without them. Some of what happened to effort to do team care were it was supplanted with this phenomenal cure. When you mentioned the biopsychosocial and viral model, which they now tag on to the end of it. It is a very familiar, holistic, whole person model. Years ago, I was trying to look at how a person can get a hold of that model and be very different in practice than an integrative practitioner.Integrative medicine fits into the biopsychosocial model of pain care! Click To Tweet
What I realized from, and this was from a naturopathic perspective, I did this analysis in the early ‘90s, there’s not a belief in the Vis medicatrix naturae as the naturopaths call it the healing power of nature. It is the guide star for quality naturopathic practice. Your job first off is to figure out what’s the natural process here? How do I get involved with that? How do I see if I’m suppressing, I’m working against the natural process and I need to maybe think about the adverse consequences of my suppression? That’s the guiding image and it’s not in the biopsychosocial and viral model. They need to have nature in there somewhere. It’s a big difference. I imagine you’ve thought about it because of the description of the biopsychosocial and viral model. Who wouldn’t like it and yet people can have it and be incredibly limited in their focus clinically.
There’s a lot under the umbrella of the biopsychosocial model. There may be a risk that if a practitioner is doing maybe two interventions or as they learned to integrate things that they’re doing a complete biopsychosocial intervention or working from that perspective. It’s a difficult thing to measure because we haven’t worked through that in clinical practice. It hasn’t worked its way through the research just yet on how to do that. Oftentimes, patients especially with chronic pain, can be complex and require a lot of different types of intervention. More and more physical therapists are moving toward this integrative approach to medicine. In fact, we probably had embraced it decades ago. If you look at our practice, all the different types of modalities that we involve in our practice is very similar to what a chiropractor uses in other ways. Now, physical therapists are trying to look into things like needling, which is similar to acupuncture, nutrition and function nutrition. They are starting to work all those things into practice. Do you see physical therapists as having a role in integrative medical health?
Clearly, I’m part of the teams and they are an integrative health light and integrative health expanded. It’s a step in the right direction when you move from an MD-only practice to one that is very consciously linked to behavioral medicine and linked to PT and trying to use on those and nurses. Frankly, there will be a dietitian that will be linked to that. That dietician will not be as progressive in their views about what might be done with nutrition than a certified nutritionist of some kind. Whenever there are new pain guidelines that come out, I always check to see who’s listed. Because of my background, I have this single issue voting. I go in and I look to see what are the complementary and alternative types of practices that are noted in. Typically, PT and behavioral medicine, cognitive behavioral therapy will be in the more inclusive views. Beyond that is spinal manipulative therapies and acupuncture, massage, yoga, mind-bodies, stress reduction. It’s definitely a key part of the practical mix. I don’t know the field that well. Honestly, I’ve been treated but I expect that there are some very expensive physical therapy practices and there are some very limited physical therapy practices.
That’s true across healthcare. I read a lot of the same studies that you’re reading when they talk about, who should be at the table with regards to pain care. For the most part, PTs are there. Sometimes they’re not at the table in a lot of these conversations, depending on who’s running this study and who are looking at the data. It’s awesome how nutrition is not often in those conversations at all, have you seen that in your research as well?
We were talking once with my relationship with JACM, the journal about doing a systematic review about nutrition and pain, but the realization was they’re probably only a couple of supplement studies. There is not a lot there and everybody who works holistically as a practitioner will know that part of what you eat can influence pain level and your relationship to pain. The shape of your body, which is related to them and what you eat, can have a significant influence on what your pain levels are. It’s remarkable that they’re not there at the table more often. There are a lot of negatively remarkable things one might say about the medical industry that produces most of the services that we consume.
You’ve done a lot of writing about integrative medicine and you start to talk about it and you frame it as convergence. Discuss why convergence.
It’s a convergent time for those of us who have been outside of the mainstream of medical practice. Convergence comes from two directions. Once integrative medicine started blessing the complementary therapies in the mid-‘90s. There was this effort to begin to bring these practices into the mainstream. It’s more research at the NIH. That fostered a type of convergence but we needed receptivity in conventional medicine. What we’ve learned on the street was that while we’re naive, we believe that now that we’re talking to each other, they’ll look at us and say, “If you’re more preventative in your approach and you can keep him from needing certain drugs that have adverse effects or need surgeries, you can help save money. Let’s start exploring how to work you into our protocols.”
It wasn’t happening. What we’ve realized was that the dominant energy in the so-called healthcare system was an industrial production volume-oriented energy. It doesn’t like to save. A large hospital which lives off of its tertiary care providers counts how many coronary artery bypass grafts and how many stents they put in. If you put in a lot, it’s a good year. Dean Ornish came around with an integrative program and he was saying, “You don’t need to put in so many,” and that was tough and it continues to be. What the convergence piece is that we saw it as the people with Obama care, the end to these multiple cares. A way of paying differently for services so you’re paying people more for health than simply for the production of services.
When that started to happen, then the conversation began to open where hospitals and delivery organization were saying, “How can we use these integrative approaches?” If we want to create health, they began to ask this question. That was very much a part of our lives in the ‘80s. That’s why consumers were saying, “I want an alternative. All what these guys are doing is they are suppressing what’s going on. I don’t like the adverse effects. I don’t like living with these drugs.” These acupuncture, chiropractors and center are saying, “We are health focused.” We began to see that language inside of leaders of the mainstream medical delivery and that’s when the dialogue began to deepen.
That turn toward values-based medicine is what started to turn it for us.
Truly and always behind that was to err is human. This study came out in 1999 that showed that regular medicine was killing 100,000 people a year. It caused a startling wake-up and the best people in regular medicine were like, “We’ve got to stop that.” That started this dialogue towards value and identifying value strategies for creating value. It’s keeping and it’s continuing to ensure to this day. By 2012 to 2013, they started talking about creating health and saluted Genesis. They began to come into that dialogue. These are the terms and concepts that are the whole paradigm shift that we’ve grown up with for years. That’s the convergence.
In our political climate because the values-based medicine was brought up during probably the Obama campaign if I remember correctly. Has that changed with the new administration? How has it progressed or has it progressed?
The values-based concept, the Clinton reform was a values-based reform. It was an attempt to do it. The HMO is a values-based method in its way. That’s the attention they pushed you towards health maintenance rather than production services. It changes the payment structure and then dialogue is deeper in the culture than the politics. A lot of large employers are looking at value. They’re driving an ongoing conversation with insurers and with delivery organizations. It doesn’t have to do with who’s elected, but the fact that there’s an administration that has only been destructive relative to systems and efforts to create models for doing things differently has slowed the process.
As I reported in my blog, it effectively killed a rather brilliant integrative medical home that was being piloted in Maryland. Obama’s surgeon general visited because it was doing exactly what we’ve imagined. It was providing team-based integrative services with medical doctors. I don’t know if they had PTs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had chiropractors, acupuncturists, nurses, nutritionist. They cost a little more for their primary care, but their ER visits were down, their hospital visits were down, their drug use was down. They were down on all of these things that not only are in the moment cost saving, but they’re linked to long-term cost. Unfortunately, because they couldn’t get paid on a values-based way because that process has slowed down, they weren’t able to survive and they shut their doors. It’s a very sad thing.
Do you think the work being done at the Cleveland Clinic will start to move that in a different direction?
The Cleveland Clinic model is great and there’s a development on itself. Your audience doesn’t know that model. It comes out as functional medicine, which is a version of integrative medicine. In fact, a lot of the founding energy in functional medicine is naturopathic medicine from the people who staffed it. Joe Pizzorno’s involvement and Jeff Bland who was on the founding board when I was working there at the time. There’s a lot of closeness in this. Functional medicine has gone down in some way. What they started at Cleveland Clinic, the model was a functional medicine medical doctor, a health coach and a nutritionist. That was it. It was team-based, individualized care that they then realize they needed to involve behavioral medicine. They have the fourth part of that unit. The thing that’s interesting is we learned it in Integrative Health Symposium in February. They had such a backlog of people who wanted to get in that they created a group delivered service program.
There was functional medicine training, an education in a group format. The early data are they are moving people positively more rapidly in the group services than the one-to-one services. The one-to-one services are moving pain people rapidly than regular care. It’s not that the one-to-one services aren’t being successful, but the group services were fascinating to hear this. I think that’s wild finding so far at Cleveland Clinic, but to answer your question, they’re doing a great job there inside of that model to show how different kinds of team can make a big difference and then gathering data. We’re looking forward to them reporting and out more.
I was at that lecture, the same lecture you’re at where they talked about that model. You’re right. The group part of that is fascinating both from a cost containment perspective as well as the ability to reach and treat more people. Everyone knows we have a crisis of many different health conditions that are all converging at once, which puts a tremendous strain on the healthcare system, a tremendous strain on the government, the individual providers. The group is interesting to me. Are there any other groups that you’re aware of where they’re doing innovative work like that?
It’s right up in my alley and I’ll ask you a question at the end which is who in PT is working more with groups? We are through you JACM, which is the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. We’re reframing it around Paradigm in Practice and Policy Advancing Integrative Health for the Modern Era. We have a special issue that we’re publishing in July on movements where we’ve been working with a couple of the integrative medicine group visit leaders from Boston Medical Center, Paula Gardiner and UCSF, Maria Chao as guest editors. We have been drawing an interesting set of papers which are being used in many environments. I personally believe that it is only the bias of our entire education system towards individual care that is keeping us from the rational use and the scientifically appropriate use.
We know that our biggest issues are chronic disease-related and that chronic disease is linked to choices we make in our lives, whether that’s diet, stress, exercise, community, all of these issues. We know that moving people to make different choices is about engagement and that adults like to learn in groups. It’s not only the most efficient way to get to most people, but it’s also the best use of a practitioner to allow them to work with a group. Instead of repeating themselves a hundred times with the same information. Who doesn’t know an integrative provider who has said, “I have to go do that rap again.” Why don’t you do that rap to a larger group of people? It’s the entire science behind the use of groups and that’s economics. The science behind the way adults learn points us in that direction as the core of a trend for the medical system.
If we truly follow the evidence, people will get to know that once they have something that’s chronic, the core and process will be in a group. They’ll only use individual practitioners as deemed necessary and it will be necessary. It’s a reframe that to deal with this issue is not to sit back and ask an expert to come to me and heal me. It’s to be engaged in a process with a community of people that’s going to support me and I’m going to support them in living differently. We have a long way to go to break those barriers and those barriers are not in just allopathic biomedicine. Those barriers are with acupuncture, with naturopathic doctors and getting to let that little power spot of your time transitioning to the group environment.
There are group pain classes. There are group pain education programs that exist. There are less in the United States of America. They are quite common in other countries where group certification programs are in place. They are either taught by physical therapists or they’re taught by physical therapists and psychologists or physical therapists and nurses. We have a long way to go there. I agree with you 100% that we should be doing things like this in groups, especially knowing we can leverage mediums like this where we’re talking over video. You can have more than one person and people can do this from the comfort of their home or whatever. I’ve run group courses online both from an integrative perspective as well as behavioral medicine perspective. They’re exciting, great and people love them. There’s power in groups that you don’t get through in an individual intervention with someone. Coming back to the US again and looking at our healthcare system with regard to insurance.
Do you mean to say our medical industry?
Yeah, you mentioned it before on this show and it’s fun to talk to you, John, because I can be a little more political. Usually, I’m talking to people who are researchers and we’re not talking politics, but at times, I like to talk politics. There are a lot of politics involved in these issues. You talked about the industrialized medical complex which we have. In my mind, when you say industrial, I get this vision in my mind of big factories churning out pills and big medical institutions that are looking at how many interventions were done that day. We know that this has led us to a place where the GDP with regard to healthcare is almost 20%. It’s more than any other nation in the world. We’re right up against the back of the Baby Boomers coming into our healthcare system and starting to use all these resources and some of them are not very healthy. Who’s going to pay for all this? Talk to me about payers and talk to me about where integrative medical health fits into either a private insurance model or into a government Medicare model.
We all need to know about this and the lessons are they’re not easy to take in. The first one is that everybody thinks an insurance company would like to pay less. They’re in the savings so they are our friends. The insurance company works on two cycles. One of them is the premium year, which is once you’ve paid your money, they’d like to spend as little as possible. They know that their lifeblood is on a longer cycle. If costs go up, they go to the State Insurance Commissioner that’s in Washington. You’ve got some structure in the state and you say, “I’m sorry, I need to charge more because the costs are higher. We grant the insured 20%.” It’s the 80/20 Rule. 20% for their administration, their profit and then it fluctuates, but the administration profit is marketing.
If that is 20% of $15,000, it’s a certain amount. If it’s 20% of $3,000, that’s a lesser amount. What is their self-interest? It was hard for us to learn that the insurer like costs to go up because they know on their long game, they’re financial institutions fundamentally. They’re not healthcare institutions. Their businesses are finance businesses and they make money on that float. If you’re floating off of $3,000 instead of $600, that’s 20% of $3,000, they are better off. First off, you’ve got to know that the insurance company is not a friend of health. Why would you want to have a private insurance company as part of your system? I’ll say that with a caveat. It looks like in Germany and in Israel, they have a relationship with their insurers. They’re domesticated to be service providers rather than just ramp at financial institutions, which is what’s more or less the case here with a few exceptions.
In those countries, are they private insurers or are they public? In the United States of America, insurance companies are publicly traded companies.
I can’t tell you the detail on it. There are models for reform. This gets in the VA conversations, the difference between a single payer, Medicare for all, is that you’ve got mixed incentives in that environment. The payer may be a single payer that has all that clout now, but it’s still paying a hospital that is working on these incentives to feed its specialist. They do as many things as possible and keep their people employed and keep those rather remarkable administrative salaries as high as they are. If you look at the Veterans Administration, which is where we’re seeing our most significant integrative reform taking place. There, you’re on the UK model where you not only have a single payer, but you have employed practitioners.
In that environment, you have an opportunity to control all of it. At that point, you can say, for instance, as I do in the VA, “All of our medical doctors shall take this course on complementary therapies.” Suddenly within a year or so, everybody knows something about them. In the US, it’s like, “I can’t force my doctors to do that.” You’re fighting in this forever trying to create some knowledge among the bodies of people who historically have been quite prejudiced against what you’re trying to teach them. In our VA, we had people at the top decree that doctors shall learn about integrative modalities and said, “We’re going to empower as they did.” You’ve heard Tracy Gaudet speak I imagine. For your audience, if they don’t know who Tracy Gaudet is, she’s a medical doctor many of us knew and worked with for years. She got her chops learning to think integratively. When the VA set up an Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, who did they choose to run it? An integrative medical doctor who was thinking integratively from a health focus about health creation as a core of her being.
Tracy is one of these people who are not biomedically focused as a medical. She has truly taken her vision and the VA’s vision of whole health beyond most of the integrative medicine people and the CAM people. They’ve set up the system where they are trying to move as much care out into the communities. They’re trying to work on an empowerment model. They’re working on the peer training model. They realized that health coaches are valuable. There aren’t enough health coaches out there. They started training other soldiers, vets and their families to help with the coaching process. It’s a deep empowerment model. They didn’t say, “Instead of drugs, we’ll use integrative practitioners.” They’re saying, “We don’t want to make people dependent on acupuncture, a PT or a chiropractor either. We want to get people to realize that they’re the principal agents in their lives.” They’re not using patient in their language anymore.
You’re saying they have a peer model where they’re having former patients or former clients who are trained to do health coaching and are now mentoring and health coaching other vets.
Another radical thing that I learned about and it’s on the same line is around auricular acupuncture. There’s been a big battle. The acupuncturists are trying to hold onto that and say, “We don’t want to have the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association train people delivering this care unless they are acupuncturists.” In the state of Wyoming, they are certifying people to provide auricular acupuncture who don’t even have a medical degree of any sort. They’re basically saying, “You can be trained to make these points. You can train and be trained to think about safety and offer this.” This is a peer program essentially. The program in Wyoming that I wrote about is literally people at fire stations and community centers who are saying, “Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings we’re going to be there. Come on in if you want to.” That’s a fascinating direction.
I think that’s brilliant. I would love to see more peer-to-peer training in the pain world. I can maybe think of one study that I can remember but nothing that’s been replicated multiple times over and tested or that’s been tried out in the real world so to speak.
They’re called counseling.
Yeah, that’s right. AA has existed for years. It was a peer model and some very well for many people.
Their structure is brilliant in many respects in the way that it empowers people and creates dyads and creates groups. It’s quite remarkable.
What steps can a practitioner take to be more involved and connected to integrative medicine and moving it forward?
First, it’s nice to know what’s going on and you can subscribe to my newsletter which is free and it doesn’t bother you all the time. It’s a couple of times a month. The Integrative Health Policy Consortium at IHPC.org is a good source on the efforts to shift policy in ways that will benefit our ability to have more integrative approaches. They have 27 partners in health across multiple disciplines. I don’t know if there are PTs involved. I believe there’s been a dialogue with the PT organization about it but it’s very broadly integrative. It’s a good place. They have a newsletter. It’s also only once a month or so. The Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, which is at IntegrativeHealth.org, has a semi-regular newsletter you can sign up for. I don’t know if the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, which they have 75 medical schools, has a newsletter that’s publicly available. It can be a good source.
The best integrative meetings that I’m aware of and that are most broadly attended are the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York every February and the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, which is 1,000 to 1,500 people. The Integrative Health Symposium is more integrative in its population of people that attracts. It’s about 50% of medical doctors, large subsets of nutritionists, nurses, chiropractors, naturopaths, etc. AIHM, Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine is mainly medical doctors, although their intention as an organization is strongly inter-professional. They have a naturopathic doctor who is their executive director. They are intentionally bringing in speakers from a variety of fields and that meeting is in the fall. Those are good places and both of them are tremendous communities. The AIHM is not for profit. The Integrative Health Symposium is a business that made a name as a seafood conferences business. They got into this many years ago and they are now regularly drawing a community that partly comes every year for each other. Those are good ways to get into it.
It’s been wonderful talking to you, John. I know you’ve worked in this space for decades. I want to thank you for your work. A lot of different practitioners and physical therapists are going to start to move in this direction rapidly. Where can people learn more about you? Share your website and all your resources.
The best way to do that is my main website is JohnWeeks-Integrator.com and on the upper right is a newsletter sign up. If you want to do that, it’s only two or three times a month. I usually just push out a couple of things I’ve written and then a few things about what are the people doing and then a set of links to other activity. A lot of people like it. They usually come on a Sunday morning and it’s a bedroom reading for some people I know. The archive of my work for a long time is still at TheIntegratorBlog.com. If you want to go there and poke around, it only accepts family name in the search terms. It’s a little funky. There are a lot of contacts there if you want to get to know some of the histories. That was back in 2006.
Those are the main two places but I’m definitely operating out of JohnWeeks-Integrator.com. If you’re involved with an organization that subscribes to journals, I am the Editor-in-Chief of JACM, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and we’re doing interesting stuff like this group special issue. We did a group special issue on whole systems research, which we touched on. It’s what you need to do. As a PT working PTs and the teams are working with multiple modalities. We simply hold that to get much better. That is what we’re going to do, deal with the problems in front of us now. That’s plenty, I’m sure.
We’ll check the journal and we’ll follow you at JohnWeeks-Integrator.com. You can share this podcast out with your friends and family on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Share the message of integrative health and hopefully move our healthcare system forward for patients as well as the practitioners who treat them. Integrative medicine tends to be less burnout and a better way to provide long healthcare for people. I want to thank you for joining me on the show. We’ll see you next time.
- John Weeks
- Integrative Healthcare Symposium
- Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine
About John Weeks
John Weeks has worked in integrative health for 35 years as a chronicler, speaker, organizer, executive and consultant. His Integrator Blog News & Reports and other writing have chronicled integrative policy and action for 25 years.
In May 2016, he began serving as editor-in-chief of the field’s most enduring indexed journal, JACM – Paradigm, Practice and Policy Advancing Integrative Health (The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine). His boot camp in the field consisted of a decade with the re-emergence of the naturopathic profession – helping grow what is now Bastyr University and then developing the field’s national professional association.
As the integrative era began in the mid-1990s, Weeks began consulting on integration strategies with diverse parties. Among these: the NIH, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, AHA, multiple insurers, hospitals, professional and academic organizations. Weeks’ not-for-profit entrepreneurial work came to the fore again as he helped found and direct multiple interprofessional initiatives: Integrative Medicine Industry Leadership Summits (2000-2002), Integrative Health Policy Consortium, Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, and later the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine.
He is particularly excited in recent years with opportunities to work with the WHO and PAHO on their traditional and integrative strategies. Weeks speaks globally on integrative topics. He attended Stanford University for three years, studying history. Four institutions have granted him honorary doctorates.
He was honored in 2014 with a Lifetime Achievement Living Tribute Award, with which the Consortium was involved. His life-partner in all of this is Jeana Kimball, ND, MPH with whom he has two grown children. He works from Seattle, Washington, and in December and April from Rincon, Puerto Rico. Weeks can be found stand-up paddle- boarding 3-4 times a week year around in the Salish Sea that abuts Seattle, and when in Rincon, SUP surfing.
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