CAM EducationCAM Politics

Opportunities for CAM in healthcare reform

 Dr. Mark Hyman is Editor-in-Chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a professional journal on integrative medicine and alternative medicine.

Here are his recommendations for any healthcare reform proposal being considered by lawmakers in Washington.

9 areas to be addressed

  • Reimburse healthcare teams that focus on lifestyle changes to treat chronic disease.
  • Do research comparing conventional medicine to integrative approaches.
  • Update medical education to include nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental factors in the core curricula.
  • Establish an Institute for Functional Medicine to develop educational curricula for medical schools, residencies, post-graduate education, and other health professionals.
  • In schools, prohibit food known to promote obesity and disease and provide whole, fresh foods.
  • Help community health centers teach citizens how inexpensive, nutritious meals; recreational activities; lifestyle changes; and functional medicine can improve health.
  • Limit pharmaceutical and unhealthful food advertising.
  • Develop electronic medical records.
  • Create a White House Office on Wellness, Health Promotion, and Integrative Health to develop programs for lifestyle-based chronic disease prevention and management.

The bottom line?
It’s easy to sit in a room of beaurocrats and advocate government-run programs that will certainly increase the cost of healthcare. But where are the data to prove that each of these programs will result in significantly better health? Most Americans aren’t convinced.

Last month, a USA Today/Gallup Poll reported that 58% of American adults are “very concerned” that current efforts to reform the health care system will reduce the quality of health care they receive.

7/16/09 20:21 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.