The Intersection of Integrative andCommunity Health: Accountable Communities 2015, September 9-10, 2015

The conference title is “Accountable Communities 2015: Advancing Integrative Approaches to Community, Health and Well-Being.” The focus of the September 9-10 meeting in Duluth, Minnesota, is on what award-winning organizer Jamie Harvey and his Commons Health project calls “health creation.” More specifically, the meeting engages the intersection between the integrative health and medicine movement and the broader movement to engage determinants of health. The conference is “designed to catalyze place-based health creation.” Specifically: “By melding integrative and community expertise and engaging in conversations that matter, this event helps healthcare, human service, business, clinical, wellness and community leadership link and align whole person approaches to health and well-being in the context of community.”

Among cross-fertilizing topics: “Your Zip Code and your Epigenetic code; Land Trusts as Health Policy; Pathways out of Poverty; A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); Health Plan National Model; Community Listening Sessions and a Community Equity Agenda; A Sugar Free, Diet Soda Free Hospital; Mental Health and Food; and Workplace Wellness and Community Health.”

Gail Christopher, DNThe sponsors and speakers for Accountable Communities 2015 reflect the dual movements. Among the dozen sponsors are not only Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota, but also the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota (led by GAHMJ’s co-editor Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN). The speakers range from Kellogg Foundation vice-president Gail Christopher, DN, a licensed naprapath who serves as board chair at the Trust for America’s Health (pictured) to AIHM co-founder, integrative psychiatrist and author Scott Shannon, MD and Allina Health’s Courtney Baechler, MD, MSCE, who heads up the most significant inpatient-outpatient integrative care program in the United States.

Comment: In my recent column in Global Advances in Health and Medicine Journal (The End of Tinkering: International Academic Group Explores Transformational Needs in Health Professional Education) I referenced the just 10%-15% of health influencers that are clinical care related. I added that “an integrative health and medicine practitioner might take solace that prioritizing clinical engagement with patients on bettering lifestyle choices affirmatively shifts the balance.” The intersection that this meeting puts front and center is long overdue.

In fact, one increasingly hears content at integrative care conferences related toPeople, Planet, Purpose: Global Practitioners United in Health and Healing determinants, and particularly environmental health. The late October conference of AIHM, for instance – with which I am involved as a member of the board, and, in this conference, as a speaker – People, Planet, Purpose: Global Practitioners United in Health and Healing is an exemplar. Content there bridges lifestyle, mind-body, environment and deep clinical enrichment. The Commons Health-AIHM connection is strong. The Commons Health site describes AIHM’s “Wellness Route Map.” Harvey writes:  “Commons Health is working to actualize this vision.” Accountable Communities 2015 offers a delicious guide to the steps to health creation. Credit to all parties. Now, how can I get there?


Report from Rogier Hoenders, MD, PhD, on Integrative Psychiatry in the Netherlands

Rogier Hoenders, MD, PhD Rogier Hoenders, MD, PhD (pictured), is the founder of the Center for Integrative Psychiatry (CIP) based in an outpatient clinic at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands  (pictured below). Hoenders contacted the Global Integrator recently with news of the Center and its related work. The Center began operations in 2007. On staff are 20 therapists “who treat about 500 psychiatric outpatients with severe mental illness,” according to Hoenders. The staffing is a mix of professionals. Included are psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses specializing in integrative mental health, psychiatry residents, a physical therapist and “an expert in mind-body medicine.”

The Center is also described on an international integrative mental health site as “the hub for a national Dutch network of integrative clinicians.” The loose network reportedly includes some 50 psychiatrists, 50 psychologists, 30 family physicians, and “many Master’s level therapists.” In March 2015, CIP held their sixth biennial conference. The meeting was entitled (Mental) Health in Crisis and drew more than 400 attendees. The attendee total was down from as many as 900 in the event’s early years. Hoenders attributes the decline to changes in the economy. Useful descriptions of all six meetings are here. A seventh conference is planned for 2017.

University of Groningen in the NetherlandsHoenders shared two significant documents with the Global Integrator. One is the work his team was required to perform to open the Center: namely, create the “The Dutch CAM Protocol” for inclusion of complementary and alternative modalities in psychiatric care. The protocol lists treatments, including certain herbs and mind-body approaches deemed to have quality biomedical evidence, which thus could be offered. Other therapies didn’t meet their standard—homeopathy and Reiki are mentioned. Under the protocol, these can be offered offsite “to patients through referral under strict conditions.” The centerpiece is a flowchart for decision processes.

The second document was a research publication on outcomes at the Center based on a novel “routine outcome modeling (ROM)” data strategy. The paper describes challenges with the methodology, including a significant problem in gathering posttreatment data. They noted, for instance, that “subtle variations in analytic strategies influenced effect sizes substantially.” While offering qualifications, the team concludes, “Mixed-model analysis showed significant improvement in symptomatology, quality of life, and autonomy, and differential improvement for different subgroups. Effect sizes were small to large, depending on the outcome measure and subgroup.” In addition, “We illustrate how problems inherent to design and analysis of ROM data prevent drawing conclusions about (comparative) treatment effectiveness.”

INIMHTo a question from the Global Integrator about whether his group had a formal association, Hoenders responded, “Not yet. I am working on starting an association. About 50 psychiatrists seem interested, but there is also a lot of opposition from old dogmatic MDs.” Asked if he was aware of the New Jersey, USA–based International Network of Integrative Mental Health, Hoenders shared that he was a cofounder and continues as a member of the board of the directors. In fact, “it was during one of our conferences that the idea of starting an international network for integrative mental health was born!”  He and James Lake, MD, took the lead.

Comment: I felt a kinship immediately on reading into the protocol that Hoenders and his team developed. They led off by directly addressing an elephant in the room: “Table 1. Prejudices against Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).” His team describes 8 such prejudices followed by a “Refutation.” Better yet, the team and its protocol show balance. There follows “Table 2. Prejudices for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).” The pro-CAM prejudices also get their refutation. Example: “Prejudice: 1. If it does not work, at least it will not harm. Refutation: 1. Some supplements or herbs can cause severe side-effect or interactions.”

I shared with Hoenders my own version of such a table, from a contracted paper for a 1996 US National Institutes of Health invitational meeting entitled “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Issues Impacting Coverage Decisions.” My table on page 45 was entitled “Bilateral Prejudice as an Operational Issue in Limiting the Integration of Complementary and Conventional Health Care.” It is fitting that this short piece on this ambitious and influential work in integrative psychiatry should conclude with recognition that among us human beings the twin high horses of “evidence-based medicine” and “medicine without side effects” can often be creatures with fur matted and stinking with residue of where the critter slept last night.

French-German Mixed Results on Homeopathy Costs, Plus Role(s) in Cancer and Public Health

HomeopathyThe conclusion of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council that there is no “good quality evidence that homeopathy is good for treating any health conditions” gained widespread publicity globally. The field has since been battered in the media. A Canadian pharmacist writing in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy argues that homeopathic medicines have no place in regular pharmacies. A widely commented-upon blog from the United Kingdom that begins with a Member of Parliament’s one-time support for homeopathy argues that “belief in homeopathy is a moral test.” Homeopathy’s supporters are thus ethically condemned. Meanwhile, a Californian de-bunker who goes by SciBabe downs a whole bottle of homeopathics to make a point after coming to Australia for a scientific meeting.

Yet in the midst of it, a recent health services research analysis reported a qualified positive on comparative costs in France’s public health system. The researchers examined costs for patients of medical doctors who use homeopathy, versus those of medical doctors who don’t. They found that “Ho-GPs (homeopathic-using general practitioners) prescribed fewer psychotropic drugs, antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.” Then: “Management of patients by homeopathic GPs may be less expensive from a global perspective and may represent an important interest to public health.”

Claudia Witt, MDHomeopathy’s advocates had little time to celebrate. Just 2 months later, a team that includes internationally renowned researcher Claudia Witt, MD (pictured), published findings of a separate health services study. This one was inside the German health system. The aim was to “compare the health care costs for patients using additional homeopathic treatment with the costs for those receiving usual care.” The finding: “Compared with usual care, additional homeopathic treatment was associated with significantly higher costs. These analyses did not confirm previously observed cost savings resulting from the use of homeopathy in the health care system.”

Moshe Frenkel, MDInto this polarized environment, University of Texas scientist  Moshe Frenkel, MD (pictured), asked a brave question in this publication in Current Oncology Reports: “Is There a Role for Homeopathy in Cancer Care? Questions and Challenges.” He reviews existing literature and concludes, “Although additional studies are needed to confirm these findings, given the low cost, minimal risks, and the potential magnitude of homeopathy’s effects, this use might be considered in certain situations as an additional tool to integrate into cancer care.”

Comment: As a newcomer to the field nearly 35 years ago, I was seeking to get my ethical bearings amidst a backdrop of a very limited research infrastructure on natural health interventions. I took a practical view that if a natural agent deemed placebo by skeptics successfully helped a person through an illness—whether a homeopathic or herbal or vitamin—in lieu of a pharmaceutical that caused multiple adverse effects, well, why not? One just needed to keep an eye on the cost of the alternative compared to the encumbered pharmaceutical choice. Since then, epidemics of antibiotic overuse and, in the United States, of overuse of painkillers and most other drugs have turned my personal ethical platform into a significant public health question. The authors of the French economic analysis reference this potentially “important interest to public health.”

Varying study design may explain a part of the outcomes of the two economic studies. Yet given the energetic properties homeopathic medications are said to have, perhaps there is simply something in the spirit of the French that skews homeopathy positively, and in the Germans, twists outcomes negatively. More study required.

Peter Fisher, MDWhatever legitimate methodological or utterly facetious questions these opposing findings may provoke, the negatives are not shaking the convictions of the Queen’s Physician in the United Kingdom. Homeopathic physician Peter Fisher, MD (pictured), is quoted in this article on his recent opinion piece on homeopathy in the British Medical Journal. He seems to like my conclusion from the early 1980s. Fisher, the clinical director and director of research at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, reportedly said that “homeopathy was ‘safe,’ ‘popular with patients’ and reduced the need for antibiotics.”

India Beats Colgate-Palmolive and UK Pharma Firm in Separate Intellectual Property Cases

The August 2, 2015 article in The Times of India was entitled “India wins patent war on hair-loss formula.”  The opponent was the United Kingdom-based Pangaea Laboratories Limited. The firm had filed the patent application in February, 2011. India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) of its Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) then made a submission to the European Patent Office “managed to prove that turmeric, pine bark and green tea were being used as a treatment for hair loss in Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Unani since ancient times.”

ColgateAs the article notes, this followed news just days earlier that the CSIR-TKDL “frustrated a move by Colgate-Palmolive to patent a mouthwash formula containing herb ‘Jayaphal’ (Nutmeg) extract.” That story was reported here (and accompanied by the ironical image attached to this article). The policing agency “submitted proof in the form of references from ancient books, which said the herb and its extracts of Myristica Fragrans were used for oral diseases in Indian systems of medicine.”  A notice at Bullfax states that “the back-to-back victories in thwarting the attempts of the two big foreign entities (Colgate-Palmolive and Pangaea Laboratories Limited) adds another feather to the cap of TKDL’s which has tasted success now in about 200 such cases without incurring any cost to the public exchequer.”

Comment: What person does not have in them a sense of justice – or at least a resident rooter for the underdog – to enjoy these outcomes of successful protection of the commons? This is quite a track record for the agency, established in 2001.

South Africa Summit Models Inclusion of Traditional Healers in HIV, Tuberculosis Campaign

Healers SummitAccording to a report at South Africa’s News 24, the North Cape government recently convened a “summit” of the region’s traditional healers. The purpose was to fulfill goals “to reduce HIV, TB and STI transmission and related HIV and TB mortality, disability and the social impact thereof.” According to the article, for the Northern Cape government, “traditional healers play an integral role in the prevention and treatment of HIV and TB, as well as the care and support of patients.” For this reason, these are included in the strategy and the summit convened. The logic: “[These healers] therefore need the support, education and cooperation that formal health-care systems might be able to offer; while the latter could potentially expand the reach and efficacy of HIV prevention and treatment programmes by enlisting the help of traditional health practitioners.”

The logic continues: “This summit aimed to ensure capacity development in the traditional health-care sector by motivating involvement in the local and district Aids councils and to provide relevant information and facilitate networking to build good relations in education, care, treatment and support programmes. It was also aimed at enabling traditional health practitioners to become agents of change in their communities and reduce the impact of HIV/Aids on traditional health-care practitioners by familiarising them with the key performance indicators of the Provincial Strategic Plan.” The event included time for ample discussion which was reportedly fruitful. The local program director stated, “I am also impressed with the issues that were discussed. Some of the topics need to be mystified and demystified to find common ground between the traditional medicines and western medicines.”

Comment: The news accounts are few, in any nation, of conventional initiatives directly reaching out to traditional healer communities—or even the licensed so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” professions such as acupuncture, massage, and naturopathic medicine. That this remains rare for health planning of the North Cape government is suggested by the way the reporter backed into the story. He first described—usefully—various categories of healers and only then reported the mission and outcomes of the summit. The suggestion of the effort to find “common ground” emits a cultural healing that can be felt on this side of the Atlantic. There was no discussion about whether any traditional therapies or practices were considered.

WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy: 2014-2023 When I had the opportunity to serve on two of the WHO planning sessions for the current referenced in the article, I mused a good deal on steps to respectfully bring traditional practitioners into what I found myself calling “NGO medicine.” I was invited as an organizer of a sort of “traditional healers” group in North America, the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC). The ACCAHC professions have in common that most are regulated, licensed, and connected to educational programs with government-recognized educational accreditation. Even in that regulated of an environment, there has been a chasm to cross. Clearly, the process of inclusion can be more difficult without these standards. However, the paths to knitting together all the forces that can help prevent disease and create health are infinite. Good on the North Cape government for extending itself. Now I’d love to hear a transcript of the dialogue in the open discussions.

Quick Links to Global News in Traditional, Alternative, and Integrative Health and Medicine for August 2015

Quick linksThis Global Integrator Blog Quick Links for August 2015 notes 75 accounts of developments in traditional medicine and alternative and integrative health. Significant themes include: more detailed plans in India to integrate AYUSH into hospitals throughout that country, plus the controversial decision to give training in regular pharma to Ayurvedic doctors; Chinese medicine uptake in multiple other countries including Macau, Namibia, and various Eastern European countries; and, for the followers of celebrity, New Zealand sports star Wasake Nahola’s claimed quick cure of a leg injury through a Fijian traditional medicine involving a leaf poultice.

  • This is an odd little review of laws regulating Ayurveda in India.
  • Traditional medicine in the form of spicy foods was found to extend life in a widely reported study.
  • The UN Human Rights office has stepped into an Iranian issue where an alternative healer was sentenced to death.
  • This article suggests that “the co-location of AYUSH facilities [with conventional health departments] to various degrees is being undertaken in all states in India except in Kerala. As reported by Government of Kerala, that state government prefers “separate AYUSH institutions rather than co-locating them.”
  • The Standards Organization of Nigeria has constituted a committee that will work out means for the standardization of herbal medicines in Nigeria. The head is the former director of the Independent National Electoral Commission. A longer article is here.
  • Reiki is pushed in this Times of Oman column.
  • Traditional Health Practitioners take a stand in the fight against HIV and TB.” In South Africa, “the government and civil society met with members of traditional health practitioners from all the districts of the province during a summit under the theme Traditional Health Practitioner stake a stand in the fight against HIV and TB.” An atypical collaboration. (See photo.)
  • This article in Indian Country, which targets the indigenous of the USA, reflects on the choice of the Matses of Peru to publish a 500 page tome on their medicines in a broader discourse on native sciences. Another story here on the remarkable decision of Amazonian shamans to create a 500 page text on their healing methods, assisted by Acaté, a San-Francisco-based non-profit.
  • This New York Times opinion piece discusses how the Indian government has proposed a new law, opposed by the Indian medical association, allowing traditional practitioners and other non-MDs to provide abortion services. They do so in nearby Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • This article reviews limited insurance coverage for AYUSH in India.
  • In collaboration with the University of Shanghai, a new masters in TCM will be offered in Malta.
  • The toxic metals in bhasmas are the subject of this article.
  • Sex selection drugs, including traditional medicines, are associated with birth defects.
  • This article on the 10th anniversary of Turkey’s Medicinal Plants Garden in Zeytinburnu notes that it has 800 medicinal plants on 14,000 square meters with “many researchers and experts who are searching forlife-saving formulas from the plants.” It is the first of its kind in that nation. Later this year the Bezmialem Phytotherapy Center will be opened. The center will offer herbal medications to help sustain the operation.
  • India has successfully prevented Europe’s leading “dermaceutical” laboratory, Pangaea Laboratories Limited, to patent “a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss.” Here is another account. This additional article is an overview of the Indian agency’s work against bio-piracy.
  • This thoughtful, data-rich review of the potential for AYUSH practitioners to help meet medical needs in India includes this: “Some State governments such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Delhi, have introduced a bridge course extending from six months to one year, for trained AYUSH practitioners, which then permits them to prescribe 47 listed drugs that are commonly used in primary health centres (PHCs).” This additional article looks at the battle in India provoked by proposed legislation to allow AYUSH doctors to prescribe conventional pharmaceuticals – in the nation’s push for broader primary care coverage.
  • This article shares that the Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP) in Liberia has launched a study on the role of traditional healers in addressing that nation’s health crisis with a specific interest on how they helped or curtailed the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The article notes two reasons for the study. One is to be able to have access to a comprehensive data and the other “is to encourage a discussion between the modern and traditional medicines.”
  • A federal “Multicultural Minister” in Canada is urging the government of Ontario to follow British Columbia’s lead and offer its certificationtests in Chinese.
  • The Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the province’sprofessional authority, is seeking to closedown a clinic for sanitary practice reasons.
  • This Australian news account blasts as a waste and potentially dangerous all use of alternative products for menopausal issues.
  • A Nigerian natural healer defends himself that “natural medicine is not witchcraft practice. It is the art and science of using the gifts of nature to heal the sick with comprehensive, optimal results.”
  • A late July seminarin India organized by the government introduced traditional medicines people to modern scientific techniques: “The speakers emphasised that the Indian Systems of Medicine sector needs experts with theoretical and practical knowledge of Indian traditional medicine and people with rich resource in modern scientific techniques. It also needs people with rich knowledge in regulatory affairs pertaining to manufacturing,production and marketing.”
  • This article focuses on the 14th edition of the International Conference & Exhibition of the Modernization of Chinese Medicine & Health Products(ICMCM), held in Hong Kong mid-August.
  • The Chinese news service covers a session where TCM is shared in Namibia where the TCM approaches were introduced decades ago. TCM doctors are practicing at the Katutura State Hospital.
  • A peculiar story in which herbs placed under a bed figure in a divorce in Zambia.
  • The Economic Times of India reports that ”in a move that will help thwart attempts by foreign MNCs and individuals to get patents and trademark on ancient yoga techniques, the government has shortlisted over 1500 asanas and videographed over 250, classifying them as ‘traditional knowledge’ of the country.” The article includes a good review of recent intellectual propertyissues.
  • Waisake NaholoNew Zealand sports start Waisake Naholo(pictured) gives credit to a leaf poultice traditional treatment for rapid cure of his broken leg. The surprisingly quick cure continues to pull media.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine will be among the topics when leaders of Saudi Arabia and China meet nextmonth. An exhibitionwill run concurrently showcasing Chinese traditional medicines and the alternative medicines of the Arab world. The forum will also witness the signing of medical agreements between Ningxia and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.
  • This article shares plans to develop one AYUSH hospital in each of India’s districts and to use Ayurvedic practitioners when regular primary care physicians can’t befound in primary care offices. An additional report with good data on AYUSH is here. What is expected to the nation’s biggest AYUSH hospital is here. Key individuals involved are in this account.
  • Some 90% of African vulture deaths are attributable to poisonings and traditional medicine use.
  • This story offers data on India’s efforts toprotect tigers, and their challenges from poachers seeking to kill and sell for traditional medicinal uses.
  • The Chinese traditional medicine-based high-end cosmetic brand Herborist will be launched in the US. Here is thestory in a cosmetics publication.
  • A new study speaks to the surge in killing of lions in Kenya and elsewhere for reputed medicinal properties of their bones.
  • A Californian de-bunker who goes by Scibabe downs a whole bottle of homeopathics to make a point after coming to Australia for a scientific meeting.
  • Speaking of gardens, this article features the Physic Garden at theUniversity of British Columbia Botanical Garden, Canada.
  • An MD in Botswana is arguing against using traditional medicine doctors.
  • Lummi totem poleThe WHO reports that a Prague Declaration from a June 2015 meeting between representatives of China and 16 Central European countries included reference to “integration of Chinese and Western medicine.”
  • This long feature article reviews the vast increase in use of supplements and covered chiropractic and acupuncture services in New Zealand.
  • The Times of Oman ran a positive article on hot stone massage.
  • The U.S. National Library of Medicine isopening “Native Voices,” an exhibition on indigenous view of health. A Lummi totem pole (pictured) has been placed outside the NLM.
  • In Australia, massage therapists are workingto get a share of the government’s new research fund.
  • A US indigenous practice of using sweet grass to repel mosquitos is finding some scientific support.
  • The Indian state of Odisha has belatedly announced its AYUSH plan, following a national government direction.The state presently has 3 Ayurvedic and 4 homeopathic hospitals.
  • Development of synthetic rhino horn as ameans of ending the killing traffic in the real thing is lambasted for furthering false science.
  • A Harvard-Hopkins team has published on the surge of scientific articles on yoga.
  • This article focuses on possible used of the traditional medicine salviadivinorum for addiction.
  • The NewYork Times featured traditional indigenous healing from Chile that is offered side by side with Western medicine at Los Castanos Family Health Center in Santiago.
  • This post in Namibia, via Xinhua, speak of support for TCM in that nation.
  • The Iowa Gazette featured a visit of doctors from Afghanistan to the IM program at Mercy Hospital. Susan Bartlett, MD led the visit.
  • An ugly story of the strangling of an albino woman in South Africa for medicinal uses.
  • horse chestnutAn article at GEN focuses on research at USA’s Emory University that shows the value of horse chestnut (pictured) in disabling MRSA. A remarkable feature: “At the same time, the extract doesn’t disturb the normal, healthy bacteriaon human skin. It’s all about restoring balance.”
  • A man from India certified in and practiced alternative medicine was arrested as a terrorist there.
  • The program of the European Congress for Integrative Medicine, September 25-27, 2015 is posted here and features Victor Dzau, MD, the head ofthe USA National Academy of Medicine.
  • In India, aphotograph exhibition narrates how Indian social reformerand polymath Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar “accorded patronage to homeopathy and examines how the legacy has survived today.”
  • Traditional medicines are among the skills of seniors passed on to students in Peru’s Pension 65 program.
  • This article from Germany features the way Chinese use food as medicine.
  • In closing arecent conference, a Malaysian minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said “the professionalism of Chinese medicine can only be realised through a more comprehensive system and regulation,” promoting this development.
  • Integrative practices in Macau and China have led this Fijian Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate to promote integration of local herbals with Western practices in that nation’s hospitals.worm grass
  • The upscale Absolute Ayurveda clinic is opening in Sri Lanka.
  • The Philippines Department of Science and Technology plans to set up a certification process for albularyos or traditional herbal healers “in hopes of learning from such practitioners and professionalizing the practice.”
  • The portal associated with the Global Advances inHealth and Medicine Journal is now offering expanded content via social media.
  • The Integrative Healthcare Symposium in Canada has announced a plenary talk from Dr. Rogers’ Prize award winner Sunita Vohra, MD for its October 23-24,2015 event in Ontario.
  • The most significant financial prize in complementary and integrative medicine, the Dr. Rogers Prize, will be announced in a function keynoted by Jeffrey Bland, ND, on September 25, 2015 in Vancouver,BC.
  • WHO coordinating centerWHO chief Margaret Chan credits Macau for developing its traditional medicine program at the opening of a new WHO coordinating center (pictured). This is the 30th such center on traditional medicine. There were reportedly “1.17 million TCM consultations locally last year, of the about four million primary health care consultations by Macau residents.” A Xinhua report is here.
  • This piece offers a strong pitch for South Africa’s traditional medicine to be integrated into its medical system. The author suggests that “fully integration” is in place in China, Korea and Vietnam.
  • The University of Toronto has also decided to add naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy to the treatments available on its plan in 2015-16, resulting in a small increase in the monthly premium.
  • A Slovak-Korean connection included traditional Korean medicine, which “may become more popular in Slovakia.”
  • A 73-year-old woman lost her legal bid to force a government clinic to provide her homeopathy in the NHS of the UK. The case failed with an argument that “the board broke the terms of the 2010 Equality Act.”
  • This post isan interesting guide to the Andean medicinal plant “huachuma”, a.k.a. “San Pedro,” though it is also a promo for courses via a USA-educated “shaman.”
  • This piece covers a harsh review of a Nigerian herb manufacturing facility associated with the National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP), by traditional medicine regulators. An association leader says: “We are appealing to the government to come to our aid so that we can develop traditional medicine to the level of China and India.”
  • Tusks and pangolin scales were among items found in goods marked “red beans” in Vietnam from Malaysia.
  • Prof. George KiryaA direct pitch for integrating traditional medicine into Uganda’s system is here. The photo, pictured, is captioned: “Prof. George Kirya interacts with the director National Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute, Grace Nambatya during the 3rd annual National Traditional Medicine.”
  • The UK publication speaks to contamination of German woman via heavy metals from Ayurvedic treatment.
  • Tzu Chi Canada, the British Columbia branch of the international Buddhist organization is promoting TCM in clinics serving indigenous people.
  • The Times of Oman continues its series with a look at chiropractic.
  • The Guardian of Nigeria published a troubling piece on giving lip-service to traditional medicines to mark African Traditional Medicine Day, a WHO day.


Channing Tatum Backs $1 Million Runa Tea Effort to Create Amazonian Medical Centers

Channing TatumThe Runa Guayusa Tea entrepreneurs have attracted Hollywood actor Channing Tatum (pictured) to the efforts of the Runa Foundation to raise $1 million to create two medical facilities in the upper Amazon. One will be in Peru and the other in Ecuador. The July 23, 2015 announcement describes how at the planned Rios Nete medical facility in Peru “teams of traditional healers and western doctors will work together to use Amazonian medicines and practices to treat patients from Peruand around the world with auto immune diseases and grave conditions.” At the NAKU facility, in Quito, Ecuador, a new “wellness and healing center run by the Sapara” people will be created. In it, “patients with a range of health and wellness needs, including depression and insomnia, will experience firsthand how the Sapara’s unique traditional practices can be used to treat modern medicine’s toughest problems.”

RUNAIn the last 4 years, the Runa Foundation “has worked with the Sapara and Kichwa people in Ecuador and the Shipibo in Peru, creating social enterprises like the Runa line of guayusa drinks.” The guayusa teas are made from an “Amazonian super-leaf naturally packed with caffeine, polyphenols, and 15 essential amino acids so it provides a clean, focused energy.” In his endorsement, Tatum speaks to the value of increased exploration of the Amazon: “For the Sapara, the rainforest is a living pharmacy. Over the centuries, they’ve made profound discoveries about the healing power of plants and trees. They use a wide variety of medicinal plants to treat the sick and suffering.”

Comment: The Runa enterprise is a social enterprise business that has established a series of fair trade cooperatives through which to invest in the communities where the plant is found. The foundation has partnered with the Yale School of Forestry, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, City University of New York, and the Virginia Botanical Gardens “to research and improve the management of native forest gardens.” This is an aspirational campaign. The money is being sought to support the foundation in creating the clinics.