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?


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