The integrative medicine organization with the most clout, globally, is likely the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (ACIMH, or “The Consortium” as the members prefer to call it). Its core membership is more than 60 North American medical schools. In 2006, the organization began hosting a major research meeting, backed by the US National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. In 2012, the sponsors acknowledged their international reach. The meeting drew an interprofessional mix of more than 1000 researchers and clinicians from some 3 dozen nations. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, the organization hosted or co-hosted significant meetings on education, clinical issues, and policy, respectively.
On May 17-20, 2016, the Consortium is rolling content from these 4 domains into one big meeting. The Green Valley Ranch hotel off the Las Vegas, Nevada, strip will be the site of the International Congress for Integrative Medicine and Health. In a break from the past, the Consortium expanded its supporting organization collaborators: Integrative Health Policy Consortium (policy), Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (clinical) and Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (education). These joined the historic partner on research content, the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. Representatives of each are on the Program Committee and the Communications Committee.
In this video, the organizers suggest the potential for significant synergies. A quick glance at the themes for the 6 Plenary Speakers and the 12 Pre-Conference Workshops says it. The microbiome. Interprofessionalism and team care. Measuring cost-effectiveness in integrative medicine. Group visits. Neurophysiology of meditation. Leadership. Policy action to ensure viability. Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods. And these do not yet touch the not yet announced but anticipated 3 dozen workshops and scores of posters.
Comment: Alignment of interest note: I serve on the Congress’s Organizing Committee and as chair of its Communications Committee. I have also been to every one of the 7 congresses and meetings since 2006 leading up to this. Each has offered tremendous learning. As many in the ICIMH video bear witness, they also offer extraordinary networking opportunities. When the only focus was on research, the biggest issue with the Congress was already an overabundance of content. In May 2016, with additional pulls to policy, education, and clinical content, the risk for anyone with a whole-systems view about the state of this movement may be to find oneself struck to stone by the overabundance of tempting options. That’s a great sort of problem to have. You will not regret the decision to attend. Heck, for true whole-systems integrators, there is also the opportunity at this Congress to integrate craps, blackjack, dining options, and extravagant entertainment with subtler healing arts.