As a member of the Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine, Pacific University will become a site for healthcare practitioners participating in the first truly interprofessional advanced training fellowship program.
Earlier this summer, the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine identified OCIM as the ideal academic partner for Interprofessional Fellowship in Integrative Health & Medicine under the direction of Tieraona Low Dog, MD, an internationally renowned educator, physician and thought leader in integrative medicine.
The hybrid model program includes 1,000 hours of online education through media-rich training, discussion groups, streamed videos and interactive web-based curriculum. Additionally, the program incorporates clinical rotations, three in-person retreats and elective specialty modules.
The OCIM consists of Pacific University, National College of Natural Medicine, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University and University of Western States. Selected fellows will spend time at each member institution over a two-year period.
The interprofessional care model emphasized by OCIM members will ensure the AIHM Fellowship meets or exceeds the standards of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. The partnership is expected to be finalized this month.
OCIM defines integrative health as a multidisciplinary approach to achieving optimal health and performance, which focuses on integrating patient preferences with evidence-informed therapeutic measures and lifestyle choices to support the body's natural recuperative capacity, treating each individual as a whole being.
Christiane Brems, dean of Pacific University's School of Professional Psychology and OCIM board member, said the collaborative's purpose is to make healthcare delivery more holistic. "It is not about just treating the mind or the body," she said, noting that optimal integrative care connects healthcare and wellness practitioners of all disciplines on behalf of the wellbeing of every patient.
Pacific's Psychology & Comprehensive Health Clinic will be the university's residency site for the AIHM Fellows. In 2014, the clinic evolved from only mental health services to offering a full array of comprehensive health services through the university's schools of Professional Psychology, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Communication Sciences and Disorders.
"The clinic offers two ways to access services," Brems said. "Either for mental health care or for general health. Once in the clinic, patients can access integrated services.
Brems noted that integrated healthcare allows practitioners from one discipline to collaborate on behalf of a patient with a practitioner of another discipline. Such consultation across healthcare professions results in better treatment, especially for health conditions that may have multiple underlying causes, she said.
"With an integrated model, you provide 'wraparound' services that are so much more coordinated than piecemeal treatment," she said. "Patients really benefit and providers get excited when they realize they're getting different pieces to a patient's health and healthcare needs from each other. Suddenly, they can see the whole picture. "
Interprofessional care has been a fundamental tenet of Pacific University's College of Health Professions since its establishment in 2004. Student and faculty practitioners from all of the college's schools often collaborate with one another as well as with the university's colleges of Optometry and Education, and Social Work program.
Founded in 1849, Pacific University consists of colleges of Arts & Sciences, Optometry, Education, Health Professions and Business with campuses in Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Eugene and Woodburn.