As a global educational authority, the Academy of Integrated Health & Medicine (AIHM) is an interprofessional community of healthcare providers, researchers and academics. We are singularly united by the common goal of advancing the knowledge, practice and policies that champion treating the “whole” person — mind, body, spirit, community and planet.
Inviting and unifying conventional, traditional and interprofessional practitioners, alike, AIHM remains grounded in the fundamental tenets of health: equity, diversity and justice. Driven to integrate care disciplines for improving patient, provider and practice outcomes, AIHM is a welcome home to all proponents of Whole Health.
A history of integrative health
As an academic, archival and community-building organization, our charter is to more holistically unify the diverse voices of traditional, complementary and integrative healthcare — known globally as TCIH. AIHM is the nexus where the latest evidence-based care models of conventional allopathic medicine, traditional healing practices, and complementary integrative health are explored, evaluated and seamlessly integrated toward the goal of prioritizing Whole Health — for the patient, the practitioner and the practice. Individuals and organizations that join AIHM are committed to the highest levels of scientific rigor in TCIH worldwide. United, we’re creating a healthier world for humanity and the planet. But we didn’t get here overnight.
Early leaders in holistic health
In the late 1970s, remarkable groupings of new energy and interest began to take shape in USA health and medicine. Within a few short years, from 1977-1983, new organizations and initiatives to advance the philosophies and practices of holistic doctors, holistic nurses, naturopathic doctors, licensed East Asian practitioners, chiropractic doctors, mind-body research in academic medicine, related herb and natural products industries, and others, were each independently founded.
Thirty-five years later, AIHM was created to provide the first, inclusive, unifying vehicle to advance the movement for the shared values and practices of each of these, then, separate interests.
In 1977, a group of visionary physicians, including Norman Shealy, Gladys Taylor McGarey, Bill McGarey, Gerald Looney, and Evarts Loomis gathered at Meadowlark in Hemet, CA, to lay the foundation for the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA). Norm Shealy became the first president of AHMA, and in 1978, the first meeting was held in Denver, CO. At the 1980 AHMA Conference, Norm and his wife, Chardy, met Charlotte McGuire, RN, and encouraged her to start a holistic nursing association. In 1981, Charlotte held the first national meeting of the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). Over the next four decades, pioneers within AHMA and AHNA advanced holistic medicine and holistic nursing. Simultaneously, pioneers from naturopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine and East Asian medicine were advancing their professions in the USA.
Holistic physicians had another important organization, the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM). ABIHM was working alongside AHMA in developing certification for physicians.
In 2013, leaders from other licensed integrative health professions, including chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, licensed acupuncturists, and holistic nurses, joined to form the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM).
AIHM unified, for the first time in history, all of the holistic and integrative health professions under one common and inclusive organization – holistic medical doctors, holistic nurses, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, licensed acupuncturists and many more professions.