Integrative Medicine Today – Q&A with Mimi Guarneri, MD
What are some of the major challenges in health care right now? And how is AIHM working to be a part of the solution?
One of the biggest challenges in health care right now is that we don’t have a system that focuses on health. We actually have a disease care system. Healthcare providers have been trained to treat people after they get ill. The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine is totally focused on keeping people well. How do we create health and not just treat disease? In order to do that, we need to have evidence-based information that translates science into health and healing into practice. The Academy’s work is showing practitioners how we take that information and apply it into practice the day after we leave one of our conferences, a Fellowship summit, or online learning course.
How has the field of integrative medicine changed over the course of your career?
I started practicing Integrative Medicine in the 1990s. We coined the term, and it was a term that was rarely used when we created the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. Integrative medicine, for me, has been a path to prevention of disease. As a cardiologist, particularly in the ’90s as an interventional cardiologist, I began to question why people keep coming back into the hospital with blockages in their arteries. Very quickly I realized that is about our life, and that our biology literally becomes our or biography. What do we eat? What type of nutrients are we taking in? Are we sleeping well? Are we under stress, and how do we respond to stress and tension? Are we anxious and depressed? All of these things go into making up who we are as human beings. We had no framework for all of this when I graduated from medical school. I graduated in 1988 without a nutrition class, without any mind-body training, and without any knowledge of global healing traditions, like ayurvedic medicine or traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, even chiropractic or osteopathic medicine. We weren’t taught about it in medical school. It’s been a long journey, but I’m happy to say we are finally transforming the practice of health and medicine to become more integrative. The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine is about treating the whole person: body, mind, emotions and spirit. We recognize that prevention is truly the best intervention and mechanical fixes are there when we need them. We also recognize that the health of the planet is intimately connected to human health.
Tell me about the AIHM Conference, especially for those who have not attended in the past?
Our conference is always focused on three key things: people, how do we heal people, and the planet. We have to practice ecological medicine because what’s good for the planet is good for human health, and we explore our purpose. How do we live our lives? How do we become the people that we hope to become and wish to become as physicians, health educators and health providers?
At the conference this year, September 22-26, we are really excited to be doing updates on men’s health and women’s health. We will have experts in environmental illness that will be speaking about the impact of toxins on human health. We will be talking about advocacy for integrative and preventive medicine. I’m really thrilled that this year we will be opening our conference with Dr. Gladys McGarey. She will be highlighting the power of integrative and holistic medicine and highlighting her journey over the past 97 years, where she was and where we need to go. As usual, the conference will be filled with evidence-based research and learning the latest in nutritional medicine and functional medicine, everything from gut repair to the environment. We are covering the full spectrum with incredible faculty and speakers, and I’m really excited about this year’s event.
What makes the AIHM Conference unique compared with other medical conferences?
The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine Conference is totally unique because we bring together everyone interprofessionally. It doesn’t matter if you’re an MD, ND, RN, DO, chiropractor, dentist, massage therapist or acupuncturist. Everyone is coming together at the same venue, saying we believe that prevention is the best intervention. We need to embrace the wisdom of all global healing traditions and believe that the sustainability of our planet is integral to human health. We recognize treating a whole person, body, mind, emotions and spirit is the only way to go. What also makes AIHM unique is that we believe in sustainability not only as an add-on but in everything that we do. In addition to large keynote presentations, we have a wide variety of breakout sessions and workshops to choose from so that you can expand your knowledge in the area of medicine or health care that you are excited about. Whether it’s pain management, gut health, environmental toxins, climate change or cardiovascular disease, there is something for everyone interested in integrative health.
What would you tell a practitioner who doesn’t feel they have time to step away from their practice to attend a conference?
First, this is not a conference. This is an experience! The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine is a tribe of like-minded professionals who are looking to create health, both within themselves and in the patients that they serve. Coming to an AIHM Conference is a life-transforming experience. We hear this over and over again from our friends and from our colleagues. Don’t think of this as a conference, think of this as a learning experience and time to invest in yourself and bring passion back into your practice. You will be able to spend time with like-minded colleagues, laugh a lot and share in the joy of being a health provider again. Please join us to connect with people on a very deep heart level.
Register for the 2018 AIHM Conference before July 31 to take advantage of Early Bird Pricing.
AIHM Premium Members save $350!
NEW Venue for #AIHM18
This year, we are thrilled to be hosting our Annual Conference at a new venue, The Sheraton Hotel & Marina in beautiful San Diego, California! This waterfront hotel is just a few minutes from the famous Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego and offers a free airport shuttle. Click the image below to access a video where you can learn more:
Keynote Speakers Spotlight!
We are excited to announce four of our keynote speakers for AIHM18 Conference:
Dr. Dale Bredesen
Preventing & Reversing Cognitive Decline
Dr. Gladys Taylor McGarey
The Past, Present & Future of Integrative Medicine
Dr. MYles Spar
Men’s Integrative Health
Dr. Tori Hudson
Keynote topic: Women’s Integrative Health
Meet Dr. Carlann DeFontes – AIHM Fellowship Student
Dr. Carlann DeFontes, DO, is the epitome of a lifelong learner and has enjoyed a unique journey into integrative medicine. She was a registered nurse for 18 years before building upon that foundation to become a physician’s assistant. At age 50, she decided to go to the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. Today, she works as a physician at the Veterans Affairs clinic in Molokai, Hawaii.
Over the course of her life, Dr. DeFontes has worked with native populations in Alaska and Hawaii, she’s studied with Deepak Chopra and Lee Lipsenthal, and she’s been meditating since she was 15. She’s been a sponge for global healing traditions and holds a deep desire to explore all bodies of wisdom that have an evidence base and can improve the practice of medicine. When Dr. DeFontes heard about the AIHM Fellowship, she knew it was time to once again broaden her knowledge around healing traditions and integrative practices. She is now a part of the third cohort.
Dr. DeFontes lives on the small island of Molokai, Hawaii, home to just 7,000 people. She describes it as a “sacred area with an increased spiritual awareness” that holds the magic of ancient Hawaiian tradition. It’s not a tourist-centric island. There are no streetlights, and only a handful of small restaurants exist with no box stores. The fastest you can drive is 45 mph.
When Dr. Defontes began her role a physician with the VA clinic, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to bring integrative medicine into her practice. However, she was pleasantly surprised to find that many of her patients are interested in learning about Hawaiian traditional medicine, herbs, teas, supplements and alternative treatments. Recently, Dr. DeFontes was selected to be an educator for the VA Whole Health Program. The Whole Health Education team is made up of 18 members who travel throughout the United States teaching a patient-centered, whole health approach to care. The program is non-profit, with the goal of wellness. Dr. DeFontes believes that her participation in the AIHM Fellowship Program helped her to qualify for the position for which she feels “honored and humbled to have been selected.”
Dr. DeFontes has found that the AIHM Interprofessional Fellowship has expanded her career, helped her prioritize self-care, and thus improved her ability to care for patients and champion integrative health education. When Dr. DeFontes isn’t working, you can find her gardening or taking hikes with her two Labrador retrievers. She is enjoying this moment in her life and said she is “riding the wave of where I’m supposed to be right now.”
Health Care News
AIHM is collaborating with ITN Productions to create a news-style program that will highlight the developments, challenges, and achievements in the field of integrative health and medicine.
New guidelines emerge for depression screenings for teens.
AIHM eLearning Class Previews
Have you tried our eLearning courses?
We offer over 75 online courses on the most fascinating topics in integrative health & medicine. Learn from the comfort of your own home and earn valuable CME credits.
Check out these class previews:
Memory Rescue with Dr. Daniel Amen
The Health Clinic of the Future with Dr. David Rakel
Functional Medicine and Epigenetics with Dr. Deanna Minich
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2017 Conference Recordings