At the IOM Integrative Medicine Conference: Nursing Crucial to Model of Care


On February 25-27, 2009, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened the “Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public” in Washington, DC, to advance the science, understanding, and progress of integrative medicine (“health care that addresses together the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of the healing process”)

             I’ll cut right to the chaseI have a problem with the term “integrative medicine,” and I’m glad to report that I wasn’t alone. On day one a number of the 650 diverse practitioners chimed in about the lack of inclusiveness in that terminology. Dr. Beverly Malone, the CEO of the National League for Nursing, voiced a strong statement that the term was not inclusive and requested that “integrative health care” be used instead. She reminded everyone of the historically critical role nursing and other health care professionals have played in the development of this model of care. By the end of the meeting the consensus was that the field should be called integrative healthnot CAM, not integrative medicine. We’ll see.

The only nurse presenter. Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, founder and director of the Center for Spirituality and Healing, professor of nursing at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the editorial board of AJN, was the only nurse presenter out of 40. There were no nurses on the two-year planning committee. Kreitzer had testified the day before to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on health care reform. Key points from her remarks include the need for care models that shift orientation from disease to well-being, a restructuring of reimbursement, and the use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to deliver 80% of primary care nationally. She ended with a bold innovative modelpartner federally funded community health centers with schools of nursing and other educational institutions (e.g., Chinese medicine/acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic) across the country to create a comprehensive, integrative health care model. This dynamic relationship could provide patients access to care, sites for research, and an incubator for transforming professional health education.

            It was suggested that nursing should be represented on the planning committee. It’s time to act to shift the current U.S. health care system from one that is disease oriented and physician-centric. Let’s take this to the next level. Nurses can foster innovation and create models of care and be equal partners invested in reforming health care.

Barbara Glickstein, MPH, MS, RN, is an independent broadcast journalist in NYC and a member of the board of Project Kesher. She is also on the editorial board of the American Journal of Nursing, where in November 2008 she wrote an article on human trafficking.


2016-11-21T13:38:22+00:00 March 10th, 2009|career|2 Comments
Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Barbara Glickstein March 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Dear Ms. Clafferty,
    Thank you for posting your comment.Dr. MaryJo Kreitzer is an inspiration to me too. Have you participated in the national dialogue on health care reform? Sent in your ideas to the new administation? Adding your voice to the issue of health care reform is critical too. Plus, I am confident that they need to hear from smart informed nurses like you.
    Be well.
    Barbara Glickstein

  2. Sara Clafferty, BSN, RN March 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN is an inspiration to me. As a new nurse, I could not wait to graduate in May 2008, to start making a difference for my patients. I love that I have been given a gift to heal not only using medicine but also using love, kindness, and respect for a whole person. The latter, I have found, is equally important in the healing process, giving patients a sense of hope even in their ugliest days.
    As the only nurse standing before suits and ties, Ms. Kreitzer must be commended. From what this article states, she has allowed those who have never step foot into a clinical setting to understand the depth of care each patient needs. Medicine alone does not cure. The complexity of the health care system need not slowly phase out the direct caregivers and knowledge they give to patients. I will advocate with Ms. Kreitzer for care that embodies spirituality, emotions, and physical healing. I hope that the rest of the nation can join her.

Comments are moderated before approval, but always welcome.

%d bloggers like this: