|I am pleased to be back in the business – after a three year semi-sabbatical hiatus – of providing a newsletter for the fields of complementary and integrative medicine. The landscape has shifted. The field has matured since the excitement of the 1995-2002 era. New challenges and new opportunities areemerging.Vision
“We envision a healthcare system that is multidisciplinary and enhances competence, mutual respect and collaboration across all healthcare disciplines. This system will deliver effective care that is patient-centered, focused on health creation and healing and readily accessible to all populations.”
This is the vision statement established by the National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care:Creating Common Ground, a project of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to serve with this initiative, which is led by educator-leaders of 12 health professions disciplines. The vision we collaboratively established is one that this publication endorses.
Mission: The Role of The Integrator Blog
In default mode, most of us focus on the particular challenges of our own disciplines or stakeholder groups. We return to the known. Integration, by nature, asks us to open our peripheral visions. We are served to look at the whole of the field. We need to develop new fascia, new connectivity. Opportunities crop up in new places. These News and Reports are meant to be a kind of one-stop shopping to help you in your efforts to enhance integrated care in the environment you serve.
We are, though frequently loosely conjoined, a subset of the broader healthcare industry. We share — to greater and lesser degrees — a desire to transform that $2-trillion juggernaut. My bias is that we will ultimately have more leverage if we learn better how to work together, whether in our clinics, our regions, or nationally. When I began publishing my first hard-copy newsletter in this field, The Integrator for the Business of Alternative Medicine, I announced the newsletter’s mission this way:
Shaping an Industry, Creating Health.
The mission remains.
Advancing integrated health care is a passion of a subset of leaders of health profession disciplines, educational institutions, hospitals, natural products manufacturers, philanthropy, government agencies, insurers and employers. Many in each of our own fields scoff at the investment of energy in developing new relationships. As such, we are yet an agglomeration of minorities.
It is each of you as change agents which The Integrator Blog is meant to serve. Those of you who are receiving this were past recipients of The Integrator, its companion electronic News Files or are colleagues from my more recent work. (See the back issues under core resources.) I apologize if you would rather not receive these. Hit unsubscribe, below.
If you like what you see, please feel free to pass on this link to any of your colleagues.
Coming Home … and What the Blog-form Offers
Many of you will know that my interlude of not writing was defined largely by a family sabbatical in Central America. (See “Sabbatical” button, upper left.) When I began thinking about re-entry, my colleague and mentor, Clem Bezold, chair of the Institute for Alternative Futures mentioned a direction that to me was strange. Clem told me of the blogging phenomenon which took off while I was (mostly) away. He thought I was a “natural blogger.”
Wondering if this was a compliment, I asked him why. He mentioned my reporting, my straight talk, my reputation for being a (relatively) independent voice, my ease in finding a perspective or two on any given subject, my pleasure in goading things along, and my enjoyment in networking. It took me six months of my return before I realized the shoe fit.
The blog offers many new possibilities. Polls. Quick feedback. Your commentary. Columns. Forums. Much of this will develop in time. I am young to the medium. How would you like to see it used? What would you like to see reported? I am open to your ideas.
A Note on the Blanche DuBois Business Model
When I told Clem I was going ahead with this, he asked me what my business model was. The character Blanche DuBois speaks, in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, of having “always depended on the kindness of strangers.” I confess that I have the idea that if this information proves valuable to some of you — whether stranger, colleague or friend — you will click on that Voluntary Contributions button on the right side and help support the work. Thanks, in advance.
For now, special thanks to the NCMIC Group and its president, Lou Sportelli. If Clem provided the mind-stimulus, Lou and NCMIC stepping forward with an early sponsorship provided the body’s economic fuel to get this rolling.
John Weeks, publisher-editor