What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative Medicine brings together conventional (traditional Western) medicine with evidence-based complementary therapies to treat the whole patient.  Conventional medicine includes prescription drugs, medical imaging, and surgery.  Complementary therapies include using acupuncture, yoga, meditation, massage, chiropractic care, and diet to treat and manage disease.  The American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®) and the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health define it as the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, makes use of all appropriate evidence-based therapeutic approaches, health care professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. 

Office of Integrative Medicine and Health

Housed within the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), Department of Clinical Research and Leadership (CRL), the Office of Integrative Medicine (OIMH) creates a collaborative space for SMHS faculty, staff, and clinician affiliates to focus on educational and scholarly activities within Integrative Medicine.

OIMH engages and supports GW medical and academic faculty in Integrative Medicine practice, and connects with the larger community of complementary medicine practitioners who form the foundation of the practice. 

OIMH drives coordination among multiple educational programs at GW, including graduate-level academic programs, continuing education and training, as well as medical student and resident clinical rotations. Integration of the programs will increase the overall impact and foster synergy within a unified vision.

Leading from the front

Early on, the SMHS recognized the value of combining conventional and complementary medical therapies into health care. In 1998, John Pan, MD ’70, RESD ’74, then a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, founded the Center for Integrative Medicine, one of the first of its kind to be established at an academic medical institution. He is now the founding medical director of OIMH.

Through partnerships, OIMH can advance this important field of medicine, enrich training opportunities for health care professional learners, and combine conventional and complementary medical therapies to address patients’ multidimensional needs.

OIMH will also offer a broad array of educational seminars and programs for the community in order to promote patient-centered care, well-informed healthcare consumers, and educated self-advocates. Community outreach will help deliver this approach to care to medically underserved communities.

Integrative Medicine at GW

OIMH builds upon the already strong GW Integrative Medicine Programs, such as the master’s degree and graduate certificate programs; 4-year Integrative Medicine Track for SMHS students; elective rotations for SMHS students; and collaborations with other health care providers to advance Integrative Medicine practice and research.

The Integrative Medicine Programs provides health care professionals with unique opportunities to enhance their education, including the only Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Integrative Medicine offered at a major academic medical center and the first and only MSHS in Integrative Medicine in Nutrition.

The online MSHS curriculum represents the most progressive, scientifically rigorous, and forward-thinking platform for medical wellness.

The Fellowship in Integrative Medicine is for physicians who have already earned their MSHS in Integrative Medicine. The program encourages exploration of various aspects of Integrative Medicine through online, in-person, scholarly, and practical experiences.

The graduate certificate in Integrative Medicine retains the key concepts and approaches defined in the MSHS in Integrative Medicine offered through the SMHS. Graduates are equipped to embrace the changing demands and innovations of the healthcare landscape.