Friday, November 4, 2016
What is so international about International College of Integrative Medicine?
I asked that question when I started working here 10 years ago. The answer I got went something like this: we may not have a lot of international members, but we pursue therapies and thought processes that are beyond a country of origin. We think internationally. I have seen that play out as ICIM has consistently brought speakers to our meetings from across the globe. Members and friends from Japan, Denmark, Ecuador, Turkey, Germany, Greece, England, France, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Cuba, and The Netherlands have graced our meetings. Board member Simon Yu has a strong desire to see ICIM grow beyond our borders. In Chicago, he introduced a new international scholarship, a large donation to ICIM for the purpose of off-setting costs so that more people from countries outside the US can be with us. We will maintain that scholarship into the future, and we welcome additional donations to keep it growing strong.
Our community has enjoyed retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica. In September 2016 we’ll meet in Toronto, one of the most “international” cities in the world. Our long term planning team has sights set on Cuba sometime in the near future. We are nurturing relationships with new integrative medicine associations in Canada, Turkey and Nigeria. We look forward to having the honor of affiliating beyond our borders for many years to come. -
When I started working with ICIM ten years ago, I quickly learned that integrative medicine had enemies. Shady entities like the Federation of State Medical Boards and Quackbusters were organized with the single aim to slander and persecute physicians who explored natural medicine. According to consumer advocate and past ICIM member Tim Bolin, Stephen Barrett MD (who the Pennsylvania licensing board officially classifies as "Not in Good Standing,") single handedly operates "quackwatch.com" out of his basement in Allentown, Pennsylvania. http://www.quackpotwatch.org/WisconsinWar/who_are_these_so.htm.
Insurance companies fund vigorous lawsuits, and doctors who do alternative therapies risk being accused of Medicare and Medicaid fraud because there are no codes to match their methods. Our own James Carter MD wrote a comprehensive book Racketeering In Medicine as a resource describing the war against holistic healing.
Wikipedia is among the ranks of detractors. The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology created a petition to Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia: Create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing. It says “Unfortunately, much of the information related to holistic approaches to healing is biased, misleading, out-of-date, or just plain wrong...For five years, repeated efforts to correct this misinformation have been blocked.” Change.org expanded the request, with almost 8,000 supporters writing, "As gatekeepers for the status quo, they refuse discourse with leading edge research scientists and clinicians or, for that matter, anyone with a different point of view.” Jimmy Wales’s response unveiled his personal bias, calling integrative medicine practitioners “lunatic charlatans.” The website Natural News did an exposé on the issue. In 10 shocking facts you never knew about Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales, Mike Adams writes, “Wikipedia claims to be run by "volunteers" but is actually edited by corporate-paid trolls on many topics such as GMOs, vaccines, chemotherapy and pharmaceuticals... The fact that Wales continues to allow anonymous editing across Wikipedia means any corporate troll can alter information in Wikipedia pages to benefit the financial interests of that corporation (or government, or industry group, etc.). http://www.naturalnews.com/051060_wikipedia_Jimmy_Wales_extortion_racket.html#
Wikipedia isn’t the only trusted source of news that is openly hostile toward integrative medicine. The Alliance for Natural Health accused PBS of relying on “expert testimony” from Big Pharma employees their Frontline documentary program, produced in part by the Canadian Broadcasting Commission. Frontline aired an hour-long program titled Supplements and Safety which left viewers with the one-sided impression that dietary supplements are unregulated and unsafe.http://www.anh-usa.org/has-pbs-become-a-front-for-big-pharma/
These days, integrative medicine faces new challenges with increasingly restricted access to sterile water, LDA, EDTA, and other vital supplies. Even the compounding pharmacies we rely on are threatened; we risk losing our source of essential tools for our practice of medicine.
As we gather in Toronto, ICIM will create a sanctuary from our enemies.
On Friday night we have rented a small Gothic church for a private organ recital. This lovely building has become a testimony to tenacity and stubbornness. Toronto reporter Kevin Plummer wrote an article telling the story called Historicist: The Heart of the City: The eventful history of the Church of the Holy Trinity http://torontoist.com/2012/10/historicist-the-heart-of-the-city/
In the summer of 1845, Mary Lambart Swale of Settle, England died at the age of 25, and gave the Toronto Diocese a gift of 5000 sterling to build a church. Unlike other Anglican churches which relied on the sale of pews as a major source of revenue, Mary stipulated that the pews of her church would be “free and unappropriated forever.” This unique policy opened the door for not only poor people of the city of Toronto, but eventually other outcasts: draft-dodgers, hippies, professors, and excommunicated priests.
Holy Trinity came into a blazing spotlight in the mid-60s when the Eaton family and investors announced a $200 million downtown development to take place on and around its property. The church flatly refused to sell, to the consternation of the mayor and many local politicians. Instead, they held out for their alternate plan of creating a park surrounding the church, an oasis from city “progress” all around it.
Today on its website The Church of the Holy Trinity describes itself as” a community of people who seek to express Christian faith through lives of integrity, justice and compassion. We foster lay leadership, include the doubter and the marginalized, and challenge oppression wherever it may be found.”
By struggling against powerful forces of mainstream culture, Holy Trinity has maintained itself as a place of healing and hope.
We need to stay ever focused on our calling and mission as physicians and healers. First, to do no harm. As we re-examine this oath, we need to understand what is wrong with the current standard of care. Propped up by gatekeepers of corrupt political systems and big money rather than pure scientific exploration, mainstream medicine has turned away from the physician’s ancient mandate to help the body heal itself.
With an insatiable curiosity for what works, ICIM is about expanding the evidence, opening the envelope, and open minded exploration tempered by critical thinking and scientific training.