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Osher Integrative Medicine Programs

In 1998 and 2001, the Foundation established two centers for integrative medicine – the first at the University of California, San Francisco and the second at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. In 2005, the Foundation, in partnership with the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, provided support for the founding of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The Foundation selected Northwestern University and Vanderbilt University as new grantees in its integrative medicine program in 2014.

The five grantees, operating in conjunction with highly respected medical schools and medical centers, support activity in the areas of education, research, and clinical services. They emphasize the combined use of modern medicine with complementary therapies and established healing practices to promote health and wellness. Various approaches include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, acupressure, herbal remedies, yoga, massage, guided imagery, and mindfulness-based meditation. Information and treatments informed by Ayurvedic and Chinese medical traditions are often available and guidance is provided regarding nutrition and exercise.

One of the primary goals of the Osher Centers is to conduct basic research on integrative medicine remedies, examine their consequences, and build an empirical case for their application. A second goal is to reach out to a larger community with an emphasis on preventive care. The Centers seek to educate both medical practititoners as well as the general public. Seminars and conferences help introduce people to the benefits of integrative and complementary approaches to good health and well-being. A third goal is to establish clinical treatment programs in which the knowledge and resources of integrative medicine can be used directly to help patients as well as furnish traning opportunities for medical students.

The program at UCSF is led by Dr. Margaret Chesney; the Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) program is headed by Dr. Helene Langevin with Dr. Donald Levy overseeing the clinical center at BWH. Dr. Martin Ingvar is the director of the Osher Center at the Karolinska Institute while Dr. Melinda Ring leads the Northwestern unit and Dr. Roy Elam directs the program at Vanderbilt.

The Foundation has provided support over the years to other integrative medicine initiatives including Dr. Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona; Dr. Rachel Remen’s integrative medicine curriculum for medical students; and a seven-year career development award for integrative and complementary medicine practitioners through the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complemtnary and Alternative Medicine. The Foundation also has contributed funding for the national conferences of the Consortium of Academic Centers for Integrative Medicine, the most recent of which was held in Miami, Florida in May 2014.

The Foundation's integrative medicine program is not receiving proposals at this time. Because the Foundation aims to remain abreast of developments at academic institutions with integrative medicine programs, interested parties may submit 2-3 page descriptions of their activities in the areas of education, research, and clinical practice. Such submissions would be filed and, should the Foundation decide to expand the number of its grantees in the integrative medicine area, the documents would be reviewed and appropriate communication with the applicant(s) would ensue.

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