Osher Integrative Health Program
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 Health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The Foundation selected Northwestern University and Vanderbilt University as new grantees in its integrative medicine program in 2014 and added the University of Miami in 2017 and the University of Washington in 2018. In 2021, the University of Cincinnati joined the consortium as did the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2022. Later in 2022, the University of Utah and the University of Vermont.
The eleven 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 healthcare practitioners 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 training opportunities for medical students.
The program at UCSF is led by Dr. Shelley Adler; the Harvard/Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) program is headed by Director Dr. Peter Wayne. Dr. Mats Lekander is the director of the Osher Center at the Karolinska Institute while Dr. Melinda Ring leads the Northwestern unit and Dr. Gurjeet Birdee serves as director of the program at Vanderbilt. Dr. Robert Schwartz is Osher Center director at the University of Miami and Dr. Iman Majd is Director at the University of Washington. Dr. Sian Cotton heads the program at the University of Cincinnati and Greta Kuphal, M.D. directs the Osher Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Amy Locke, M.D. is director of the University of Utah's Osher Center and Jon Porter, M.D. heads the program at the University of Vermont. A Coordinating Center supporting the Osher Collaborative for Integrative Health has been established at UCSF.
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 Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The Foundation also has contributed funding for the national conferences of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, now known as the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health.
The Foundation's integrative health 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 health area, the documents would be reviewed and appropriate communication with the applicant(s) would ensue.