GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences Establishes the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health

This new office will facilitate research, education, and community outreach in the area of integrative medicine
October 16, 2017

WASHINGTON (Sept. 21, 2017) — The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to announce the creation of the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health (OIMH).

This new office is housed within the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership, under the leadership of Leslie Davidson, PhD, department chair. "By bringing integrative medicine (IM) practice, research, and outreach under one roof, our goal is to ensure that evidence-based IM approaches are adopted on a routine basis to enhance traditional medical treatments and provide viable options for patients," said Davidson.

John Pan, MD '70, RESD '74, who founded the Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM) in 1998, will be the founding medical director of OIMH. "I believe integrative medicine is not a specialty, but a practice principle," he explained. "You don't have to specialize in it to put its principles into practice. The principles are universal."

OIMH will build upon a strong foundation of GW programs in IM, such as the master's degree program; a 4-year IM Track for SMHS, School of Nursing, and School of Public Health students; elective rotations for SMHS students, as well as medical residents and fellows; and clinical practice at CIM where medical and other health care providers collaborate in practice and research. OIMH will engage and support GW medical and academic faculty in IM practice and research. It will also seek to connect with the larger community of complementary and alternative medicine practitioners who form the foundation of the practice. OMHI will offer a broad array of educational seminars and programs for the community in order to promote patient-centered, well-informed health care consumer and self-advocates. Additionally, the office will facilitate community outreach that will help deliver IM care to medically underserved communities.

The Office of Integrative Medicine and Health was made possible with a generous donation of $500,000 by GW alumnus Patrick Sung, PhD, JD '77. Sung was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis a few years ago. In seeking effective treatment, he worked with Pan to explore therapies other than the traditional offering. The integrative medicine approaches Sung adopted have put him in remission. "I saw a need to educate both patients and doctors," Sung explained. "It is my hope that by creating this office, we are accelerating the process. Both sides need to be aware of the holistic options, as well. We also hope to encourage others, particularly Chinese Americans who often understand the benefits of integrative medicine, to work to support such initiatives."

As GW's Department of Clinical Research and Leadership works towards global prominence and excellence in innovative education, research and outreach, the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health has been developed as a hallmark of this mission.

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About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences:
Founded in 1824, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation's capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation's capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.