Supporting Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine in Healthcare
Modern medicine has possibly been, in the words of one medical historian, ‘the greatest gift to mankind’. Along with sanitation, the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have greatly reduced the burden of death and suffering around the world. Modern anaesthesia and surgery have revolutionized the treatment of traumatic injuries and other life-threatening illnesses. A number of pharmaceutical drugs have truly offered major advances in the treatment of disease.
But there is much that may be missing from modern medicine. The rigorous standards of evidence-based medicine have revolutionized the use of scientific research in clinical practice, but they have raised the burden of proof beyond the reach of all but the deepest pockets. Without the support of multi-billion dollar drug companies, many therapies with great potential to benefit mankind remain ‘unproven’. Some have been used for centuries in traditional medical systems, while others have been modern innovations in the use of vitamins and other substances that cannot be patented.
In many cases, a large body of research exists to support the use of these so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies. Unfortunately, the vast majority of practicing medical doctors and other healthcare professionals are completely unaware that this evidence exists. This is because the current system of Continuing Medical Education is based on Clinical Practice Guidelines and other secondary sources that summarize the research literature. These source materials are typically prepared by experts and thought leaders who have little to no knowledge or interest in CAM. The result is usually that non-drug therapies are ignored or discouraged.
During our first four years of clinical practice in integrative medicine, which incorporates CAM therapies into conventional medical care, we have been able to help hundreds of patients achieve remarkable improvements in their health concerns using a wide range of CAM therapies. While many of our medical colleagues have been grateful for our help with their patients, virtually all of them are reluctant to use these therapies themselves. This is partly due to a lack of knowledge, but it is also due to a vague, uncomfortable feeling that this would cause problems for them professionally. They have cited concerns about how they are viewed by their colleagues, as well as worries about being disciplined or punished by regulatory agencies.
We have established the Seekers Centre Foundation to help address some of these concerns. Our focus at this stage will be on three goals:
- To increase awareness among patients and the general public about the use of safe, effective CAM therapies.
- To support knowledge translation in integrative medicine by providing practicing physicians with evidence-based information about CAM therapies
- To support healthcare professionals interested in conducting grassroots research in integrative medicine.
We are currently establishing the infrastructure to support fundraising and programming activities. For more information about what we do and how you can help, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org