The track is an intensive four-year study program, in addition to the standard curriculum. Students who complete the requirements will graduate with distinction, as recognized by the college's dean.
The Educational Policy Committee at the UA College of Medicine-Tucson unanimously approved the proposal in June, allowing the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine to create the IM Distinction Track – an honor shared by only three other areas of focus at the college.
The track will focus on integrative medicine – healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (mind, body and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle.
IM emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of appropriate therapies, both complementary and alternative, seamlessly blending conventional medical training with other modalities for disease prevention and to better trigger the body's innate healing response.
"Preventive medicine is a crucial part of a medical professionals' training and is often minimalized in conventional medical training," said Dr. Andrew Weil, center founder and director. "Receiving this additional training early in their career will give UA College of Medicine students an advantage in their residency and practice and a more comprehensive set of skills for treating and communicating with their patients."
Enrollment in the IM Distinction Track will be open to first- and second-year medical students at the UA College of Medicine-Tucson beginning with the fall 2011 semester.
It will require participation in the center's month-long integrative medicine elective rotation, attendance at grand rounds presentations and patient conferences, monthly special-topics lectures, facilitation of a "healer's art" course, completion of more than 30 hours of online courses, a capstone paper suitable for publication and an oral exam.
"This endorsement by the UA College of Medicine acknowledges the impact and acceptance of integrative medicine as an important field of study, and recognizes our center's role as a leader in medical education," said Dr. Victoria Maizes, executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. "Creation of this track expands our educational opportunities to virtually every level of medical education, from student to seasoned practitioner."
In addition to the Distinction Track, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine offers a month-long rotation for fourth-year medical students and residents, a 200-hour Integrative Medicine in Residency curriculum, utilized at 22 institutions throughout the U.S., including the UA, an internationally recognized fellowship for MDs, DOs, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, as well as an annual nutrition and health conference and stand-alone online courses.
An Integrative Medicine Distinction Track launch party will take place during the fall semester 2011. For more information about any of the center's programs, or to be added to its mailing list, please visit www.azcim.org.