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Integrative Family Medicine Fellowship

Integrating Complementary, Alternative, and Conventional Medicine

In July 2001, the MMC Family Medicine Residency program received a training grant awarded by the National Centers for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health. The main purpose of the project was to design, implement, and evaluate an educational program in CAM and integrative medicine for our residents. This goal was reached and in 2003 the Integrative Medicine Curriculum was fully implemented.

Our curriculum in Complementary and Integrative Medicine describes the principles, safe use, and appropriate referral for selected CAM therapies as well as effective communication with patients about their personal choices in complementary and alternative health care. It is designed to weave these ideas and experiences throughout residents' three-year program. Our goal is to develop physicians who will model a healthy lifestyle and be more collaborative and relationship-centered in their approach to medical care.

In 2008 along with our colleagues at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AZCIM) at the University of Arizona, MMC was one of eight family medicine residencies nationwide to pilot the Integrative Medicine in Residency (IMR) program. Our IMR track offers selected residents in-depth competency-based curriculum in integrative medicine, designed to be incorporated into the typical three-year residency program. Central to IMR is a common web-based curriculum, program-specific experiential exercises, and group process-oriented activities.

Having evaluated the evidence, experienced the therapies, and built collaborative relationships with community practitioners of CAM, residents will understand and be in a better position to evaluate and incorporate approaches to healing that are often considered to be outside the conventional medical paradigm.

The Integrative Family Medicine (IFM) Program is a four-year combined family medicine residency program and integrative medicine fellowship. The program was designed jointly in 2003 by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AZCIM) at the University of Arizona and family medicine residency programs at Maine Medical Center, Beth Israel/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Middlesex Hospital, Oregon Health & Science University, and the Universities of Arizona and Wisconsin.

Graduates of this program will manifest the philosophy and practice of integrative medicine which is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. (Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine) Graduates receive a certificate in integrative family medicine from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and Maine Medical Center.

MMC participants complete their family medicine residency at MMCFMRP in three years, enroll in the distributed learning fellowship at AZCIM during post-graduate years two through four (1000 hours and three residential weeks with PIM in Tucson) and are mentored by MMC faculty fellowship-trained in integrative medicine throughout their four years.

The distance learning program requires about 6 hours each week and three, 1 week sessions in Tucson during PGY-2, PGY-3 and PGY-4. The PGY-4 year provides supervised, structured opportunities for the fellow to provide integrative medicine consultation, discuss cases in a multi-disciplinary conference, develop skills in Osteopathic manual medicine, medical acupuncture and other areas of complementary and alternative medicine, and continue to provide family medicine care to a panel of patients.

Maine Medical Center is a member of the MaineHealth System