Integrative Medicine is the Solution to Chronic Illness

Dr. Mimi GuarneriFrom alleviating symptoms of heart disease to efficiently treating trauma patients, modern medicine has ushered in myriad obvious benefits. But it also comes with limitations that the medical community has been slow to recognize.  Across the specialties, physicians have been trained in acute care, but not preventive care. For instance, when faced with a sick patient, a doctor’s routine response is to begin implementing a diagnostic and treatment plan. Too often, however, doctors fail to ask the key question that addresses wider concerns: What factors caused this particular ailment to show up in this patient? In other words, doctors may know how to restore blood to a diseased heart, but are they educated about all the interrelated aspects of heart disease prevention in the first place?

What we know today about chronic disease treatment leaves a lot to be desired. In 2009, the World Health Organization said that chronic disease is the most severe threat to global economic development. Consider that three in ten deaths are related to cardiovascular disease, ten percent of world’s population has diabetes, and eight million deaths every year can be attributed to indoor and outdoor pollution. We know that the health of human beings is related to the health of the planet. Informed by the science of health, we are also keenly aware about the harmful effects of exposure to chemicals and about the risk of eating produce treated with certain pesticides. So, why aren’t we putting the science of health into better practice?

Dr. Mimi Guarneri – president of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and a founding board member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM) – says we need a more holistic model of health care, a shift away from traditional medicine that has a pill for every ailment. Medication is just a small piece of a holistic model that embraces body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Dr. Guarneri believes that the solution to treating chronic illness lies in integrative health and medicine, the essence of which is to get to the underlying cause of an illness in order to reverse the process. She calls for a return to the wisdom of the global healing traditions, such as Ayuveda and traditional Chinese medicine, which teach healthcare providers how to keep people well.

Dr. Guarneri promotes an approach to patient care that utilizes appropriate therapies for optimal health. In treating chronic illness, physicians should take into account lifestyle and environmental factors such as a patient’s diet, exercise, his or her community, and how the patient responds to stress. As for genetics, research has shown that lifestyle changes like exercise, yoga, a vegan diet and meditation can downregulate cancer genes.

A model that embraces human beings as much more than our physical bodies recognizes that there are links between heart disease and ailments such as anxiety, stress, and depression. It recognizes – as studies also show – that chronic stress raises levels of cholesterol and blood sugar, and is even linked to osteoporosis. Dr. Guarneri sees illness prevention as the foundation of health care and encourages medical professionals to work collaboratively to heal body, mind, and spirit.

The ABOIM, a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), espouses healthy living and illness prevention, and offers certification in integrative medicine. For more information about the ABOIM, contact the ABPS today.


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June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine