An ABOIM Diplomate’s Personal Journey into Integrative Medicine

Physician's Journey Into Integrative MedicineOver the course of her career, Dr. Amy Baruch, an Emergency Medicine physician at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, observed that the majority of her patients have multiple chronic medical issues. These are often paired with a long list of medications, often with their own side effects.  Intuitively, she knew that this was not optimal medical care and that lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and stress, was the key to unlocking these often-related disorders. This led Dr. Baruch to explore additional medical education with a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, the program started by Dr. Andrew Weil over 20 years ago.

The Fellowship at UA is inclusive of Western medicine and includes evidence-based practices in nutrition, supplements and botanicals, exercise, stress management, sleep medicine, spirituality, mind-body modalities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and guided imagery.  The Fellowship also explores other world health traditions including Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Sadly, six months into her fellowship, Dr. Baruch’s partner of five years died in a motorcycle accident. This personal tragedy ushered in a profound experience. Dr. Baruch discovered that by using patient-care practices she was learning, she could keep herself well, and by keeping herself well, she was able to take better care of her patients. “My self-compassion translated into more compassion for my patients,” Dr. Baruch says.

“Compassion is the critical ingredient to helping patients heal,” says Dr. Baruch, now a Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM). “In Integrative Medicine, healing is possible even if curing is not.” By showing patients an exceptional level of attention and compassion, she says, the physician creates a connection that is absolutely critical to the healing process. This, in turn, “heals the healer.”

The ABOIM is a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties ® (ABPS), whose Diplomates have remarkable stories like Dr. Baruch’s to share, stories from which patients and the medical community can draw hope and inspiration. If you would like to learn more about Integrative Medicine and the ABOIM, contact the ABPS – the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

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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