Integrative Health is Redefining Medicine

Jeanne Drisko, MDJeanne Drisko, MD, founder of Integrative Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a nationally recognized clinician, educator, and researcher in nutrition and integrative health, vividly remembers the turning point in her career. It was in the 1980s, and after years of practicing conventional medicine six or seven days a week, often on night call for a week at a time, she was burnt out.

Many times on her days off, Dr. Drisko could not muster the energy to get out of bed, and she could not fathom why she was perpetually fatigued. Then a physician friend suggested that she begin taking nutritional supplements. Dr. Drisko’s medical school training had discouraged their use, so she had long held an anti-supplement bias. But within two weeks of taking supplements, she felt much better. In retrospect, she says, she was suffering from adrenal fatigue, a condition about which her medical training had taught her nothing.

Annoyed by this training deficiency and fueled with a newfound sense of purpose, Dr. Drisko began seeking out information for herself. She attended integrative medicine conferences, followed the field’s thought leaders, and eventually, began training with Hugh Riordan, MD, an integrative medicine pioneer. The year she spent training with Dr. Riordan, “opened up an incredible world” for her, Dr. Drisko said.

For instance, the use of high-dose IV Vitamin C as a therapy “was nothing short of miraculous.”  She saw it reverse symptoms in fibromyalgia patients and cancer patients alike. Eventually, she developed an interest in environmental toxicity after she began seeing more patients in their 30s with low levels of sex steroid hormones, dysfunctional thyroids, bowel disease, and fatigue. Through a process of testing, she discovered that these patients had alarming levels of chemicals in their system – chemicals of the kind found in paint solvents, plastics, makeup, and personal care products.

In describing how she treated these patients, Dr. Drisko likens medicine to a tree, with conventional medicine and all its diagnoses as the branches and leaves. But to treat her patients properly, she says, she moved down to the roots, looking at their biochemistry, the quality of the soil, and the nutrients being absorbed. Essentially, she wanted to know what nutrients her patients lacked and what chemicals they needed to eliminate.

Through lab testing for micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and good fats, Dr. Drisko was able to recommend the clean food and nutrients her patients needed, and, over the years, she has helped countless such patients this way. “If you can clean up a person’s infrastructure,” Dr. Drisko says, “they will get better on their own.”

Her 20 years of integrative medicine practice has only cemented her belief that one of the most important aspects of medical care is the  doctor’s relationship with the patient. Sadly, she thinks that in the current healthcare environment, insurance companies and drug companies have fractured this bond, so the resulting frustration that many physicians experience should not be a surprise. To young medical students, she advises: keep an open mind, read broadly, and be a lifelong learner.

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) hails Dr. Drisko as an inspiration for physicians seeking to pursue a medical approach that reaffirms the bond between doctor and patient and treats the root cause of illness instead of the symptoms.  Through our Member Board, the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM), we offer qualified physicians certification in this emerging specialty. For information about our eligibility requirements, contact the ABPS today.


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House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
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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