3 Reasons Integrative Medicine has Earned Greater Prominence in the U.S.

Integrative MedicineIntegrative Medicine’s rising prominence in the United States as a model of healthcare has a lot to do with gradually shifting societal attitudes about medicine. This is in keeping with the historical evolution of how medical care has been disseminated in the U.S. For example, in 1980, statistics showed that there were 17,788 practicing Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.) in the U.S. As of 2013, there were an estimated 82,146 osteopathic physicians in the U.S. The D.O. detractors of have become scarce, if not altogether silent.

Integrative Medicine may still have its skeptics, but the past decade has seen the field expand rapidly. The search for an explanation for that expansion starts with this common-sense, straightforward definition of Integrative Medicine: It 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, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.” What once was known loosely as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been expanded and “integrated” with the tested, mainstream medical practices that remain the foundation of the American healthcare system. This concept appeals to many American healthcare consumers.

Here are three reasons Integrative Medicine has risen to prominence in the U.S. during the past decade:

  • Philanthropy − The Bravewell Collaborative, formerly the Philanthropic Collaborative for Integrative Medicine, has helped raise tens of millions of dollars since the late 1990s to encourage the study and practice of the emerging field.
  • Approved fellowships and programs − Medical schools at many prestigious universities (Arizona, Duke, Michigan, Harvard, Yale and Stanford, to name a few) have begun to offer programs and fellowships that focus on the principles of Integrative Medicine. The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine now includes 57 academic medical centers, while more are joining every year.
  • Consumer demand − A 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health concluded that 38 percent of adult Americans sought CAM or Integrative Medicine for healthcare.

The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) created and maintains the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM) as a response, in part, to the growing demand by practicing Integrative Medicine physicians for a platform to achieve board certification. To learn more, or for further information about the emergence of Integrative Medicine as a distinct medical specialty, contact the ABPS. The ABPS is the official board-certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.


Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
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