The World Health Organization’s Definition of Health Sounds Familiar

Integrative Medicine DefinitionIn 1945, diplomats from around the world came together to form the United Nations, and one of the first priorities of this new international organization was to develop a global health organization that would later become the World Health Organization. When drafting the preamble to the organization’s constitution, the first leaders of the WHO felt it prudent to include a concise definition of health. They wrote: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” To physicians who specialize in integrative medicine, this definition could not be more relevant. The WHO’s definition of health is essentially the defining characteristic of integrative medicine.

Yet, while some people still look at integrative medicine as an emerging field of healthcare, the WHO’s constitution, which was ratified in 1948, clearly demonstrates that this isn’t such a novel approach to medicine. Like the WHO, integrative medicine specialists are concerned with treating the person, not just the disease. This can include conventional forms of medicine but also prioritizes complementary and alternative methods as well. The goal is to provide the patient with the best possible care in order to achieve optimal health, and integrative medicine specialists believe in using all of the tools at their disposal. Some examples of the alternative and complementary medicine that are often used in integrative medicine include:

  • The use of natural supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates
  • Chiropractic adjustment
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Diet adjustment

At the American Board of Integrative Medicine®, our Diplomates are leaders in the field of integrative medicine. If you are a physician with extensive expertise and experience in the specialty, contact us to learn about our eligibility requirements and the benefits of board certification through the ABOIM, a member board of the American Board of Physician Specialists®. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc®.

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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
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