Understanding Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine ABOIM | ABPSIntegrative Medicine is a medical specialty that combines best practices from conventional medicine and alternative therapies to deliver the best possible care to the patient. Physicians who specialize in this discipline are committed to not only symptom-driven treatment but also health promotion and general patient wellness to ensure optimal care. As a result of this novel approach, a strong relationship between physician and patient tends to develop as they work together to help the patient be as healthy as possible.

Dr. Mimi Guarneri, MD, is a founding member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® – the nation’s first Member Board dedicated to providing board certification to physicians who specialize in this emerging field. Dr. Guarneri is also a cardiologist who recognized that taking a holistic approach to heart health can have a profound impact on potentially preventing avoidable diseases later in life. She recently told Fine Magazine that “Through research, education and the construction of our own healing programs, we value and recognize the wisdom of all healing traditions.”

Integrative Medicine Treats the Root Cause of Illness

Integrative Medicine also tends to prioritize natural and less invasive treatments whenever possible, although the top priority is to deliver the best possible care possible using all available means. As Dr. Guarneri explains, “it is easy to diagnose and prescribe medication. But what is the root cause [of the patient’s condition)]? Integrative medicine studies the individual’s stress level, nutrition intake, possible environmental toxins and where he/she is mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Then, we better understand the entire picture.”

Dr. Guarneri advocates for a more holistic healthcare model, departing from the conventional approach of relying on medications for every ailment. In her perspective, medication represents only a small facet of a holistic model that encompasses the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Dr. Guarneri asserts that addressing the root cause of an illness is key to treating chronic conditions, emphasizing the significance of integrative health and medicine.

The holistic model that Dr. Guarneri promotes views patients as much more than their physical bodies and recognizes that there are links between heart disease and ailments such as anxiety, stress, and depression. This holistic model of integrative medicine sees illness prevention as the foundation of health care and encourages medical professionals to work collaboratively to heal body, mind, and spirit.

With Integrative Medicine, the focus is placed on the whole person and identifying ways to make that person as healthy as possible through lifestyle adjustments, nutrition education, exercise and other therapies. The ultimate goal of this approach is to improve patient satisfaction by strengthening the relationship between provider and patient, reduce instances of avoidable health conditions like obesity and diabetes, and alleviate some of the burden on the healthcare system as a whole over the long term.

Integrative Medicine Board Certification Through the ABPS

At the ABOIM, a Member Board developed by the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we provide board certification to the most highly qualified and experienced Integrative Medicine physicians in the specialty. Becoming board certified through the ABOIM also reflects a physician’s commitment to adhering to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics. The ABPS is the only multi-specialty certifying board in the United States to offer integrative medicine board certification. Even as integrative medicine continues to gain wider acceptance, its basic foundational tenets remain constant. These are:

  • Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease
  • The use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
  • Appropriate consideration for less-invasive and less-harmful interventions, when possible, while addressing the whole person in addition to the disease
  • The concept that medicine is based on good science and is inquiry-driven and open to critical consideration of new paradigms
  • Healthcare is best provided as a partnership between physician and patient

To learn more about Integrative Medicine, and to determine if your physician is credentialed through the American Board of Integrative Medicine or other Member Board administered by the American Board of Physician Specialties®, contact us today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

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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