Integrative Medicine Supporters Celebrate Milestone

Transformation is often led by passion, and supporters of the UC Heath Center for Integrative Health and Wellness have a passion for seeing evidence-based integrative medicine therapies such as nutrition, yoga, massage, music, acupuncture, meditation, Tai Chi, stress reduction and more incorporated into Cincinnati’s traditional health care culture. integrative medicine

“We have an amazing health care system that can do wonderful things, but it’s also broken in some ways. It pays to fix people when they are already sick instead of paying to keep people well and focusing on prevention,”  the Center’s Director Sian Cotton, PhD, stated in a welcome address at the first annual “Founding Friends” recognition event May 5.

The event, co-sponsored by founding friends Barbara Gould and Anne Ilyinsky, attracted nearly 100 attendees in support of what Cotton calls “a new health care movement” based at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine.

John Tew, MD, UC professor and renowned neurosurgeon who sits on the center’s advisory board,  was in attendance and spoke about the health benefits of plant- based nutrition, exercise, spirituality and the alleviation of stress as key to “living vital, complete, fulfilling lives.”

“We should be focusing on behavioral and lifestyle issues that we know can help people stay and get well … with a moral mandate to take these services and make them accessible to everybody,” Cotton said, referencing initiatives now in place at UC such as the incorporation of integrative medicine courses into the College of Medicine curriculum, offering faculty, staff and students mindful meditation classes and a Findlay Market pop-up market on the medical campus to support the message of food as medicine.

Sian Cotton, PhD, and event co-hosts Barbara Gould and Anne Ilyinsky

Sian Cotton, PhD, and event co-hosts Barbara Gould and Anne Ilyinsky

These education efforts are intended to follow suit through clinical practice. For example, the Center’s fundraising efforts have allowed for cancer patients to access free yoga classes and relaxation therapies while in the infusion suite at the UC Cancer Institute’s Barrett Cancer Center in conjunction with their traditional cancer treatments.

Over the past year supporters have raised approximately $200,000 to continue with medical student education and community outreach.

The end goal, said Cotton, is to change the way health care practitioners think and practice medicine. Instead of a disease as an outcome to be addressed, disease can be looked at as a state to be prevented. Additionally, if research-based, accessible holistic therapies were covered by insurance as valid options for treatment and prevention, health care and the health of our community as we know it will change dramatically for the better, she says.


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