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Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus Report

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Integrative Health & Wellness Caucus Focuses on Putting Health Back in Healthcare

Bipartisan Effort Cites Prevention and Integrative Health Solutions to Combat Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2018 – Reps. Mike Coffman, R-CO and Jared Polis, D-CO, welcomed members of Congress, their staff and healthcare stakeholders to an inaugural meeting of the new Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus to a standing room only crowd on March 15, 2018. The collective efforts of the bipartisan team of Coffman and Polis, supported by the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC), attracted a wide array of staff members representing the House of Representatives and Senate elected officials from states of Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. “I think it’s important for patients to have all the facts and latest research when it comes to therapies and treatments available to them when making medical decisions,” Coffman said. “This is why it was my honor to welcome the Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus members to Capitol Hill last week.”

Rep. Polis addressed that, “Through this Caucus we are having conversations about how Congress can solve the major healthcare issues of this country and better meet the healthcare needs of everybody, including integrative health and wellness options.” He emphasized the importance of the timing of this Caucus to bring attention to successful non-pharmacological and other whole-person care options to the nation’s pain management crisis and opioid epidemic – which the Council on Foreign Relations cites as beyond the risks it poses to public health, it is becoming a drag on the economy and a threat to national security.

Other caucus attendees included representatives from the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Air Force Medical Service. Registrants were also representatives from as many as thirty medical groups, insurers, hospitals, service providers, learning institutions, health care lobbying firms and patient groups that support integrative healthcare. “This caucus is the start of an important conversation to shift our healthcare paradigm from a reactive model to whole-person preventive outcomes,” said Len Wisneski, M.D., Chair Integrative Health Policy Consortium. “American’s have spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on complementary and integrative care. It is time that Congress and healthcare payers and systems respond by including all credentialed and licensed providers and evidence-based care approaches into the choices available to all Americans.”

The educational forum included an impressive panel of experts, including Margaret Chesney, PhD, Past Chair, Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health and Former Deputy Director of NCCIH; Eric Schoomaker, M.D., PhD, LTG U.S. Army (RET), former U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command; and Benjamin Kligler, M.D., National Director of the Integrative Health Coordinating Center Office of Patient-Centered Care & Cultural Transformation at the Veterans Health Administration (VA). Speakers discussed effective solutions and innovative protocols in public health and among military personnel and veterans for addiction and pain management that emphasize nonpharmacological approaches.

“I was excited to be part of the inaugural congressional caucus proceedings,” said Peter F. Demitry, M.D., MPH, Executive Director, National Foundation for Integrative Medicine (NFIM) and former Assistant Air Force Surgeon General for Modernization. “The various organizations and stakeholders that attended and presented to Congress were very well informed with articulate, rational arguments that were well received by the United States legislators. I think there was clear consensus that the time to fix US health care policy is now and NFIM is happy to be both meeting and joining these various dedicated stakeholders.”

This kick-off to the newly formed Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus is the start of informing and educating Congress, policy-makers and agencies about the improved outcomes and cost-saving possible when healthcare is oriented to prevention, wellness and well-being.

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Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., launched the Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus in the House of Representatives Oct. 25, 2017. The Caucus serves as a non-partisan educational forum for legislators to receive up-to-date information from experts related to best practices and new research, and to discuss legislative and administrative opportunities for integrative health. Media requests for Rep. Polis, contact jessica.bralish@mail.house.gov; for Rep. Coffman, contact Daniel.Bucheli@mail.house.gov.

ABOUT IHPC

The Integrative Health Policy Consortium is the national policy and advocacy voice of integrative health and wellness healthcare professional organizations, representing the voice of more than 600,000 healthcare providers. IHPC functions as a critical watchdog and monitor of federal agencies charged with overseeing America’s health and health research needs, working towards eliminating barriers to health. IHPC Chair Dr. Len Wisneski is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University, and is on faculty at The University of Colorado. He has published over 30 scientific articles and a landmark textbook, “The Scientific Basis of Integrative Health.” Website: http://www.ihpc.org.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theIHPC/

Twitter: @theIHPC

Media Contact:

Susan Haeger

Executive Director

(202) 505-IHPC (4472)

shaeger@IHPC.org

Transpartisan Review Note #48

Introducing Voice for Hope – Healers of Planet Earth

Transpartisan Note #48

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Voice for HOPE (Healers of Planet Earth), founded in 2010 to support ‘Freedom to Choose Your Path to Wellness,’ works to bring the attention of Congress to the development of integrative medicine as a part of national health care policy.transpartisan

An Atlantic article quoted Hippocrates to capture the core of integrative health: ‘It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.’  The World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution said, ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

Integrative medicine grounds its practice in this definition. Where conventional medicine has the negative mission of seeking to expunge disease, integrative medicine adds the well-being that promotes health, thus avoiding or mitigating the diseases that conventional medicine addresses—and, in the process, reduces the role that it needs to play. Integrative medicine seeks to know the person as well as the disease.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a research center on integrative health. The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Policy’s 2002 report contains an array of policy approaches to advance integrative health. You can read about the Congressional Mindfulness Caucus. Voice for HOPE works to create dialogues between members of Congress and their constituents about ways integrative medicine can play a broader role in national health care policy.

Integrative health is enormously important for policy on health. The current policy debate—ObamaCare was a prominent example—focuses almost entirely on medical care for people who are sick. It pays almost no effective attention to encouraging behavior changes that would keep them well and avoid having to use expensive doctors and hospitals when they get sick.

Integrative health includes practices focusing (in the words of The Mayo clinic) ‘on the whole person and includes physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health . . . mind-body medicine (such as meditation, acupuncture and yoga), manipulative and body-based practices . . . and natural products (such as herbs and dietary supplements)’. In public health the absence of simple behaviors such as hand-washing and sanitation play an enormous role in promoting disease.

From 30 to 40% plus of Americans use various forms of organized integrative health approaches to stay healthy. Millions of people in the U.S. use organized diet, exercise and mindfulness programs. In developing countries Educate Girls Globally (EGG) is experimenting with community-based health programs to promote change in negative (to health) behaviors and habits of traditional people. For example, they have launched an experiment using ‘Girls’ Parliaments’ to promote hand-washing, and in two months the percentage washing their hands has increased from essentially zero (based not on what they say, but on soap used) to between 70-80%.

The policy challenge is how to encourage people to change their behavior, which is difficult. EGG’s program is still too new to reach strong conclusions, but preliminary results are encouraging.

A major objective of a transpartisan politics is to promote development of a strong and active concept of citizenship in place of the current weak concept where all attention is on the government. A transpartisan health policy would seek the same objective: to encourage citizens to take more responsibility for their own health, taking personal care of themselves, and reserving expensive conventional approaches to cases where they become really sick. In health as in political action, transpartisans promote active citizenship in place of the passive roles currently played both by voters and by patients.

On Sunday, June 11, Voice for HOPE will join other Washington, DC, charities in a 5K Run/Walk on the shore of the beautiful Anacostia River in Washington’s Anacostia Park. People across the country and around the world can join or support the event – Jim Turner, chair of Citizens for Health and Voice for HOPE, urges everyone reading this note to support the 5K Run/Walk here.

Stop 21st Century Cures Act

Although this is coveted as a wonderful bill that is needed in the US so that drugs and medical devices can be fast tracked, if you read the nearly 1000 pages it is clear this is dangerous bill that is has the best interests of the Pharmaceutical industry at heart, NOT its consumers.

The Transpartisan Review Blog #4

America has a representative government. Voters elect leaders who appoint civil servants, and they implement ‘public policy’. This works for much public business, but in areas involving social services—school reform, drug rehabilitation, criminal justice, race relations, poverty and even security policy, results fall far short of aspirations.

Unlocking Hidden Allergies at the Core of Your Unexplained Symptoms

By Leo Galland, M.D., Author, The Allergy Solution

Are you tired all the time, and don’t know why? Do you have headaches or joint pain or brain fog or digestive problems? Have you put on weight and find that you just can’t lose it? I want to explore with you the unsolved mystery of those common complaints that just won’t go away. In my experience, allergy is often the cause.

Maybe you never thought you had allergies. No runny nose, no itchy skin. Although it might come as a surprise, I have discovered that a hidden allergy is the underlying reason for just about any health issue, because allergies come from something we all share: the immune system.

The rise of allergies is directly attributable to our immune systems being out of balance and reacting to a modern witches’ brew of fast food, stress, chemicals, pollution, and compromised gut health.

Did you know that only one person in 30 had allergies only 50 years ago? Today that number is one in three and rising. The allergy epidemic spreading like wildfire throughout the world is getting worse, with 1 billion people suffering from allergies today.

I have found, in my clinical practice, that we need to do more than merely ask “What are you allergic to?” We need to instead ask: (1) Why are you allergic?; (2) Why have your allergies become worse; and (3) What are the underlying imbalances in your body that open the door to annoying and persistent allergic symptoms?

Hidden allergies emerge

Finding answers to these foundational questions helps us to uncover what we now know to be hidden allergies. A hidden allergy is commonly at the core of your once mysterious health concerns.

Have you experienced or do you have one or more of the following:

  • Weight gain?
  • Stomachaches?
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Insomnia?
  • Headaches?
  • Fatigue?
  • Depression or anxiety?
  • Constipation or diarrhea?
  • Brain fog?
  • Bloating?

The culprit could be allergy

While not many are fully aware that allergy can play a pivotal role in these and other health problems, it was this very search for answers to common, yet previously undiagnosed, conditions that inspired me to write The Allergy Solution: Unlock the Surprising, Hidden Truth About Why You Are Sick and How to Get Well.

In my practice, I’ve seen chronic conditions that were previously diagnosed as psychiatric disorders, autoimmune diseases or many other conditions that wind up being allergic in origin.

Taking on allergy with new approaches

We already know the misery that allergies can create. Fortunately, once we find out what is causing or activating them, “The case is afoot,” as Sherlock Holmes would have said!

Allergy has such a far-reaching impact on so many people with so many different problems. But your immune system needs to know when to fight and when not to fight. It needs balance.

My program helps you learn why your immune system is out of balance, so that you can restore its harmony and overcome allergies.

The secret to my program lies in the interaction between what you eat and the environments in which you live. There are 3 levels of environment that matter:

  • the outdoor environment that we all share;
  • the indoor environment, where we spend 90 percent of our time; and
  • the internal environment within our digestive tracts.

Each of these plays a critical role in your immune system, especially with the cells that naturally prevent allergies. They’re called regulatory T-cells, or T-regs.

If you suffer from allergies, your T-regs are broken. My program is designed to help you overcome allergy by restoring the power of your T-regs.

The runaway train of allergies

My program also helps you understand how your allergies developed. While genetics is involved, the runaway allergy epidemic train of the last 40-50 years, however, left the station due to environmental factors rather than genetic changes. Genes merely cause susceptibility.

For example, a study from 2005 found a connection between a defect in the CD14 immune system gene and how bad asthma becomes in families if the family members were also exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Unlocking the causes of allergies

Knowing which factors—like a bad diet, a sedentary lifestyle and excessive exposure to pollutants, such as exhaust and smoke—stack the deck away from wellness is important because addressing them can enable you to regain and maintain a state of health. I refer to these factors as “antecedents”—things which lead to other things—with the most common antecedents for developing allergic illness being: exposure to environmental toxins; unusually heavy exposure to mold or pollen; infection; depletion of the body’s good bacteria; nutritional deficiency; extreme stress; and impaired digestion.

Relief is in sight

Today we know that hidden allergies can bring on a bewildering constellation of unexplained symptoms. Instead of masking these mystery complaints, however, my approach is to help people identify and avoid hidden allergy triggers and to scale back unhealthy inflammatory and immune processes that cause allergic symptoms.

Taking advantage of tools and strategies I provide in The Allergy Solution, you and your healthcare practitioner will be able to shine a light on your symptoms and the factors most likely to be triggering them. My book has chapters that will equip you to fix your gut health issues, shed unwanted pounds, reduce stress with mind-body techniques, and show you how to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins.

Best Health,

Leo Galland, M.D.

Leo Galland, M.D. is a board-certified internist, author and internationally recognized leader in integrated medicine. Dr. Galland is the author of The Allergy Solution. Discover how to get well. Follow The Allergy Solution on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Live Feed of Health Coach Conference

Sample a ClassCitizens for Health has partnered with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition because we have seen the impact of their Health Coach curriculum and how it can empower you to transform your health and happiness and launch a fulfilling new career. Click on the banner to the left to learn more.

Get an exclusive look at the The Institute for Integrative Nutrition® annual conference!

On March 5th and 6th, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from the world’s most influential experts in health and wellness during IIN’s annual conference. They’re opening up exclusive access to their live stream to give you a sneak peek into this incredible weekend. Register now to gain access and witness the transformation made possible through their Health Coach program. It is absolutely free, and it is the only way you can eavesdrop on this powerful event.

The Details:

  • What: Access to an exclusive LIVE STREAM of the annual conference!
  • When: Saturday, March 5th and Sunday, March 6th from 10am – 12pm ET.
  • Where: Anywhere! Use your computer or mobile device – All you need is internet access!
  • Who should attend: Everyone who wants to experience the amazing energy of an Integrative Nutrition live event and sneak a peek at student life! It is specifically recommended for anyone considering becoming a Health Coach. IIN has created a special page and video for CFH supporters – just click on the banner to the left.
  • Note: There will not be a replay. So be sure to register now and mark your calendar!