U receives grant to support

by Mickie Barg

The University’s complementary and alternative medicine efforts received a boost last week in the form of a grant awarded to the University’s Center for Spirituality and Healing.
The National Institutes of Health gave the center $1.6 million over five years to build, support and include complementary and alternative medicine in curricula at the Academic Health Center.
Frank Cerra, senior vice president for the Academic Health Center, said the award is a testimony to the excellent quality of the center’s staff. They developed excellent programs and embedded them in the professional schools, particularly the Medical School, he said.
“We have very good people who are committed and care about (the complementary program),” Cerra said.
“The grant is intended for the integration of complementary health content into all areas of professional training in the Medical School, the schools of nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, public health and veterinary medicine,” said Mary Jo Kreitzer, director of the center for spirituality and healing.
In addition to expanding the graduate minor already in existence, the award will develop a curriculum at the undergraduate level.
“We are looking for a way to incorporate alternative methods into medical practice,” said nursing professor Linda Halcon.
The center provides holistic resources and educational programs in therapies including aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, Native American medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, guided imagery and herbal medicine in the Medical School and the community.
Kreitzer said the University is a leader in complementary therapy curriculum. The medical school was honored with the John Templeton Spirituality and Medicine Curricular Award in September for its program in spirituality and healing.
“The terminology of complementary or alternative medicines is incorrect,” Kreitzer said. “It is not alternative anymore — it’s mainstream.”
Complementary medicines are used along with traditional medicines and made a part of health care. The Medical School teaches care of the whole person — body, mind and spirit. There are thousands of different approaches to healing, multiple perspectives and world views.
Students need to understand all forms of healing are important, Kreitzer said.
“American people don’t view it as alternative medicine anymore,” Cerra said. “They view it as part of a tool bag to treat illness and maintain wellness.”
The center competed with 30 other universities for the grant and was one of the three chosen.
More than 130 students are enrolled in the complementary and alternative medicine program this fall.

Mickie Barg covers the Medical School and welcomes comments at (612) 627-4070 x3223. She can also be reached at [email protected]