Integrative Health Learning Community 

About the Integrative Health Learning Community
The FMEC Integrative Health Learning Community (IHLC), sponsored by the Samueli Foundation, is designed to improve the delivery of person-centered integrative health practices into routine primary care. 

Most chronic diseases seen in primary care can be prevented or even improved by addressing their underlying social and behavioral determinants. Yet these determinants are poorly managed in medicine.  The COVID pandemic has highlighted even further the need to enhance our ability to address chronic disease risks and those disproportionately affected such as the elderly, minorities, the poor, and people of color.

Clinics participating in this 9-12 month community will learn about the HOPE Toolkit, non-pharmacological approaches for pain and opioid management, and evidence-based complementary treatments and support of self-care for chronic diseases. They will improve their integrative health services by learning from other clinics, access tools, and educational resources, and engaging in practice improvement and evaluation. 

Leadership

  • Wayne Jonas, MD, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, Georgetown University and Executive Director, Samueli Integrative Health Programs; author of How Healing Works 
  • Connie Earl, DO, family physician in Sonoma County, CA 
  • Andrea Gordon, MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Tufts University Family Medicine Residency, Cambridge Health Alliance 
  • Elena Rosenbaum, MD, Medical Director, Alliance for Better Health, Director of Integrative Medicine, Albany Family Medicine and Associate Professor, AMC Department of Family and Community Medicine 
  • Allen Shaughnessy, PharmD, MMedEd, Professor of Family Medicine and Director of Medical Education, Tufts University Family Medicine Residency, Cambridge Health Alliance 

Goals and Objectives
The objectives for IHLC are to: 

  • understand the crucial role of non-pharmacological and self-care approaches in primary care for reducing risk factors for chronic disease and COVID and improving health in those with chronic disease;
  • learn how to use the HOPE Tools and evidence-based integrative medicine practices and adapt them for routine use in their clinics;
  • implement integrative health visits in a subgroup of patients in the clinic as a routine process;
  • collect both process and outcomes data on those integrative health visits, evaluate and adjust the clinic processes to improve practice and quality care using integrative health; and
  • share results at meetings such as the FMEC Annual Meeting, the Direct Primary Care Summit, and others 

History and Accomplishments
The IHLC was initiated with a call for interested practices in the summer of 2020. The FMEC invited family medicine residencies, federally qualified health centers, and other clinics, and independent and hospital-owned primary care practices to join a one-year learning collaborative (LC) for implementing and testing tools for whole-person integrative health practices in routine primary care. The IHLC accepted 17 sites. The sites participated in small group and monthly meetings from November 2020 to September 2021.  They completed a year of educational sessions and quality improvement cycles in September 2021.

During a preconference at the FMEC 2021 Annual Meeting in October 2021, faculty members and sites share their successes and challenges. Every site reporting found that the experience helped them improve care and healing. Many notes plan to introduce the strategies into residency training, and they also reported that patients appreciated the information they received about non-drug and other services.

Beginning in November 2021, a cohort of sites agreed to continue to work with Dr. Wayne Jonas of the Samueli Foundation and the other faculty during an extension period, where they will continue to explore issues such as defining team roles and responsibilities in integrative care; securing leadership support and making the “business case’” and the role of technology including electronic medical records and apps.

Resources

  • IHLC Project Update, October 7, 2021 – Dr. Wayne Jonas presents an update on ILHC progress at the 2021 FMEC Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Learning Community Tools and Educational Resources – Video recordings of presentations from the collaborative are posted in this folder.
    • Interprofessional Collaboration
    • Clinic Flow
    • Reflecting on Experiences
    • IHLC Kick-off Presentation, August 25, 2020 – Dr. Wayne Jonas presents core information on defining integrative health, person-centered care, the HOPE (Healing Oriented Practices & Environments) tool kit

Opportunities for Involvement
The ILHC is no longer accepting applications. Future cohorts of the ILHC will be announced through FMEC communications. To join FMEC and receive member communications, visit the FMEC Member Center

For More Information
Denise Steele, Project Coordinator, [email protected]

Updated December 1, 2021