The American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM) recently announced the certification of its first class of 121 integrative medicine specialists. Chanel Helgasen, an instructor in the School of Mind-Body Medicine is proud to be a part of this first class of board certified integrative medicine physicians. Dr. Helgason is a Colorado-based integrative psychiatrist, who has pioneered in the use of telemedicine to provide care to mental health patients throughout the rural areas from Colorado to Nebraska to North Dakota. She is also a leader in the organization, International Network for Integrative Mental Health.
The ABOIM website notes that Integrative Medicine “is the logical direction of modern medicine, and the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM) enables ABOIM Diplomates to demonstrate their mastery of the core competencies required to provide the best care possible.” Chanel is pleased by this recognition from the ABPS, that integrative medicine is a legitimate and important medical specialty. So, what does this development means for the future of health care?
This development means that principles of Integrative Medicine – from a whole-person, mind-body-spirit approach, to integration of both conventional and alternative treatments – will become more accepted as a part of good, mainstream medical care. Greater usage of Integrative Medicine has the potential to improve both quality of care and cost-effectiveness, while enhancing safety and patient satisfaction. It also places Integrative Medicine squarely within the bounds of accepted science-based medicine. This removes some of the stigma pioneers in this field experienced as a result of their openness to and practice of “alternative” or “holistic” medicine.
So what does it mean to be Board Certified? The ABPS website explains Board Certification as follows: “Board certification represents an important level of achievement for a physician. It is a tangible demonstration that she or he has mastered the core competencies necessary to provide the best possible care in a chosen specialty or specialties. It means that he or she has been tested by peers and proven that his or her level of skill and knowledge is at the very top of the medical profession.”
Board certification is important because it sets a bar for quality that helps everyone better determine which providers are best qualified to lead this new movement. It allows medical licensing boards, payers, and organizations that employ physicians to ensure that they endorse and hire the best physicians and support the best quality care. It allows researchers and granting organizations to devote time and resources to research on this important area of science without the stigma of operating outside mainstream medicine. Best of all, this certification helps patients gauge physicians who will provide top quality care.
Congratulations to all the members of the ABOIM Class of 2015 – and beyond!
Here are some nice articles for those who would like to know more about the new American Board of Integrative Medicine: