Integrative Medicine

The Integrative Medicine Program at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is a collaboration with The Institute for Family Health, a network of 32 health centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Dutchess and Ulster Counties in the Mid-Hudson Valley.

Education, health services, and research initiatives all support our core mission of providing access to safe, cost-effective and evidence-based integrative primary care, with a focus on those who are medically underserved.   

We also partner with our colleagues throughout Mount Sinai Health System. As part of a large health system, we hope to bring together information on the wide-ranging clinical, educational and research initiatives on integrative approaches offered at Mount Sinai in order to create awareness, dialogue and opportunities for collaboration.

Below are some current developments, opportunities, communications, and dissemination of integrative initiatives and events:

  • The Department of Family Medicine is collaborating with The Institute for Family Health (IFH) and teams at Kaiser Permanente (California and Washington) and Sutter Health (California) to conduct research as part of a newly awarded HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) grant funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The study, titled the Pragmatic Trial of Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain in Older Adults, aims to study the feasibility of providing acupuncture to treat chronic low back pain in older adults. As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) network, IFH will be a unique partner in the research providing care to underserved patients with traditionally poor access to non-pharmacological pain treatments. The IFH team consists of the site Principal Investigator Raymond Teets, MD, Faculty and Director of Integrative Medicine at the Mount Sinai Downtown Residency in Urban Family Medicine and Arya Nielsen, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and the Acupuncture Research Consultant. Evidence from this trial will provide information for Medicare regarding coverage decisions and for individual physicians and patients deciding on a course of pain treatment. The four year project begins with a milestone-driven planning year including a pilot study with recruitment of IFH patients who are aged 65 or older.

Principles of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine, as defined by the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM) and the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

Specifically, these guiding principles include:

  • A belief in the benefits of interprofessional collaboration and openness to new ideas and approaches that help achieve better health outcomes
  • Partnering with patients in a context of open and honest communication and mutual respect
  • Using the power of the therapeutic relationship to support the healing process and to co-design a treatment plan that matches patients’ preferences and abilities
  • Seeking to understand and address the context of illness, healing and wellness including the social, psychosocial, environmental, community, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the patient’s life
  • Focusing on prevention, wellness and patient health education, emphasizing the role of patient participation and self-care in both healing and prevention
  • Taking the time to focus on what is needed on a step by step basis, utilizing effective interventions that are natural and less invasive as the first line of treatment