A project of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC)
We envision a healthcare system that is multidisciplinary and enhances competence, mutual respect, and collaboration across all complementary, alternative, and conventional healthcare disciplines. This system will deliver effective care that is patient centered, focused on health creation and healing, and readily accessible to all populations.
The Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) was formed in 2004 under the auspices of IHPC's Education Task Force, with the visionary sponsorship of Lucy Gonda as a joint effort of the national educational institutions of the fully accredited complementary and alternative healthcare (CAM) disciplines. Created early in the process of the National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Creating Common Ground, ACCAHC is a distinct working group. Leaders in the CAM academic community recognize that by working together they will be most effective in their efforts to collaborate with conventional academic educators, and to transform the healthcare system. ACCAHC is the result of that vision and commitment.
ACCAHC has a two-fold mission:
To advance the academic needs and development of the evolving CAM professions, as well as the traditional world medicine professions that are emerging in the United States; and to foster a coherent, synergistic collaboration with academic institutions of the conventional medical, nursing, and public and community health professions. This collaboration will promote interdisciplinary healthcare education to ensure mutual understanding between healthcare disciplines.
ACCAHC has established a network of national CAM educational organizations and agencies. The core membership of this network is the accrediting agencies and the associations of colleges of the licensed and federally recognized CAM disciplines and professions. Some CAM professions, such as chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine and massage therapy have been practiced in the United States for over 100 years. Others such as acupuncture and Oriental medicine and Ayurvedic medicine are relatively new to the United States and have been practiced with safety and efficacy in their countries of origin for centuries.
ACCAHC has a strong commitment to public safety and accountability and works only with healthcare professions that either have established clear regulatory mechanisms in the United States, or are in the process of doing so.
Professions currently represented are listed below:
- Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- Ayurvedic Medicine
- Chiropractic Medicine
- Direct Entry Midwifery
- Massage Therapy
- Naturopathic Medicine
- the diversity and traditions that exist in federally accredited CAM institutions as well as recognized emerging CAM fields that wish to become federally accredited CAM institutions.
- the IOM statement that "the goal of integrating care should be the provision of comprehensive care that is safe and effective care, that is collaborative and interdisciplinary, and care that respects and joins effective interventions from all sources."
- public accountability and standards of practice that emphasize patient-centered care, patient safety, practice competencies, professionalism and a rigorous code of ethics.
- the CAM paradigms and their academic and clinical applications that recognize the many intimate relationships that create and support health: mind, body, spirit, and environment.
- health promotion, healing, prevention, and wellness.
- the importance of ensuring that CAM academic institutions have direct and equitable access to all public and private support systems.
Furthermore, ACCAHC supports evolving CAM academic health centers and institutions as they move through the benchmarking processes of establishing high standards; developing excellence in academic curriculums, research and clinical training; supporting future leaders and policy actions that will affect the transformation of our healthcare system.
The abbreviation CAM will be used throughout this document to include the various healthcare professions which are currently considered, within the United States, to be complementary and alternative. This term implies that they are complementary or alternative to allopathic medicine which currently dominates healthcare in the United States. We expect that in the future, under a comprehensive and integrated healthcare system, the terms CAM and "complementary and alternative" will become obsolete.