The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine has launched the first national online pediatric integrative medicine curriculum, designed to embed integrative medicine education into pediatric residency training.

"The program is the first of its kind in pediatrics and will allow pediatric residents to learn integrative approaches along with their conventional medical training," said Dr. Hilary McClafferty, director of thePediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency program and assistant fellowship director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, or AzCIM. "We are thrilled to have such a strong group of pilot sites involved and hope this pilot project will help propel the wave of interest and momentum building in this important field of pediatrics."

Pediatric integrative medicine is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and defined as healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole infant, child or adolescent, including all elements of lifestyle and family health.

The UA's pilot program rollout includes nearly 350 pediatric residents and faculty at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Kansas, Eastern Virginia Medical School Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, as well as the UA College of Medicine.

"We as pediatricians need to become more familiar with integrative medicine so we can better counsel our families, many of whom already are using complementary and alternative remedies," said Dr. Graciela Wilcox, clinical assistant professor and faculty adviser for the Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency, or PIMR, program at the UA Department of Pediatrics. "The Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency program is a valuable training tool for our residents as they learn to think critically about integrative approaches to pediatric health."

The program includes 100 hours of competency-based, needs-assessment driven interactive curriculum designed for use by multiple residency programs simultaneously. The curriculum covers nutrition, mind-body medicine, integrative approaches to mental health, sleep, physical activity, behavior and lifestyle change, environmental medicine, whole medical systems – such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and naturopathy – and a full course on physician health and wellness.

Many of the 80 AzCIM Fellowship in Integrative Medicine pediatric alumni will serve as content experts and resident mentors. Dr. John D. Mark, clinical professor of pediatrics in pediatric pulmonary medicine at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine, is an alumnus of the AzCIM Fellowship. He is associate program director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Stanford University and will serve as faculty lead for the PIMR program pilot there, guiding pediatric residents through the foundational integrative medicine work and self-care curriculum.

"It is known that if the health-care provider is mindful about how they live, eat, exercise, decrease stress and avoid professional burnout, their patients and families benefit as well, with better health outcomes," Mark said. "PIMR gives the pediatric residents at Stanford the tools and resources to learn beyond what is taught in the traditional pediatric residency program."

"We are proud to participate in the Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency program offered by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine," said Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan, professor and head of the UA Department of Pediatrics. "We believe our residents will benefit immensely from learning about the many integrative approaches to pediatric health."

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