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Sian Cotton, PhD, lectures during the complementary and alternative medicine elective for fourth-year medical students.

Sian Cotton, PhD, lectures during the complementary and alternative medicine elective for fourth-year medical students.
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Publish Date: 04/10/18
Media Contact: Angela Koenig, 513-558-4625
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Weil Foundation Supports Undergrad Certificate in Integrative Health

The University of Cincinnati (UC) Center for Integrative Health and Wellness has been awarded $20,000 by the Weil Foundation to support the infrastructure for a new undergraduate certificate in integrative health and wellness.

"This is a fantastic way to begin a certificate program and will provide undergraduate students at the university an opportunity to gain knowledge of integrative health and wellness  principles and practices, furthering their careers in medicine and in other disciplines,” says Sian Cotton, PhD, professor of family and community medicine and director of the center.

The Weil Foundation, based in Arizona, was created by Andrew Weil, MD, and is a long-term funding mechanism for the advancement of integrative medicine through training, research, education of the public and policy reform. The foundation primarily makes grants to medical schools and other non-profit health care organizations.

The certificate program will encompass five classes, the first of which ("Fundamentals of Integrative Health and Medicine”) will be piloted in fall 2018. The second new class, "The Science and Practice of Mind-Body Medicine” will be launched spring 2019.  The program, pending final approval by the university, will be a hybrid of onsite and online courses and is not exclusive to undergraduates in the health care field.

These courses will provide training in how evidence-based complementary therapies and healthy lifestyle behaviors such as mindfulness approaches, nutrition and health coaching, acupuncture, massage therapy, movement-based therapies and stress reduction techniques provide optimal healing when combined with traditional medicine and are essential tools for illness prevention and optimal wellness. 

 "Our academic purpose has always been to offer training in integrative health principles and practices to students across all disciplines and majors, "says Kelly Lyle, health affairs program officer.

Cotton says UC is one of 72 academic health centers and health systems in North America that belong to the Academic Consortium of Integrative Medicine and Health ( and are bringing integrative medicine concepts into clinical, research and educational activities within their medical schools and health systems.

Efforts to bring integrative medicine to the forefront of UC’s health care curriculum began in 2013 and have led to offering students in all UC’s health professions colleges—medicine, nursing, pharmacy and allied health sciences—electives, workshops and programs where students learn seemingly simple, non-traditional approaches to health care. These approaches (i.e. mindfulness training, breathing techniques, and relaxation practices) are as important to their own health as to the health of their future patients, says Cotton.

"We are working actively to engage members of all colleges and units across the university, along with our collaborative partners in the community, to develop robust integrative health and wellness initiatives and programs,” she says.

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