Collaboration

Collaboration is one of the most effective tools to achieve our goal of reversing the epidemic of chronic disease. By working with others we can have a much greater impact than we could on our own. Projects are proceeding in the following areas:

  • Identify and partner with key insurers, employers, and government agencies to implement pilot projects that will demonstrate the marketplace practicality and clinical validity of the functional medicine model
  • Collaborate with leaders in academic medicine to integrate functional medicine education into health professions schools and residency programs
  • Educate and collaborate with policymakers to support initiatives aimed at transforming medical education, research, and practice
    • Mark Hyman, MD, IFM’s Chairman of the Board, testified before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, February 26, 2009, bringing functional medicine to the attention of national health policymakers.
One of IFM’s most important strategic goals is to bring the functional medicine model into medical academic and teaching programs. It’s not enough to train already-licensed medical practitioners. Reaching medical students early in their training will substantially shift clinical practice from the acute-care model to a systems model based on patterns of dysfunction within complex networks of biologic systems. Some major accomplishments to date:

  • 17 medical school and residency programs currently incorporate functional medicine in their curriculum. For example:
    • Hennepin County Medical Center introduces functional medicine principles in its integrative medical residency program.
    • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has a mandatory Integrative Clinical Nutrition course for first-year osteopathic medical students.
    • Loma Linda University incorporates functional medicine electives into its curriculum, as well as a Lifestyle Integrative Functional Medicine Fellowship in 2011-2012.
    • Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine offers elective courses on functional medicine principles for first- and second-year medical students.
    • The University of Miami has funding for two years for a 200-hour integrative clinical nutrition course using functional medicine principles.
  • Faculty from over 60 academic medicine, nutrition, and residency programs have participated in IFM programs.

  • IFM is co-developing pilot curriculum materials for medical education with a number of different institutions. For example, IFM is collaborating with the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program (FMRP) in Florida to integrate functional medicine and functional nutrition into its curriculum and clinical activities.

  • IFM sponsors monthly academic medicine networking teleconferences for faculty who are working to spread the functional medicine model into their schools and among their colleagues.