The Center for Integrative Medicine
The Center for Integrative Medicine
University of Maryland School of Medicine
East Hall; 520 W. Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Brian M. Berman, MD, Director
Emphasizing an approach to healing that values mind, body and spirit, the Center for Integrative Medicine is committed to evaluating the scientific foundation of complementary medicine, educating health professionals and the public, and integrating evidence-based complementary therapies with modern medicine into clinical care to help people achieve and maintain optimal health and wellbeing.
The University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine was founded in 1991, breaking ground as the first U.S. academic health center-based program focused on evaluating and integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into mainstream health care. The vision for the center came from Dr. Brian Berman’s clinical experience as he found his own practice of medicine and ability to help his patients was substantially enriched by integrating complementary medicine with his Western medical training. Not only did complementary therapies have potential as additional tools to help people cope with as well as recover from illness, they were also anchored in a perspective that treats the whole person at a time when medicine was becoming increasingly reductionistic and technology-focused. At the same time, however, mainstream medicine was highly skeptical about CAM and legitimately concerned about the lack of evidence for its safety and efficacy. The Center was established to tackle this challenge head on. Using science, education, and collaborative patient care as ways to break down barriers, the Center has been working from within the system to evaluate CAM and create an evolution towards a more comprehensive, humanistic approach to patient care, and the treatment and prevention of disease.
The Center is centrally located in its own building on the School of Medicine campus and, in its designation as one of the University’s interdisciplinary Organized Research Center, collaborates across departments on research, clinical and education endeavors.
The following gives an overview of the accomplishments of the Center since its founding 20 years ago:
- Since 1995 the Center has been a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence for Research, attracting over $30 million in peer-reviewed research grants to study integrative medicine with a particular focus on arthritis and related disorders, as well as chronic and acute pain-related conditions.
- The NIH International Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine Research – with Chinese University of Hong Kong – focused on functional bowel disorders and TCM.
- As an interdisciplinary research center within the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Center has attracted top research talent and collaborates with prominent investigators from across the University community, as well as nationally and internationally, including Hong Kong, China, Britain, Canada and Korea.
- The Center has published over 340 scientific publications and abstracts in peer-reviewed medical journals.
- The Center conducts research programs in acupuncture, herbs, mind/body therapies focused on arthritis, pain, inflammation, cancer, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, trauma.
- One of six founding members of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Brian Berman was elected the Consortium’s first chair. Since 2001, the Consortium has grown to include a third of North American medical schools whose vision is for a more comprehensive, patient-centered system of health care.
- As the coordinating center for the Integrative Medicine Field of the Cochrane Collaboration, the Center works collaboratively to search the worldwide scientific literature (to-date, gathering over 40,000 clinical trials) in order to systematically review and provide summaries of the evidence for integrative medicine. One of the leading organizations in evidence-based medicine, Cochrane’s network of over 20,000 members representing 100 different countries is involved in evaluating all health care interventions.
- The Center’s clinical team of doctors and licensed integrative practitioners, including acupuncturists, massage therapists and nutritionists, has over 20 years of experience in offering patients coordinated primary care, wellness consultations, and treatment of acute and chronic conditions.
- Through the Center’s education program, medical students at the University of Maryland learn a broader view of medicine and are taught mind/body skills that enhance their ability to cope with stress, model healthy living, and communicate effectively and compassionately with patients. Residency and fellowship training opportunities with the Center continue to increase the number of integrative clinicians and expand the cadre of top researchers in this field.