Integrative Care
Policy News

EDITORIAL. Torkel Falkenberg: “Join Us!”

19 September, 2012 by Torkel Falkenberg

A decade ago in 2002, I had the honor of being asked to write the first draft of the WHO Strategy on traditional, complementary and alternative medicine. I was also one of four people who got the opportunity to launch the strategy at the World Health Assembly, a ceremony to which all the health ministers of the world had been invited. The launch was a major event, and the strategy document has played a decisive role for many countries in helping the field to evolve.

One of the WHO recommendations promoted deals with evidence-based integration of complementary and alternative therapies in health care, so called integrative medicine. Or rather integrative care, as we prefer to put it. This is to emphasize that the charitable research foundation I C – The Integrative Care Science Center, is an initiative focusing on evidence informed opportunities in the field, from various perspectives – i.a. medicine, nursing and health economics.

Another important WHO recommendation was for the countries of the world to set up national centers in order to among other things implement research and training efforts, and supply quality controlled research information and communication. In fact, basically what we are attempting to achieve through I C and this initiative.

We will also be conducting our own research at the research foundation I C. We are currently involved in evaluations of the care provided by Vidarkliniken, the anthroposophical hospital in Järna outside Stockholm, focusing on health economic studies but also existential health care issues and making comparisons with conventional health care. In this regard, we would like to point out that we are an independent research foundation, and our ambition as researchers is to provide credible underpinnings for decision-making. We do not represent any vested interests, but rather are free, inquisitive researchers with a long-standing national and international experience of this area. We are also fortunate to have two of the world’s leading scientists in the field affiliated with us. The research foundation I C is funded by the Vidar Foundation and the Stichting af Jochnick Foundation, and we are hoping for additional funding bodies in the future to help us realize the recommendations of WHO.

We hope that certified health care providers and decision-makers will discover all the research available in the field, and will be able to make informed decisions in their professional capacities, regardless of whether the findings reported are positive or negative. Both types abound of course.

Up until now, the CAM field has been unduly dominated by either misinformed sceptics or uncritical enthusiasts. We take exception with both of these extreme positions and prefer to contribute to the balanced and pragmatic development of health care, in Sweden and internationally. We´re not there yet; we have an exciting journey ahead of us. We hope you will join us on the way towards evidence-based integrative care, and stay in touch with us on the web!

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