Westreich Foundation Grants Breakthrough $100,000 to Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC)

Grant breaks "glass ceiling" for philanthropic support for integrative health collaboration led by complementary and alternative medicine disciplines

SEATTLE, Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) announced today that the Westreich Foundation has granted $100,000 to support the consortium's work to advance whole person, integrative health care. Specifically, the grant will assist ACCAHC in creating relationships that enhance patient care through increasing understanding and respect among healthcare professions.

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ACCAHC chair Elizabeth A. (Liza) Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, expressed the gratitude of the consortium of 15 national organizations:  "The Westreich Foundation grant is a historic and empowering contribution that comes at an extraordinary time for ACCAHC and for health care." ACCAHC is a leadership organization founded by academics, accreditation officials, and certification and testing professionals from the licensed complementary and alternative medicine professions with US Department of Education-recognized accreditation agencies (acupuncture and Oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy, direct-entry midwifery). 

Goldblatt explains: "As our teams collaborate to clarify shared priorities for advancing health care, we increasingly realize that each of us must be more than leaders of our own disciplines. We are stepping up to team with others in leading this transformation of our medical system toward one focused on health and wellness. This wonderful grant from the Westreich Foundation is empowering us to take this next step for whole person, patient-centered care."

In a letter to ACCAHC executive director John Weeks accompanying the grant, Westreich Foundation president Ruth Westreich shared that her decision followed "getting to know you, the ACCAHC organization, and the bridging and collaboration you are striving to accomplish across all fields of quality care." 

Westreich added: "I believe that you are playing a significant role in breaking down the dreaded silos of individual groups and are able to envision the greater, larger picture of a preferred patient-centered care model. I am hoping that this grant will allow you even more time to create collaborations between CAM [complementary and alternative medicine], integrative medicine and palliative medicine."

A break in the glass ceiling to help empower over 250,000 licensed professionals

Weeks, ACCAHC's executive director, underscores the historic importance of the $100,000 grant: "The complementary and alternative healthcare disciplines often operate in a Catch-22. They may seek to expand appropriate integration with conventional organizations and practitioners but rarely have access to adequate resources. A kind of 'glass ceiling' has kept these professions and organizations like ACCAHC that are not led by M.D.s out of the sights of most foundations, government agencies and even leading philanthropists in integrative medicine and health."

Adds Weeks: "This grant from the Westreich Foundation is a timely break in that glass ceiling. This grant will show how good things can come to health professional education and to patient care through investment in the maturation and integration of disciplines in which the commitment to a whole person, integrative model of care is a given." The $100,000 grant will be paid over 3 years with the priority use to provide support staff for ACCAHC's initiatives.

About the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC): ACCAHC is a 501c3 organization the mission of which is to enhance patient care through fostering mutual respect and understanding among diverse healthcare professionals and disciplines. ACCAHC's core membership consists of the councils of colleges, accrediting agencies, and certification and testing organizations from the complementary healthcare professions with a US Department of Education-recognized accrediting body. Key initiatives include: expanding evidence-informed education, enhancing competencies for optimal practice in integrated environments, and preparing leaders in whole person health. See also: www.optimalintegration.org 

About the Westreich Foundation: A leading interest of the Westreich Foundation is creating a paradigm shift in the way medical care is delivered in this country. Transforming health care means moving the boundaries of medicine to include the wisdom inherent in healing the "whole person" - mind, body and spirit. This means educating practitioners and their teams to make use of all therapeutic approaches, health professionals and disciplines in the care of their patients. This also means shifting the focus of the system to include prevention, health maintenance and early interventions. The Foundation supports an integrative and palliative approach to health and wellbeing that also includes appropriate integration of creative arts therapies. www.thewestreichfoundation.org

Media Contact: John Weeks Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, 206-932-5799; 206-851-1758 (c), jweeks@accahc.org

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SOURCE Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care

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