Abstract ID: 3638

Primary Topic: Curriculum design and development
Secondary Topic: Faculty development/leadership

So you want to start a clinical fellowship in Integrative Medicine? Lessons learned from two Osher Centers for Integrative Medicine in developing programs
Melinda Ring, MD, FACP; Anand Dhruva, MD; Shelley Adler, PhD; Nancy Heap, MSW, LCSW , , Chicago, IL, United States

Late Breaker: No


Integrative health (IH) is proposed as a possible solution for addressing America’s healthcare crisis, including the spiraling cost, opioid addiction, and obesity epidemic. One important barrier to providing access to evidence-informed integrative care is a lack of physicians who have received quality training in integrative medicine, and can become leaders within academic centers, government agencies and community settings. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education currently accredits residencies and fellowships in the United States, but not those offering IH training. Efforts to increase accountability and standardization of IH fellowships in recent years include the publication of proposed IH fellowship competencies, as well as the establishment of a board exam by the American Board of Physician Specialties. The number of clinical IH fellowships approved by the American Board of Integrative Medicine as meeting criteria for training to be eligible to sit for the board exam is increasing each year. Despite growing opportunities, the demand from trainees and the need in our healthcare system remains unmet. The majority of traditional on-site clinical fellowships accept only 1-2 applicants per year, and the primarily distance-based fellowships reach higher numbers of trainees but lack on-site clinical oversight of patient care. In order to foster the development of highly-qualified IH clinicians, two Osher Centers for Integrative Medicine (Northwestern University and University of California, San Francisco) launched on-site fellowships within the past three years. This symposium will share a step-wise process and offer some practical suggestions for those interested in developing an IH fellowship or refining a currently existing program. Presenters share from their own recent experiences, discussing lessons learned and challenges ranging from funding to candidate selection, in order to help attendees determine the feasibility for beginning the process at their own institution. Faculty from existing fellowships are encouraged to attend to share additional perspectives.


The Congress and the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health are driven by the mission of sharing information on education, research, and clinical fronts in order to foster the growth of integrative medicine within our academic institutions. Providing a roadmap for institutions interested in pursuing the development of a fellowship program is aligned with the goal of nurturing our future leaders.


This symposium is intended to serve as a blueprint for some essential components of a successful fellowship program, as well as a roadmap for effectively navigating the challenges faced in creating and sustaining one. After this symposium a participant will be able to:

  1. Describe the process of strategic planning for a fellowship;
  2. Differentiate options for a curriculum that can be customized to meet the educational goals of an individual fellow;
  3. Identify key components including core faculty, funding, space, and patient access needed to ensure program success;
  4. Assess the options for trainee recruitment in terms of numbers, specialties, and duration of training.

Methods/Session Format

Dr. Ring will help moderate the session with all four speakers sharing their insights. The bulk of the session (40 minutes) will be an overview of the multi-step process for conducting a feasibility assessment and then practical considerations in the implementation of a new IH fellowship. 20 minutes will be allotted to question and answer and participation from members in attendance. Faculty from other existing training programs will be encouraged to attend to share their own insights.


Session speakers will discuss the following topics from the perspective of individual institutional experience that may serve as examples of lessons learned for attendees.

  1. Strategic Planning
    1. Departmental support
    2. Faculty building
    3. Fellowship Policy building
    4. ACGME Considerations – discuss ACGME standards and those that should be considered for this non-ACGME training program
    5. Funding and Budgetary Considerations
    6. Duration of fellowship
  2. Curriculum Development
    1. Self-study
    2. Teaching sessions
    3. Experiential Sessions
  3. Clinical Training
    1. Fellow specialties and faculty expertise
    2. Patient flow and referrals
    3. Clinical teaching models
  4. Selecting fellows
    1. Number of fellows
    2. Fellow qualifications
    3. Recruitment of fellows