Abstract ID: 3915

Primary Topic: Curriculum design and development
Secondary Topic: Teaching, learning, and assessment
Tertiary Topic: Faculty development/leadership

Building Integrative Medicine & Wellness into Curriculum
Anne E. Weisman, Ph.D., M.P.H., L.M.T., University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Category: Education

Late Breaker: No


UNLV School of Medicine’s innovative curriculum is relationship-based, designed to foster strong ties between faculty and students, between students and patients, and between the students and the community. Early in the design and creation of this curriculum, the importance of the inclusion of integrative medicine was recognized. As the integrative medicine curriculum was taking shape, the topics were intentionally placed throughout the longitudinal curriculum throughout each learning block to support the material being covered in each. UNLV School of Medicine created the integrative medicine thread for patient care and extensive wellness programming for practitioners to work in tandem and support each other. This design will help medical students, faculty, and residents with the balance of caring for others as well as caring for themselves.

UNLV School of Medicine provides medical students with didactic and experiential learning for specific skills to decrease stress and enhance wellness while in school and throughout their careers. The intent is to create the awareness and practice of integrative medicine during the undergraduate medical education. The curriculum promotes students’ well-being and exposes students to additional perspectives and modalities that they can apply with their patients in conjunction with conventional medicine.  It is a comprehensive curriculum that includes the topics of preventive healthcare, physical activity, stress management, flexibility, addressing addictive behaviors, successful sleep, the importance of social supports, meditation, gratitude, nutrition, art, theater, and nature.

UNLV medical students have the opportunity to experience and participate in a variety of regularly scheduled modalities including tai chi, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, narrative medicine, and graphic medicine.  As the medical students take up the rigors of the study of medicine, the integrative medicine and wellness curriculum will provide practical strategies to enhance their own self-care as well as training the future physicians to care for the whole person.


This topic is important and relevant to the conference theme Collaboration in Action: Advancing Integrative Health through Research, Education, Clinical Practice and Policy because UNLV School of Medicine created their curriculum with Integrative Health topics throughout all four years of training. This opportunity presented through the creation of a brand new medical school in a medically underserved area that saw the future of medicine heading this direction. Integrative medicine and health connects patients to themselves, their practitioners and to their communities. It reminds us of our innate ability to heal while honoring all of the available and appropriate treatments. It is also an issue of understanding and communicatiion. Current research suggests that many patients are using some forms of integrative medicine and very few communicate this to their doctors. This gap in communication creates more gaps in care. Many physicians who trained before were not taught about this and express their discomfort discussin this with patients because of their lack of knowledge. Through creating a new school of medicine that honors all forms of healing, the lines of communication and dialogue are open to train medical students, residents, faculty and physicians. 


Participants will be able to look at their own curriculum and identify places that this curriculum fits.

Participants will be able to assess the impact of the curricular changes.