San Diego — February 25-27 the Institute of Medicine will convene the “Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public” in Washington D.C. Mimi Guarneri, M.D., medical director and founder of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, is among the distinguished researchers, practitioners and leaders from multiple sectors invited to present the vision, challenges, scientific evidence and opportunities for integrative medicine to improve U.S. health care.
Seventy five percent of health care spending is attributed to caring for people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity. “These chronic diseases are largely preventable and even reversible by making diet and lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Guarneri. “At the summit, we will explore issues, opportunities, and approaches for helping solve the nation’s health care crisis by shifting its focus to efficient, evidence-based prevention, wellness and patient-centered care.”
Integrative medicine is a holistic approach to health that uses the best of conventional medicine and complementary approaches such as lifestyle change, nutrition education, exercise, yoga and meditation to reverse and prevent chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Dr. Guarneri was also an integral part of the summit’s 12-person planning committee throughout 2008. As a member of the committee, she has helped oversee development of the summit.
Dr. Guarneri co-founded Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and the center’s Healing Hearts Lifestyle Change Program in 1999 with Rauni King, R.N., to address the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient as well as the physical needs. Board certified in cardiology, internal medicine, nuclear medicine and holistic medicine, Dr. Guarneri has cared for heart patients using integrative medicine for more than 12 years.
Four months ago, patient Keith Rowland, 52, graduated from the Healing Hearts Lifestyle Change Program at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. “When he joined the program he had high blood pressure, was overweight and stressed out,” says Dr. Guarneri. “He needed to make lifestyle changes in order to prevent a major health crisis.” Mr. Rowland’s 26-year career as a corrections officer certainly would explain his high stress levels, but it was the stress of family issues that he couldn’t control and kept him up at night. His anger and his responses to stress were affecting his health. In the program he lost 35 pounds, learned to manage his stress and deal with his anger. “Some family issues are still there,” says Mr. Rowland, “but now I know how to stay balanced, and take care of my mind, body and spirit, even in difficult times. I knew I was headed for a major physical and emotional crisis. This program was a lifesaver.”
Stress, anger and other emotions have a significant effect on the heart, as Dr. Guarneri discusses in her book, The Heart Speaks. “Health is more than the absence of disease,” says Dr. Guarneri. “Integrative medicine addresses each person’s mind, body and spirit health. We help people who want to prevent disease and reduce their stress as well as those who are faced with a life crisis such as a heart attack or cancer. We give people a compassionate, supportive and healing environment to explore their purpose in life and learn how to take care of their health for a lifetime.”
Dr. Guarneri’s medical degree is from SUNY Medical Center in New York, where she graduated number one in her class. Dr. Guarneri served her internship and residency at Cornell Medical Center, where she later became chief medical resident. She is part of the Scripps Clinic Medical Group where she served as an attending in interventional cardiology. Dr. Guarneri is also a member of the American College of Cardiology, Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Medical Women’s Association and a diplomat of the American Holistic Medical Association.
Part of Scripps Health, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine blends allopathic care with evidence-based complementary treatments and therapies. The center provides care for people with heart disease, pain, weight management needs, cancer, diabetes, stress, women’s health issues and other health concerns. Through clinical research, education, prevention and lifestyle changes, the practitioners at the center seeks to empower people to take charge of their health and prevent disease.
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion nonprofit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,300 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of clinics, physician offices and outpatient centers.
Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education. In 2007, Scripps committed more than $150 million in capital and facility improvements across the San Diego region while providing significant charity care to the community – more than $236 million in uncompensated care in 2007. Scripps Health Foundation generated $74 million in charitable donations in 2007 to support the Scripps mission.
Scripps Health includes: Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, two Scripps Mercy Hospital campuses, 10 Scripps Clinic locations, nine Scripps Coastal Medical Center locations, Scripps Home Health Care Services and Scripps Clinical Research Services.
Support for the summit has been provided by the Bravewell Collaborative, an operating foundation of leading philanthropists dedicated to transforming the culture and delivery of health care. Bravewell, along with the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, a London-based nonprofit that champions an integrated approach to health, and AARP, the U.S. nonprofit membership organization for people age 50 and older, have formed an international alliance in support of the summit and ongoing activities related to the advancement of integrative medicine. To learn more about the summit, visit www.iom.edu/integrativemedicine.
Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.