Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H. research associate professor, recently received a $1,167,943 5-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to launch the Integrative Oncology Scholars Program. The goal of the program is to teach oncology health-care providers how to evaluate the scientific evidence of the efficacy of complementary therapies, including acupuncture; mind-body practices, such as yoga, meditation, and music therapy; physical activity; and nutrition, and integrate these modalities into their practice to help cancer survivors combat symptoms from cancer and its treatments and improve their quality of life.
The year-long program is being offered free of charge to 25 eligible oncology professionals, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists, and occupational and physical therapists, nationwide. The program, which entails completing 72 in-person hours over three 3-day sessions at the University of Michigan and 5 hours per month of Internet-based coursework for a total of about 132 hours, begins in August 2018. Each participant accepted into the program will receive up to a $1,500 stipend for travel and lodging expenses to attend the in-person sessions.
Innovative Learning Approach
The curriculum uses a flipped classroom model in which participants are required to complete three 15-minute Web-based interactive modules covering a general integrative medicine treatment that addresses a cancer-related symptom, such as pain or fatigue, and corresponds to the in-person classroom sessions. The program will offer continuing medical education credits, although the number of credits has not yet been determined. The aim of the program is not only to increase the number of integrative medicine practitioners in both the academic and community oncology settings, but to bring evidence-based, standardized care to the field of integrative medicine as well.
“Our hope with this program is that the complementary therapies practitioners offer patients and cancer survivors will be drawn from scientific evidence and tailored to the needs of specific patient populations and to the resources individual practitioners have in place,” said Zick.
“We want participants in the Integrative Oncology Scholars Program … to be the change agents of integrative medicine oncology care in their health-care institutions and in their communities to reduce cancer-related symptom burden, decrease distress, and increase the quality of life for cancer survivors,” she added.
Applications for the 2018–2019 Integrative Oncology Scholars Program are due by January 15, 2018.More information about the program can be found at: https://sites.google.com/umich.edu/ioscholars.