Decolonizing Medicine: Toward Equity and Inclusivity in Integrative Healthcare

What does it mean to decolonize medicine; and, how do we build more equitable models of integrative healthcare? Integrative Health has been critiqued as a movement emphasizing "elite medicine for the worried well... [and] pricey, non-essential healthcare practices for the 'overserved.' ''* Yet, many ‘integrative’ practices (e.g., yoga, mindfulness, acupuncture) have historical roots in communities of color, and—like air and water--belong in the commons, where value goes beyond price. Such practices also often originate in Indigenous therapeutic paradigms that pre-date European colonization -- but continue to be devalued.

This year’s IM4US conference welcomes contributions on the following themes as well as other areas related to equity and inclusivity in integrative healthcare: 

  • Using anti-racist and/or re-Indigenizing strategies to address social and structural determinants of health;

  • Lifting up models of financially accessible, trauma-informed, culturally-safe and culturally-responsive healthcare;

  • Building trustworthy healthcare organizations;

  • Transforming biomedical supremacy, environmental racism and cultural misappropriation in healthcare;

  • Expanding what ‘evidence’ means for marginalized communities and practices; 

  • Redefining professional expertise through dignified collaboration between diverse healthcare practitioners, patients, and communities; and 

  • Recognizing and honoring community-based health sovereignty.

Submissions will be housed within four conference tracks aligned with the IM4US mission: Outreach, Education, Research & Practice, and Advocacy. 

*Chao MT, Adler SR. Integrative Medicine and the Imperative for Health Justice. J Altern Complement Med 2018 Feb;24(2):101–3.

Keynote Speakers

    Vivian Camacho, MD, General Director of Traditional Medicine at Bolivia’s Ministry of Health

    Thomas Anthony Chavez, PhD, LMHC (NM) NCC, Counseling Psychologist, and Professor, University of New Mexico

    Aminah Ghaffar, MS, Co-Founder of Breaths Together for a Change

    Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson, LAc, Founder, Executive Director of Frontline Wellness Network

    Cinnamon Spear Kills First, MFA, Co-Founder of Breaths Together for a Change

    Landon Opunui, ND, Medical Director of the Nā Puʻuwai Native Hawaiian Health Care System 

    Caroline Ortiz, MPH, MSN, RN, NC-BC, Associate Professor at Pacific College of Health and Science, and Ph.D. Student at Villanova University

    Anjali Taneja, MD, MPH, Executive Director and Medical Director at Casa de Salud in Albuquerque, New Mexico 

    Tommy Woon, MS, CCT, SEP, Co-Founder of Breaths Together for a Change


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