Local Physicians Graduate from Pioneering Integrative Medicine Program

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2009

SALISBURY, NC ń After two years of intensive training in areas such as botanical medicine, mind-body interactions and nutrition, board-certified pediatricians Chris Magryta, MD and Kathleen Russo, MD, of Salisbury Pediatric Associates and Rowan Regional Medical Center, have completed Fellowships in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Launched in the summer of 2000 by internationally recognized integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine Fellowship combines residential sessions in Tucson with a ědistributed learningî model, in which participants learn via the Internet from their own homes or offices. Drs. Magryta and Russo joined 73 other physicians and nurse practitioners from all over the world in a graduation ceremony on December 12, 2008 in Tucson, AZ.

Integrative medicine encourages healthy lifestyle choices and combats societal pressures, such as the high-fat, fast food diet that is a favorite with many of todayís children. Drs. Magryta and Russo started making changes in their clinic soon after beginning their fellowship training. For example, the physicians now offer a type 2 diabetes clinic in their pediatric practice, even though they say the condition was not common among children when they began studying medicine. The high-fat, high-calorie diets that are common in children today have caused an increase in childhood obesity ń a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes ń but this culture shift can be countered with the healthy living principles and strategies that are emphasized by integrative medicine. The physicians have also used principles of integrative medicine to help with other ailments that affect children, such as headaches, pain, infectious mononucleosis, chronic sinusitis and allergies.

ěDr. Magryta and Dr. Russo have received the best training available in integrative medicine,î said Dr. Weil. ěI consider them fully prepared to go out in the world and help transform the practice of medicine and healthcare in the directions consumers want.î

The program, which includes 1,000 hours of instruction, emphasizes clinical applications and collaboration to establish a broad knowledge base that will transfer into clinical practice. The curriculum utilizes patient simulations, collaborative dialogues, research updates and dialogues, problem-solving exercises, selected readings, group projects and presentations. It focuses on the practical application of approaches that have scientific evidence and/or a history of traditional use. Methods of healing are explored, and physicians gain the ability to discuss these areas with both their patients and the practitioners of these disciplines. Fellows explore the art of medicine, philosophy of medicine, medicine and culture, mind-body interactions, nutrition, botanicals, physical activity, spirituality, leadership and legal issues.