Greater than the Sum of its Parts
It is hard for us to imagine a world without today's sophisticated healthcare system. Through modern medicine, an ever-expanding suite of diagnostic tools, procedures, medications, and surgical options lay at our collective disposal. This is especially true at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), where some of the world's brightest medical minds continually develop better and safer treatments to benefit humankind.
But excellent care means more than curing a specific ailment with the latest medical marvels. Excellent care seeks to understand how the ailment affects a patient's overall physical and mental well-being. Excellent care considers the interconnected systems of the body and mind. Excellent care enhances patients' health by considering all the tools at our disposal - those from the technologically advanced hemisphere of Western medicine, as well as from the traditionally based hemisphere of Eastern medicine.
Excellent care acknowledges the whole patient and diverse forms of treatment.
A New Model of Wellness
The Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine's unique combination of care, research, and education is moving medicine toward a new model of wellness and healing that provides holistic care for the whole patient.
Despite the tremendous health advantages patients receive from conventional and alternative medicine, the two fields do not usually converge. Hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices typically practice conventional medicine, while alternative medicine remains less accessible to patients who seek to complement their clinical care with other means of healing.
That is why Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School established The Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine in 2002. Through the center, we practice the following:
Through a holistic approach to care-based multidisciplinary research and training, The Osher Clinical Center (Osher) is ushering in a new health and wellness model that forges medical connections at the physiological, clinical, and community levels.
On the physiological level, Osher is translating basic science research into patient care. Our research will help integrate the medical community's understanding of human physiology (how various body systems function) and pathology (the causes and effects of disease) in order to refine our approach to holistic medicine.
On the clinical level, Osher is looking at each patient's entire medical history, enabling us to coordinate treatment approaches. We are encouraging specialists from different areas to discuss all of our patients' medical conditions, thereby further integrating and coordinating care for the whole patient. And, we are training future integrative medical practitioners to combine Eastern and Western therapies as a standard of care for their patients.
On the community level, Osher is making plans to convene global experts in integrative medical care and research. As part of this process, we will disseminate research findings beyond our walls and help to illuminate the best practices of integrative medicine practices of integrative medicine practitioners at BWH and beyond.
The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine is one of 7 international Osher centers established by the Bernard Osher Foundation.