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S16: Integrating CAM and Conventional Medicine: Group-based Models of Health Care Delivery for Underserved Populations

10:30 - 12:00, Brickell, Terrace Level

Katherine Gergen Barnett (1), Paula Gardiner (1), Danielle Dresner (1), Maria Chao (2), Larissa Duncan (2)

(1): Boston Medical Center, United States                                             

(2): Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), United States



Group medical visits are being used for an increasing number of health care conditions, aimed at both preventive self-care and management of chronic illnesses. The theory underlying the value of the medical group visit is that medical treatment is enhanced by simultaneous incorporation of two crucial aspects of the patient’s health experience: the patient’s own efficacy in managing medical problems together with his or her health care team, and the patient’s own community for support in integrating medical recommendations into his or her daily life. Several group visit models have emerged that incorporate integrative medicine approaches and conventional medicine practice to offer a holistic, patient-centered intervention for managing one’s health. This new patient-clinician team approach is innovative because it improves patients’ health through the merger of two novel paradigms: the Group Medical Visit model, which provides for more open communication between patient and provider while allowing patients to share experiences in a group setting; and Integrative Medicine, which incorporates conventional medicine, education, and non-pharmacologic treatment strategies (evidenced-based complementary therapies).  The purpose of this symposium is to discuss the state of research and clinical practice for group visit models, with particular emphasis on integrative medicine-based group care and group visits for the underserved.  This session will feature an expert panel of researchers and address: (1) current research and methods of group-based health care delivery; (2) strengths, challenges and best practices for the group care model in underserved populations; (3) models of group care and health conditions that may benefit; (4) the role of integrative medicine in a group visits model; and (5) perspectives on how group care affects health disparities.