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Samueli Foundation funds integrative medicine initiative

Dr. David Kilgore and Dr. Emily Dow
Dr. David Kilgore and Dr. Emily Dow

Primary care providers partner with patients to make care decisions using an integrative approach

The Integrative Medicine Program, led by David Kilgore, MD, has been increasing access to integrative health resources for underserved patients and changing the focus of healthcare and medical education at UC Irvine since 2012, with support from the Samueli Foundation.

The Department of Family Medicine is proud to be a part of the major integrative health initiative that UC Irvine is pioneering with support from Susan and Henry Samueli.

Elements of our Integrative Medicine Program include:

  • Resident Education — In addition to didactic opportunities for all UCI Family Medicine residents, we offer an optional 3-year track in Integrative Medicine for residents to learn about holistic approaches to primary care problems through a combination of live and online interdisciplinary training activities. IM Track residents gain increased knowledge, skills and experience engaging patients in choosing dietary changes, exercise, stress reduction techniques, herbs or supplements, sleep improvements or referrals to therapies such as acupuncture or massage.
  • Integrative Resources for Underserved Patients — At UCI Family Health Centers, we support patients and families wanting to make healthy lifestyle changes through a variety of integrative clinics and classes such as our Integrative Medicine Consult clinic, Spanish-language diabetes and weight management classes (group medical visits), Yoga and Zumba classes.
  • Education for Medical Students — First- and second-year medical students learn hands-on, practical healthy cooking skills paired with evidence-based nutrition education through our Culinary Medicine Elective.
  • Empowering a Community of Wellness — Drawing from resources and lessons learned at UCI Family Health Centers, the Live Healthy OC team partners with seven participating Community Health Centers to educate providers and staff about integrative interventions and activities; assist in implementing those which best suit each clinic's patient population and strengths; and evaluate outcomes at the clinic, provider and patient level.

Kilgore describes integrative health care's important role in chronic disease prevention: "Over the last twenty years, we've seen robust evidence of the positive impacts of integrative modalities such as stress reduction, group visits, acupuncture, and healthy lifestyle changes on cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety, chronic pain, cancer, diabetes and obesity.  Done well, integrative health interventions improve patient outcomes, decrease doctor visits and reduce overall health care costs.  We need individuals and communities across disciplines to help shift the paradigm in health care towards one of wellness, prevention, patient empowerment, and self-care."  

David Kilgore, MD, who leads the Integrative Medicine Program, is a board-certified family physician and a UC Irvine clinical professor of family medicine. He has practiced family medicine for more than 20 years and has taken advanced fellowship training in integrative medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.