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Family Medicine Residency Program's Integrative Medicine Track

The Department of Family Medicine now offers a track within its residency program that is designed to offer additional education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of primary care patients using the tools and philosophies of integrative medicine.

The curriculum for this special training track is taught in a longitudinal fashion over the course of the three-year program, with various educational elements integrated into the standard family medicine residency curriculum. At the core of the program is a web-based series of award-winning teaching modules, part of the Integrative Medicine in Residency program made accessible to our residents in collaboration with University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine (ACIM).

Educational information from this online program is complemented by a variety of on-site interactive and experiential learning activities. This track addresses a number of key elements of holistic care that are often overlooked in traditional medical school curricula, including nutrition, mind-body medicine, the evidence-based use of herbal medicine and supplements, acupuncture, a focus on patient-centered communication, self-care and the importance of a healing environment.  

Please refer to our Integrative Medicine Program home page to learn about the many integrative resources we offer.

The web-based curriculum from the ACIM has already been successfully piloted at a number of residency programs across the country, but what makes the UC Irvine Family Medicine Residency program unique is our focus on and commitment to bringing integrative medicine resources to our underserved Latino patient community, a population traditionally unable to access these valuable resources.

Residents completing the integrative medicine track will receive a certificate from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. This certificate is applicable toward requirements for board certification in integrative medicine after graduation for those residents who are interested in continuing to pursue this career path.

Two-page summary of Integrative Medicine Residency Track


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Elements of Integrative Medicine Practice

  • Patient-centered care that focuses on healing the whole person, and takes into account all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including mind,body and spirit in the context of community.
  • Educate and empower people to be active participants in their own care, and to take responsibility for their own health and wellness.
  • Integrate the best of Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, healing and wellness to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  • Encourage healing partnerships between the provider and patient, and support the individualization of care.
  • Make use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches and evidence-based modalities to achieve optimal health and healing — a philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically
  • Focus on the use of natural, effective, less-invasive interventions whenever possible
  • Restore the focus of medicine towards prevention, wellness and healing
  • Train practitioners to be models of health and healing, committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development

How do I apply for the integrative medicine residency track?

Students interested in this track should follow all the usual residency applications procedures. There is no separate match application for this track.

When you arrange your interview, simply indicate that you have an interest in learning more about the IM residency track. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the track during your interview.

You can tell us at that time if you’d like to be considered for acceptance into the track.

Does the IM curriculum replace any other residency program rotations? »

The IM residency track is a longitudinal curriculum, meaning that residents learn the additional educational material gradually over the course of the three-year program. The information is integrated into a variety of the core family medicine rotations.

IM track residents are given designated time during selected rotations to learn about additional approaches relevant to primary care problems. For example, they review IM approaches to allergies and attention deficity hyperactivity disorder during the pediatrics rotation and IM options for treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and vaginitis during the gynecology rotation.

IM track residents complete all the same residency rotations as their peers. The goal is, first and foremost, to help you become a well-trained and highly skilled family physician. The IM track offers you the best groundwork to apply your additional skills and knowledge in integrative medicine to benefit your patients.

How much time does the IM track take to complete? »

The total curriculum is approximately a 200-hour program, including the web-based modules and on-site activities.

There are periodic "carve out" protected work times set aside for IM track residents in several selected rotations, as well as in two elective rotations (see below). This allows IM residents to complete the vast majority of the curriculum during these designated normal work hours.

There will be some occasional evening time to participate in the MBSR course or to help prepare for an IM noon topic presentation.

Is elective time used for IM activities? »

Yes. We ask that you set aside a small part of the R2 elective month and one of the two available R3 elective months for a variety of IM training activities.