Selected Speeches

International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health

May 9, 2018
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel

Thank you, Dr. Saper. It always gives me great pleasure to welcome friends and colleagues to Baltimore, a city of tremendous strength and deep resilience—a city that many of us here today take considerable pride in serving.

As you heard Dr. Saper mention, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university. This “human services” phrase is vitally important—for many reasons. For one, it invokes our School of Social Work, the alma mater of today’s honoree, Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Sen. Mikulski’s lifelong dedication to the well-being of individuals, and families, and communities is an enormous source of inspiration to me and to many others across the country who’ve been touched by her work and her legacy.

In a broader sense, “human services” goes to the very core of UMB. It underscores how seriously we take our obligation to surround patients and clients with a team of professionals who can work together to provide the integrated care and counsel that advances human health and well-being.

UMB’s mission is tightly aligned with the holistic care—the “whole person” care—to which this Congress is dedicated. And our mission is absolutely informed by the community to which we belong. In a city like Baltimore, whose residents routinely experience trauma, where poverty and inequity are sadly endemic, where achieving wellness in body, mind, and spirit is elusive for many, we must approach health care differently. We must shift the paradigm―from treating illness to cultivating wellness.

At the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Integrative Medicine, this paradigm shift is called “creating an epidemic of health.” I’m so proud of the center’s leadership in this movement and the leadership of its director, Dr. Brian Berman.

The University of Maryland was the nation’s very first academic health center to open a center for integrative medicine. For 15 years, it’s had standing as an NIH Center of Excellence. For decades, the center’s faculty have collaborated with colleagues across departments and disciplines. And over the years, integrative health has been embraced throughout the University and the medical center, by students, faculty, and leaders who understand exactly what we gain from patient-centered integrative care.

I’ve seen first-hand the impact of this care, the impact on chronic pain, on addiction, on anxiety and stress, on trauma and recovery, on grief and depression, on wellness and well-being. I’ve seen integrative medicine advance those things we know make us better practitioners: interprofessional education and collaboration, community outreach and engagement, a global health perspective.

I know that integrative medicine helps us serve our patients better, and—yes—our professions better. And so I wish you an illuminating conference and, of course, a wonderful time in this city I call home. Thank you.


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