The Power of Integrative Medicine and the Group in Equitably Advancing Health and Well-Being: A Participatory Action Research Study

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Socioeconomic conditions impact health profoundly and disproportionately. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and account for 7 of the top 10 causes of death globally. Evidence-based integrative medicine practices address the primary causes of most chronic disease. In addition, group treatments provide a clinically effective and economically affordable methodology for treating chronic conditions. Besides treating patients regardless of their ability to pay, the mission of nonprofit federally qualified health centers includes promoting health equitably in their communities. Combining integrative medicine practices with community health center-sponsored group interventions creates the ability to address root causes of chronic disease, decrease isolation, and provide accessible care for all community members. This initial iteration of a participatory action research (PAR) study explored the receptiveness of clinicians and administrators in four urban community health centers to the use of integrative medicine group practices for their patients. Interviews and discussions were conducted with seven administrators and clinicians at four urban federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). Three themes, six sub-themes, and three sensory concepts were identified. Relying upon these themes, this PAR study identified that the next step in equitably advancing the health and well-being of FQHC patients should include training staff in integrative health practices and embedding cultural sensitivity into the training process.

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International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society

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