In the News
Herbal Advocate to Receive American Botanical Council Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award
Music Therapy & Military White Paper Provides Model Programs and Research
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) announces the publication of Music Therapy and Military Populations: A Status Report and Recommendations on Music Therapy Treatment, Programs, Research, and Practice Policy. This landmark report discusses the profession of music therapy with a focus on both active duty service members and veterans. The publication may be obtained online at musictherapy.org under the "Latest News" section.
The music therapy profession's rich, enduring contributions to readiness, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness among America's military populations are explored. The white paper presents exemplary model programs and highlights the strong foundation of published research and evidence to inform practice. This information provides the groundwork to improve access to music therapy services among military populations and inform strategic plans for expanded and prioritized implementation of music therapy programs, research, and practice policy in the military.
The demand for music therapy services for America's service members, veterans and their families by board certified music therapy clinicians is growing. The benefits of music therapy services are largely untapped at America's military health facilities. Music therapists serve as members of patient-centered interdisciplinary teams. Working alongside other creative arts therapists and allied health professionals, music therapists provide a vital service at America's veteran hospitals, military health facilities, and military installations.
Recommendations contained in the paper span research, policy, and program development. Fascinating and important research in music therapy interventions on topics affecting today's service members and their families is active and growing among various related populations. It is critically important for this research to be tested, replicated and conducted with service members and veterans. Recommendations in the area of practice policy include a call for an updated review of federal job classifications that enable board certified music therapists to provide music therapy interventions.
Music therapy in the US military has a history of over 70 years, covering the entire continuum of care among service members, veterans, and their families. Music therapy services are an integral part of treatment delivered in military treatment facilities and VA medical centers throughout the country. Today's healthcare standards dictate that the provision of quality music therapy services must be delivered by board certified music therapists. Currently, music therapy as a profession is recognized throughout agencies of the federal government including the Departments of Education, and Health and Human Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and by various accrediting bodies. More music therapy and credentialed music therapists are needed to keep pace with the current needs of our military populations.
Chinese herbal therapy debuts at Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals
Changes made to state laws have opened the door for certified herbal therapists to prescribe custom Chinese herbal therapy blends and traditional formulas to patients within a clinical practice.
Instead of having to travel out of the state for herbal therapy – to use alone or as a supplement to other prescription medications – Northeast Ohio residents now have two options close to home.
Chinese herbs may be used for a variety of things, such as to alleviate chronic conditions such as sinusitis and insomnia; to help decrease cold and flu symptoms and pain; to regulate menstrual cycles in women trying to conceive; and to improve digestion.
Other candidates for herbal therapy are patients who have multiple, complex symptoms; have exhausted other medical treatment options; or need additional therapy to counteract the side effects of prescription medication.
In early 2013, the State Medical Board of Ohio began regulating the practice of Oriental medicine, which includes the practice of acupuncture and the use of herbal therapy.
That paved the way for the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals to each hire an acupuncturist who is also a certified herbal therapist.
Since January, the Chinese Herbal Therapy Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic has been operating as part of the Center for Integrative Medicine (recently named in honor of Dr. Tanya Edwards, the center’s medical director) in Lyndhurst.
And this month saw the start of herbal medicine consultations at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, through the Connor Integrative Medicine Network.
"Patients over the years have really been seeking out Chinese herbs and a lot of physicians had been contacting us asking if we used Chinese herbs," said Jamie Starkey, the lead acupuncturist at the Center for Integrative Medicine - housed within the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute - and one of five acupuncturists on staff.
Starkey, who manages the Clinic’s acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Therapy clinics, conducted a national search to recruit an acupuncturist who was also trained and licensed in Chinese herbal medicine.
Now, instead of wondering what type of herbal therapy patients are taking, and where they got it, the new law allows for complete oversight, Starkey said.
"We can chart everything the patient is taking and look for herb-herb and drug-herb interaction," she said.
In recent years, health care providers have become more informed about the benefits of acupuncture and Eastern medication, Starkey said.
Acupuncture has proved to be beneficial for cancer patients dealing with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, for example.
For patients with other conditions who don’t respond to acupuncture, herbal therapy is now an option. All herbal therapy patients are closely monitored, with regular checks of their liver and kidney function.
The Clinic gets its Chinese herbs from Crane Herb Company in Massachusetts. Along with Crane, UH's herbs come from the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon and Mayway in Oakland, California.
The Clinic requires a physician referral for Chinese herbal therapy. No referral is needed for an herbal medicine consultation at UH.
"I wanted to make sure not only patients had access to an herbalist but the highest quality of herbs," Starkey said. "I needed to make sure the products carrying were of utmost quality."
"Now we’re able to offer a more well-rounded approach to care," Starkey said.
Since the fall, Yoder, 33, had been a patient at the Clinic’s Wellness Institute, getting acupuncture on a regular basis.
With the arrival of the certified herbal therapist, Yoder jumped at the chance to try herbal therapy, especially since she was still bothered by chronic itchiness caused when she stopped taking the antihistamine Zyrtec over the summer.
"Nothing is instantaneous, but the results are better," Yoder said. "I was a little nervous [about trying herbal therapy], but there haven't been any side effects."
The ability to provide Chinese herbal therapy is "an incredible step for patient care," says Dr. Melissa Young, an internist and integrative medicine specialist at the Clinic. "The beauty of it - it's so complementary.
"As an integrative medicine physician, to have more tools to benefit patients really optimizes patient care," she said.
Herbal Advocate to Receive American Botanical Council Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award
The nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) announces that herbalist and educator Sara Katz has been selected as the second-ever recipient of its Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award. The award is granted to persons in the herbal medicine community who have played a significant role in creating a sense of community among herbalists, researchers, members of the herb and natural products communities, and related groups who work in the area of medicinal plants. It was created in 2013 and is named after ABC's Founder and Executive Director, Mark Blumenthal.
Among her many noteworthy accomplishments, Katz is co-founder of the herbal products company Herb Pharm, a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild, and board president of United Plant Savers (UpS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation and sustainable production of indigenous American medicinal plants. She has served on numerous local and national boards — including that of the American Herbal Products Association — and she has organized and co-organized multiple herbal conferences throughout the United States, notably five UpS conferences at Herb Pharm between 2000 and 2012, with proceeds benefiting the conservation nonprofit.
Along with strong support from others in the herbal community, Katz received a nomination for the honor from the recipient of the inaugural Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award, celebrated herbalist, author, and UpS Founder Rosemary Gladstar. "[Sara] is a driving force in the herbal community and is involved in so many herbal ventures. In fact, there's very little Sara's not involved in, or [hasn't] supported in one way or another," said Gladstar. "The thing is, she does it quietly, often behind the scenes … but she's always speaking out, doing, helping, being involved in the greater circle."
"I am so humbled, floored, and surprised. To be in the same teacup as Mark and Rosemary — I cannot imagine a more meaningful award…. I couldn't be happier and I am over-the-moon honored," said Katz. "The herbal community is international, ranging from scientists to herbalists to farmers," she observed. "There is a spirit and a spark and an understanding that unites all of us, and that's a lot of people."
Katz grew up in south Florida without much exposure to herbs or the natural-living culture. "In my early 20s, I chose to break away, and I went about as far as I could — to Portland, Oregon," recalled Katz. In search of a career and drawn to natural healing, Katz enrolled in Western States Chiropractic College (now the University of Western States). Though bodywork ultimately was not Katz's calling, her chiropractic training did connect her with a group of like-minded individuals endeavoring to establish an herbal medicine-centered naturopathic college. The start-up funding for what became the Pacific College of Natural Medicine was raised through conferences Katz co-organized.
Shortly thereafter, Katz and herbalist Ed Smith chose to diverge from that path, forging a trail that led to their 1979 co-founding of Herb Pharm — today an award-winning herbal extract manufacturing business and certified-organic farm. "We packed up our bags, found a rental, and moved to Williams, Oregon, where we started making extracts in our kitchen. Ed traveled the country teaching herb classes, and people were fascinated by our extracts, so we joined forces and started doing everything about herbs," said Katz. She added: "It was the most modest home business that you can imagine, the way it started."
Katz and Smith's "Pharm Farm" in southern Oregon grew simultaneously with their Herb Pharm Herbaculture Intern Program, which currently offers three 10-week sessions per year. During that time, the interns live on site, spending weekdays learning medicinal plant cultivation and harvest, and evenings and weekends in classes devoted to topics ranging from plant identification to therapeutic herbalism. Over the past 35 years, the program has provided training to thousands — many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in natural medicine. It stands among Katz's proudest and most passionate efforts, along with her "completely gratifying" work to conserve and protect indigenous medicinal plants with UpS.
"What motivates me is working toward purposeful goals with a dedicated, passionate, intelligent group of people," said Katz. "The role I find myself in now is as a mentor in the various nonprofit organizations that I'm involved with. In many cases, the way is being led by remarkable young women, and I am absolutely thrilled to be able to help them navigate the world of business and organizations with all I've learned through the years."
"Herbs lead the way," she continued. "For me, it's a spiritual path; it's what connects me to the unknown and the world of nature, and I think it's that way for many of us. When you get that spark of the medicine plants, it's forever."
"Sara is a truly amazing person, perhaps a proverbial 'force of nature,'" noted Blumenthal. "I remember, back in the late 1970s or early 1980s, her working in her home late at night, packing orders for the line of 'home-made' herbal extracts that she and Ed made, sending them to herbalists and alternative healthcare practitioners all over the United States. She was like three people in one — her energy and enthusiasm seemed boundless. And, she's taken that high level of energetic commitment beyond the business to educational activities and organizations across the United States, particularly with her dedicated volunteer work as president of United Plant Savers."
Physicians Practice App Offers Guidance on Boosting Practice Revenue
UBM Medica US today announced that Physicians Practice, the award-winning practice management resource for physicians and medical office staff, released the latest issue of its free tablet application, available from the App Store. This issue includes advice from peers and practice management experts to help physicians run profitable practices in spite of the challenges associated with the changing healthcare environment.
According to results from UBM Medica's 2013 Physician Compensation Survey featured in this issue of the app, over half of the respondents expressed some degree of disappointment with their income. To help address this concern, Physicians Practice offers suggestions for maximizing revenue without increasing already full patient loads. Additional topics covered in the issue provide guidance on decreasing patient no-shows, making smart technology purchases, and thoroughly preparing for the ICD-10 transition - each of which can have a positive impact on a practice's bottom line
Also included is Physicians Practice's exclusive Best States to Practice 2013, an interactive feature ranking states to show which locations provide the most physician-friendly climate for running a private practice. Multi-media features accompany the rankings, allowing readers to delve deeper into the analysis. Users will also have access to:
- An infographic highlighting the rankings in several statistical categories including malpractice payouts, cost of living, and physician competition
- A clickable map with links to data and insights from physicians in each state
- An interactive tool that allows physicians to select their ideal location based on the factors that are most important to them
"Our goal with this issue was to help physicians take steps to address the daily frustrations they face in their practices," said Keith L. Martin, group editorial director at UBM Medica US. "With options ranging from small operational changes that boost revenue, to more drastic measures such as relocation, we believe the practical advice found in the app will help our readers take control of their business challenges so that they can focus more on patient care."
For nearly 25 years, Physicians Practice has provided practical advice on the business of medicine through a variety of mediums including print, digital, and live events. The Physicians Practice tablet app debuted three issues for the iPad in 2013, combining practical advice with interactive features such as podcasts, videos, personalized checklists, and featured issues. In 2014, the second volume of the app will increase to six issues throughout the year. A version for Android tablets will be available soon in the Google Play store. For more information on the iPad version, visit the App Store.