“Our culture has been under a powerful spell. We believed we could create an approach to healing based on purely 'the physical' and that this type of medicine would answer all our needs. Now we know that this is a goal impossible in principle. So the question is not whether medicine will change, but when.”

— Victor Sierpina, MD, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

You and Your Health

Take an active role in your own healthcare.


Doctor and Patient

One of the core principles of integrative medicine is that you, working in partnership with your healthcare provider, should be the ultimate decision maker regarding any of your own health concerns.

The National Academy of Sciences, one of country’s most prestigious scientific organizations, urges that, "Patients be given the necessary information and the opportunity to exercise the degree of control they choose over healthcare decisions that affect them."  In addition, the Academy states that the healthcare system should accommodate differences in patient preferences and encourage shared decision-making.

It may seem odd that we need to remind healthcare providers to put their patients at the center of the care they give or that we need to remind patients to take control of their own lives and well-being.  Yet we do.

As our healthcare system grows more complex, and as providers feel more pressure to see more patients in less time, care has become centered not on the needs of patients, but around the needs of the system itself.  This must change.

Let your healthcare provider know that you and your family want to be involved in all healthcare decisions and that you want to be informed of all treatment options.


Being informed will help you make better healthcare decisions.

The better informed you are, the better choices you will make with regard to your own health.  Understanding all your options, and knowing what will or won’t work best for you is imperative.

Integrative medicine clinics and institutions provide educational classes and make health information easily available to individuals and their families.  A few links to Web sites with helpful information are provided below:


Your body’s innate healing systems are some of the most powerful allies you have when facing illness or injury.

When it comes to your health, you are your own best friend.  The job of the provider is to simply give you the tools and medicines needed to make the most of your own inner healing resources.  To learn more about how you can improve your own health, read one of the following stories:


“Integrative medicine is a system of care in which health is enriched by knowledge and practice, both ancient and modern, and where the most advanced medical science and compassion meet mind, body and spirit. The ultimate goal is wellness, vitality and quality of life.”

— Rauni Prittinen King, RN, Co-Founder and Director, Programs and Planning, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine

Erminia M. Guarneri, MD

Erminia M. Guarneri, MD

“The problem with medicine today is that we give the spirit to the ministers and rabbis and priests; we give the emotions to the psychiatrist; and we give the heart to the cardiologist. But we can't chop people up, compartmentalize them into these little pieces because it doesn't work.”

— Erminia M. Guarneri, MD, Founder and Director, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine