IM4US Aims for Justice and Equity in Healthcare Policy and Practice at 8th Annual Conference

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This summer, Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US) will head to Washington, DC for its 8th Annual Conference with the goal of educating and mobilizing its membership to take action on ensuring greater justice and equity in healthcare policy and practice for the underserved. Participants will have the opportunity to gain the tools needed to take action to attain health equity not only nationally, but in their own local communities.

As the passing of the GOP tax bill aims for the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than 30 years, the bill also aims to affect healthcare policy in a significant way. The impact of the bill could mean the loss of health insurance for about 13 million people in the next decade or an increase in premiums of up to 10 percent. Many of those affected represent the most vulnerable of populations – the underserved. In addition, the opioid epidemic is a major health threat to the underserved, along with millions of Americans. Now more than ever, Integrative Medicine and nonpharmacological approaches are needed to ensure the health and well-being of those affected by these healthcare issues. A solution that is strongly endorsed by the Joint Commission, as well as many other organizations, including Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US).

IM4US fundamentally believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. The organization advocates to preserve those rights and promote the benefits of Integrative Medicine and the impact it can have on not only improving health outcomes for chronic diseases, but also in addressing the opioid epidemic.

This summer, IM4US will head to Washington, DC for its eighth annual conference with the goal of educating and mobilizing its membership to take action on this belief. Hence, this year’s conference will focus on ensuring greater justice and equity in healthcare policy and practice for the underserved. Conference participants will learn from, as well as interact and make connections with, organizations, policymakers, and legislators working to attain health equity. Participants will also have the opportunity to gain the tools needed to take action not only nationally, but in their own local communities.

Integrative health and wellness, when incorporated in a primary care framework, has the ability to improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. This is even more pronounced in underserved settings where these approaches can also be effective in reducing health disparities.

“The poor struggle to meet their basic needs such as access to affordable healthy food, a safe place to live, opportunities for work and an environment that is free of pollutants. Unfortunately, the underserved can suffer from oppression often due to due to their race, ethnicity, sexual identity, religion, gender, etc. We know that living with oppression leads to more stress and poorer health outcomes including chronic medical conditions. An integrative approach to health care can help reduce these health disparities. It is our job as an organization not only to advocate for affordable health care for all but also advocate for access to quality and equitable healthcare for all,” says Priscilla Abercrombie, RN, NP, PhD and President of the Board, IM4US.

“As our nation faces a crisis of mounting chronic diseases, integrative approaches are well suited to bring us back to health. This is especially true in the underserved setting where many patients and communities are excluded from the current health care system and often can’t access care. We must empower patients to take their health into their own hands with a focus on prevention, lifestyle changes, nutrition, mind-body interventions, and more,” says Sharad Kohli, MD, Secretary of the Board, IM4US and Co-chair, 2018 Conference Planning Committee.

The 2018 IM4US Conference will be held at George Washington University in Washington, DC. The Samueli Foundation is participating as Lead Sponsor and the AIM Health Institute--a DC based organization whose mission is to bring the world of integrative medicine to all regardless of their ability to pay--will be co-sponsoring the conference. “I’m excited that George Washington University is the host site for the IM4US 2018 annual conference. The annual conference is the best event to learn practical ways of making all people healthier. The IM4US conferences always refuel my personal commitment to the underserved community and continues to teach me innovative ways of providing holistic care to every patient I see regardless of their ability to pay, or where they live," Mikhail Kogan, MD, Medical Director at the George Washington Center for Integrative Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the university, and Co-chair of the 2018 IM4US Conference Planning Committee.

Those interested in attending the IM4US 8th Annual Conference can learn more at Conference registration is now open. For information about conference sponsorship opportunities email info(at)im4us(dot)org.

About IM4US

Integrative Medicine for the Underserved IM4US is a nonprofit organization that was founded by a small group of very committed family practice physicians providing primary care to the underserved. They strongly believed that integrative health care should be accessible to their patients as well as the wealthy. It is a collaborative, multidisciplinary group of people committed to affordable, accessible integrative health care for all. Through outreach, education, research, and advocacy, we support those dedicated to promoting health in underserved populations. IM4US works to shift the current health care paradigm towards wellness, prevention, patient empowerment, and self-care.

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Jessica Aebi
since: 02/2017
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