For those who are frustrated with traditional doctors’ visits or prescription drugs, there are new ways to overcome an injury, illness or ongoing issue. The University of Colorado Health’s (UCHealth) Center for Integrative Medicine in Stapleton focuses on healing the body and mind. The clinic treats both children and adults. They treat everything from insomnia to gastrointestinal problems to postpartum depression.
“My philosophy of care is that we value patient lifestyles and self-care, so all the therapies we do teach benefits that people can maintain when they leave here,” says Lisa Corbin, MD, and medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine.
Integrative medicine combines nontraditional holistic approaches with traditional Western medicine. Sixty medical schools in the U.S. have integrative medicine and health programs, up from 20 schools in 2007. With a focus on close practitioner-patient relationships, integrative medicine looks at all aspects of a person’s life and how they affect health.
“It’s hard in a regular doctor’s visit to really get down to things and why you are experiencing a problem, for example, chronic pain. That might be related to very personal things,” says acupuncturist Daisy Dong.
The Center for Integrative Medicine—recently relocated to the second floor of A.F. Williams Family Medicine Center—offers acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, mind/body therapy, yoga, nutritional counseling, spiritual counseling, mindfulness classes and more.
Many of these therapies naturally go together, but typically don’t exist in the same building. At the Center for Integrative Medicine, all of the providers are University of Colorado Health-affiliated physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, and behavioral health psychologists. They work closely together. They have what they call “case conferences,” where they discuss an individual patient’s case and the appropriate therapies to use.
“We work as a team. We don’t go it alone,” Banban Wong says dramatically and everyone laughs. He works in acupuncture but duels as the team’s comedian. The team of 15 sits around a long conference table now, eating lunch and proudly talking about each other’s work.
Oftentimes a patient comes into the Center for Integrative Medicine for one issue but ends up receiving multiple therapies. “There is no common route,” says Jefferson Velasco, care team specialist who handles all insurance and billing inquiries. “Sometimes patients will see the psychologist and then acupuncturist or chiropractor and then psychologist. Sometimes they have three different visits in one day.”
Also, because the Center for Integrative Medicine is part of the University of Colorado Hospital, the providers have access to patient medical records from their primary care doctors. They use this medical history to determine the best approach to care. Then, if a patient needs additional care, the clinic can refer them to doctors at the hospital.
Though hospital-connected, the clinic feels like a private practice. It was previously located on the Anschutz Campus. To get to the clinic, a patient faced difficult parking, checked in at the main desk, and went up the elevator and down a long hall. The A.F. Williams Family Medicine Center better matches their personalized care. It is a smaller building with ample parking and a “zen” atmosphere. In fact, many surgeons and physicians from UCHealth now come to the clinic for stress, which is typically managed with acupuncture.
Acupuncture is rapidly growing in the medical arena and the Center for Integrative Medicine now has three acupuncturists. Because the therapy is increasingly used for pain management, the clinic has a close relationship with the cancer department at University of Colorado Hospital. One cancer patient had become so ill from chemo she had to stop the treatment and was told she would only live a few months. She came to the Center for Integrative Medicine and had routine acupuncture, which relieved her pain so much that she was able to continue chemo, living for another eight years.
“There are a lot of services out there that do yoga, acupuncture, massage, but we are doctor trusted, hospital affiliated, quality assured. You get top-quality practitioners here,” Corbin says.
The Center for Integrative Medicine is located at 3055 Roslyn St., Suite 250. To contact the clinic, call 720.553.2750.