First-of-its-Kind Center Treats the Whole Person

Duke Integrative Medicine officially opened a first-of-its-kind medical building dedicated solely to the practice of integrative medicine in late 2006. The new facility will operate as a “living laboratory” to explore and demonstrate innovative models of care by offering patients a new approach to treating the whole person, officials said in a university press release.

“Duke is a true pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. We have an opportunity to look at patients from the whole-person concept, and not just as molecules and cells,” said Victor J. Dzau, M.D., chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System. “Duke Integrative Medicine will allow Duke to develop a new form of care and train the next generation of health-care providers who will believe in and practice this approach. Our vision is to make this model of care available to all patients, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”

Staff at the $11 million center includes practitioners in family medicine, psychiatry, pediatric care, obstetrics and gynecology, massage therapy, nutrition and acupuncture. Professional chefs, physical trainers, psychologists and health coaches are also part of the team.

“We believe there is a powerful relationship between the mind, body, spirit and community and we want to shift the focus of medical care to a health orientation rather than a disease-based model of care,” said Tracy W. Gaudet, M.D., executive director of Duke Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center. “The research, education and clinical work we conduct here will explore new ways of strengthening today’s health-care system, and demonstrate that when patients and providers work together to address the whole person, patients heal faster and more effectively reach their optimal level of health.”