The Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences will be the first university-based health sciences enterprise to incorporate integrative health teaching, patient care and research across its schools and programs

When Susan and Henry Samueli gave $200 million to UC Irvine’s College of Health Sciences in late September, they set the stage for a first-of-its-kind educational institution: The Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences will be the first university-based health sciences enterprise to incorporate integrative health teaching, patient care and research across its schools and programs, according to a university press release.

“Integrative health redefines the relationship between the practitioner and patient by focusing on the whole person and the whole community,” the release noted.

“It is informed by scientific evidence and makes use of all appropriate preventatives, therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, and health care professionals and disciplines to promote optimal health and wellness.”

The gift was met with some criticism; one article published in Inside Higher Ed headlined “Does $200 Million Quack,” stated: Many medical researchers have pounced on the donation, which they saw as rich donors influencing academic and scientific decisions that should be reserved for academics. They called integrative medicine a rebranding of alternative medicine—a collection of practices not supported by science, like homeopathy, and of ideas stolen from mainstream medicine, like nutrition.”

The media office at UC Irvine declined a request to be interviewed for this MASSAGE Magazine article.

A request for an interview with the UC Irvine press office was met with this response: “We prefer not to comment right now because we don’t have any research or evidence-based outcomes related to massage therapy at this time.”

Massage Research

The Samuelis are long time supporters of integrative health. In 2016, the Samueli Institute conducted a three-part systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on massage therapy related to pain in three populations: the general population, cancer pain populations and surgical pain populations.

“Despite our technological advances, too many people still suffer from chronic conditions such as pain, diabetes and heart disease or are caught in a cycle of taking too many medications,” said Susan Samueli.

Our medical system needs to change how it trains physicians, nurses and pharmacists, she said. “Today’s health science students ask about integrative health from day one [and] harnessing that interest is key to turning our national system in a better direction,” she added.

Expanded Focus

UC Irvine has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It is located in Orange County, California.

Integrative medicine, including massage therapy, acupuncture and ayurvedic therapies, are already offered at UC Irvine’s Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine; the center is also involved in research on integrative medicine.

The Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences will ultimately include the following UCI schools, as well as other research entities:

  • School of Medicine
  • Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing
  • School of Pharmacy (currently the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
  • School of Population Health (currently the Program in Public Health)
  • Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute (currently named the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine)

“Integrative health redefines the relationship between the practitioner and patient by focusing on the whole person and the whole community,” the press release noted.

“It is informed by scientific evidence and makes use of all appropriate preventatives, therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, and health care professionals and disciplines to promote optimal health and wellness.”

 

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