MD Longevity Review - Functional Medicine“Functional Medicine is a movement that is now “the single biggest game-changing idea in health care”.

“Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.”  Although it was just an idea without a movement twenty years ago, now more than 100,000 practitioners from 73 countries recognize the principles and practices of functional medicine.  Practitioners from 46 countries and one-fifth of faculty from every medical school in America have attended the foundational training course, Applying for Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice. This month a major milestone will be met when the first participants in IFM’s Functional Medicine Certification Program will complete their training.

Some very exciting initiatives have come from this unprecedented exposure: Corporations including Google, American Express, and Twitter are exploring the whole-systems approach of functional medicine. Leaders in medicine at major insurers, such as CIGNA, are considering how they can incorporate functional medicine into pilot projects for chronic disease. Faith-based communities are including functional medicine models in their teaching and the Veteran’s Administration is exploring research programs.  With the support of 12 Senators, Medicare will pilot a program to lower premiums for participants in intensive lifestyle treatment programs.   Functional medicine courses are being introduced to Residencies and medical school programs.

Even our government medical leaders are impressed:  “In 2009, the US Senate invited testimony on health reform, where functional medicine was brought to the attention of key policymakers”.  Other discussions with legislative leaders and staff followed that opportunity and have been very productive.  “Senator Harkin now keeps a copy of the Textbook of Functional Medicine in his Senate office”  Later, IFM’s white paper, 21st Century Medicine: A New Model for Medical Education and Practice, was published and received widespread critical acclaim.

Due to health care reform legislation passage in 2010, the National Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health was created and has an advisory group with leaders in functional medicine. “Other leading authorities in integrative medicine, such as Mehmet Oz, MD, cite functional medicine as a major influence on their thinking”

As the understanding of the benefits of Functional Medicine grows, so will improved health.