March 18, 2010

What the Next Generation's Doing

In these Web-exclusive interviews, Krista speaks with two doctors who are exploring new aspects of integrative medicine. They are leading a burgeoning movement that's discovering alternative, complementary approaches to traditional Western medicine.

Image of Kayvon Modjarrad
Kayvon Modjarrad

A recent student edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association devoted its first-ever issue to the topic of spirituality and medicine. University of Alabama medical student Kayvon Modjarrad edited that journal. His experiences and global perspective provide an intriguing look inside the changing mindset of the newest generation of American physicians, especially as it relates to the practice of "integrative medicine."

» Listen now (RealAudio, 6:09) Kayvon Modjarrad describes his experience of the intersection of spirituality and medicine while he was in training in Africa, and how that experience has shaped his approach to patient care. He also discusses the apparent separation of church and medicine in America, and the effect of the increasing interest in spirituality and medicine on physician practices and doctor training.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 3:15) Harold Koenig of Duke University Medical Center was one of the contributors to the student JAMA journal. Koenig is a leader in the burgeoning field of integrative medicine. Koenig proposes that doctors gather a patient's spiritual history as part of their personal and medical history. Krista asked Kayvon Modjarrad about an interesting group of statistics in Koenig's article suggesting that doctors may agree with him but aren't sure how to implement such ideas. Reportedly, fewer than 10% of physicians actually engage patients on the subject of spiritual beliefs. Yet in a recent multi-center survey, 85% said they saw important benefit in being aware of their patients' religious and spiritual beliefs.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 2:55) Kayvon Modjarrad describes his own practice of integrating spirituality and patient care.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 6:27) We hear more of Kayvon Modjarrad's global perspective on spirituality and medicine through his experiences in Mongolia and Africa. He says he was troubled by the religious proselytizing he saw in some overseas medical missions, but that the experience allowed him to continue to gather his own insights into the many ways in which spiritual beliefs and practices can intersect with the work of medicine.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 3:42) Krista speaks with Kayvon Modjarrad about the excitement and challenges surrounding new conversations in medical circles about the shifting field of integrative medicine.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 2:57) Kayvon Modjarrad relates how his exposure to spirituality in the experience of HIV patients motivated him to push for the student JAMA edition.

Image of Tracy Gaudet
Tracy Gaudet

Dr. Tracy Gaudet is a leader in the movement of "integrative medicine." She was the founding Executive Director of the University of Arizona's Integrative Medicine Program, where she led the design of the country's first comprehensive curriculum in this emerging field. Now the Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Duke University, she is one of a new generation of leading doctors at principal medical centers who openly approach and address human spirituality as an aspect of health and healing.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 4:11) Krista speaks with Dr. Gaudet about a current study at Duke using meditation and stress-reduction techniques to prevent pre-term labor, the integration of such techniques with patients, and the spiritual aspects of mind-body approaches to patient care.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 5:29) Krista asks Dr. Gaudet about her understanding of the term "biological clock," and her own experience as a fertility patient. They also discuss her perspective on the balance between the importance of valuing emotional as well as purely rational approaches to personal medical decisions. Finally, Gaudet shares her thoughts on a study of the effectiveness of acupuncture.

» Listen now (RealAudio, 5:12) Dr. Gaudet posits a reconfiguration of the doctor-patient relationship with an active new role for patients and comments on the importance of addressing cultural skepticism about integrative approaches and the role of prayer in patient treatment.


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is a Professor of Surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia University. He also directs the Complementary Medicine Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. His books include Healing from the Heart.

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