Integrative medicine has taken a tremendous step forward with the opening of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine (CCCFM). Functional medicine is based on the evidence that lifestyle factors – such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress levels, relationships and genetics – are major contributors to disease.
Cleveland Clinic is the first academic medical center to embrace Functional Medicine, bringing academic, clinical research to the field. Staff at the new center, which opened in September, will work together with Cleveland Clinic specialists to study the impact Functional Medicine has on certain chronic diseases, beginning with four clinical trials in the treatment of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes and migraines.
Mark Hyman, M.D., chairman of The Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA, and best-selling author, will join Cleveland Clinic as the center director.
“Functional Medicine looks at the underlying causes of disease, while focusing on the whole person rather than an isolated set of symptoms,” Dr. Hyman said. “We look at a patient’s history and the personalized interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.” CCCFM has been created in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), for which Hyman will remain chairman.
According to the CDC, more than 75 percent of total health care cost in the US can be attributed to chronic conditions, with about 133 million Americans (nearly 1 in 2 adults) living with at least one chronic illness. In Functional Medicine, health care providers work with chronic disease patients to address the root causes of illness to better prevent, treat and reverse disease.
“As the incidence of chronic disease continues to mount, we must consider new approaches to understanding and treating diseases,” said Toby Cosgrove, M.D., Cleveland Clinic president and CEO. “This is not a departure for Cleveland Clinic, but a continuation of the innovative, holistic approach that we have embraced, which includes the establishment of the Wellness Institute, the Center for Integrative Medicine, the Chinese Herbal Therapy Clinic, and the Center for Personalized Healthcare.”
In addition to Dr. Hyman, Patrick Hanaway, M.D., will join Cleveland Clinic as the Center’s medical director. Hanaway is IFM’s chief medical education director, a past president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, and co-founder of Family to Family: Your Home for Whole Family Health in Asheville, N.C.
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. A leader in research reporting, the clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs and is consistently named one of “America’s Best Hospitals” in U.S. News & World Report annual survey.