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  • SCU introduces an all-new doctoral program and students provided acupuncture at the AIHM 2023 Conference

SCU introduces an all-new doctoral program and students provided acupuncture at the AIHM 2023 Conference


Last week, Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) students, faculty, and staff attended the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM) 2023 Conference, providing free acupuncture to attendees and unveiling the first-ever Doctor of Whole Health Leadership (DWHL).

Held from October 5-8, this year’s AIHM conference theme was Building Bridges to Whole Health. Primary care providers, nursing professionals, pharmacy professionals, members of health institutions, and practitioners across the spectrum of conventional and integrative providers came together to share insights on how conventional medicine and integrative health are uniting to create a whole health model.

The First-Ever Doctor of Whole Health Leadership

To foster the building of bridges between conventional medicine and integrative health and meet the need for more leaders in the integrative, whole-person health movement, SCU announced the all-new DWHL program. The DWHL was developed with Cornerstone Collaboration for Societal Change, the nation’s leading expert in whole health, and is offered through a partnership with AIHM, the premier association for the interprofessional integrative health community.

This intellectually rigorous program will prepare leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to influence the complex challenges of adopting an integrative, whole health approach to health in the United States.

Designed for working clinicians and administrators, the DWHL is offered online with four on-site weekend intensives in the spring and fall.  It can be completed in two years and includes a capstone experience that allows students to design real-world solutions to affect real-world change. By the end of the two years, students and faculty will become a meaningful professional network of like-minded change agents.

The DWHL offers three tracks, the DWHL with AIHM Fellowship Track, DWHL for Integrative Fellows, and DWHL for Administrators. The first cohort will begin in Fall 2024. For more information, visit the Doctor of Whole Health Leadership website.

SCU president Dr. John Scaringe and SCU faculty and staff at AIHM 2023


SCU Students and Faculty at AIHM 2023

In addition to the DWHL announcement, SCU students, faculty, and staff attended the AIHM 2023 Conference to connect with and inspire other interprofessional healthcare leaders.

SCU acupuncture students, led by Sivarama Prasad Vinjamury, DACM, MPH, and Jennifer Noborikawa, DACM, BS, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M., offered free acupuncture services including needling and ear seeding on Saturday, October 7. Conference attendees remarked on the students’ professionalism and procedures on offer, with the Mission Bay backdrop at Paradise Point Resort providing an idyllic atmosphere for students and patients alike.

SCU students such as George B. Zakhary, Term 7, Doctor of Chiropractic, and John Paul Kreuger, Term 7, Doctor of Chiropractic, also attended the conference presentations, gaining invaluable knowledge and connections.

“It was great being surrounded by a multitude of health professionals, including medical doctors, chiropractors, psychologists, health coaches, and many other holistic healers,” George B. Zakhary said. “The most interesting part of the conference and my main takeaway was to see so many professionals dedicated to integrated health and how we can provide patient-centered care when we integrate and collaborate with other professions.”

John Paul Kreuger had a similar experience, remarking that the experience helped him to better understand the current state of integrative healthcare. “I couldn’t recommend [the conference] more to my fellow students,” he said. “The topics covered, and conversations had with expert healthcare professionals were invaluable.” 

About SCU and AIHM

SCU has been working with AIHM since its inception in 2015, and has been a decades-long standing sponsor of its predecessor organizations, the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH), which merged with AIHM in 2021, and the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC).

The AIHM Conference is an annual tradition bringing together global leaders to talk about the latest in evidence-based integrative health and medicine. The conference began over 44 years ago at the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) inaugural meeting in 1978 to learn and discuss tools to leverage practice.

The next AIHM conference will celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary and will be held from October 25-27, 2024. For more information, visit aihmconference.org/.

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