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Integrative Pediatrics: The Future Is Now

Lawrence D. Rosen, MD

The world is at a crossroads. At no point in our collective lifetimes have we witnessed comparable social and economic challenges. Healthcare transformation is no longer a luxury wish-list item; it has become an absolute imperative. The good news? Central to the debate is a growing recognition that true wellness care—primary preventive medicine—must be a cornerstone of any successful plan to resurrect our failing disease-care system. Witness the buzz generated by the Institute of Medicine’s February 2009 Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. At long last, public officials charged with operationalizing healthcare system change have acknowledged the value of integrative medicine as part of the solution.

Unfortunately, amidst these optimistic proceedings, the needs of children were once again woefully underrepresented. Only Kathi Kemper, MD, a true pioneer in the pediatric integrative medicine movement, was called as a child health expert to offer testimony at Senate hearings concurrent to the IOM Summit. Dr Kemper, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Complementary and Integrative Medicine, was the lone voice emphasizing the importance of keeping our children healthy in order to create a healthier nation. If we are to truly create sustainable healthcare system transformation, we need a loud chorus of voices advocating for the well-being of society’s most vulnerable. The health and well-being of our children literally reflect the future health of our planet. If children are indeed our most precious natural resource—our future—then our future must be now.

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