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Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine

Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM) is a UCI School of Medicine program designed to provide a future generation of physicians with additional training and skills in the tools and philosophies of integrative medicine.

This four-year longitudinal medical student program is dedicated to supporting the practice of evidence-based, compassionate, whole-person care to benefit the treatment of patients and families, our community and healthcare as a whole.

HEAL-IM incorporates a diverse set of teaching methods and resources, including:

  • A set of nationally recognized online integrative medicine education modules
  • Regular seminar and lecture series
  • Experiential, practical skill-building workshops and activities
  • Integrative patient case conferences
  • Integrative practitioner clinical shadowing and care experiences
  • Additional opportunities (see curriculum information below)

HEAL-IM medical students may also choose additional elective time completing certified integrative medicine training (in acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation therapy, medical hypnosis and culinary medicine) supporting the effective implementation of future integrative medicine practices.

Program Goals & Objectives »

HEAL-IM is designed to focus specifically on advancing integrative medicine research, education and clinical practice to promote individual and population wellness. We are driven by a mission to provide a sound foundation in the principles, philosophy and evidence-based practices of integrative medicine, setting the stage for future professional study and practice.

By the end of the program, students will be able to:

  • Define current understanding of the principles, philosophy, practices and practitioners that comprise the practice of integrative medicine
  • Demonstrate understanding of common integrative therapies, including their history, theory, proposed mechanisms, safety-and-efficacy profile, potential indications, benefits, risks and contraindications
  • Summarize the evidence for how these foundational elements of health and wellness influence health and disease and, in particular, chronic disease:
    • Nutrition and diet
    • Physical activity
    • Emotion and stress
    • Healthy sleep
    • Social support, spirituality and environment
  • Join a growing community of mentors and leaders who together will advance innovations in integrative medicine 

UCI Medical Students are uniquely positioned to collaborate with practitioners, researchers and educators of the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.

What Is Integrative Medicine? »

Integrative medicine can be defined as a healing-oriented practice of medicine that:

  • Reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient
  • Focuses on the whole person (body, mind and spirit)
  • Is informed by evidence
  • Makes use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing

Underlying the spirit of integrative medicine is the commitment to involve the patient as an active partner in his or her care, with a focus on teaching self-care and self-management tools, as well as supporting healthy lifestyle behaviors that are the basis for optimal health and wellness.

Integrative medicine also highlights the need for health equity and for ensuring access to much-needed prevention and wellness resources in underserved communities.

Fundamentally, integrative medicine recognizes that health systems need to move beyond just the diagnosis and treatment of disease complications (pathogenesis) to fully embrace health creation, or salutogenesis. We believe the combination of evidence-based integrative care, together with advanced conventional treatment options, form the basis for providing our patients with the most effective, compassionate, whole person medical care for the 21st century.

Elements of Integrative Medicine »

The practice of integrative medicine includes the following elements:

  • Patient-centered care focused on healing the whole person and also takes into account all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including mind, body and spirit in the context of family and the community
  • Care that integrates the best of Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, healing and wellness to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
  • Care that makes use of all safe, effective and evidence-based therapies, whether allopathic or complementary, to achieve optimal health and healing (the best of the East and West)
  • Care that educates and empowers patients to be active participants in their own care and to take responsibility for their health and wellness
  • Care that emphasizes wellness, balance, prevention and the use of natural, less invasive, interventions when possible
  • Care that supports resiliency, self-care and wellness practices among practitioners

HEAL-IM Acupuncture

Curriculum at a Glance »

HEAL-IM curriculum at a glance

New HEAL-IM students will meet with the program's faculty and leadership at the start of the school year to review expectations and aspects of curricular elements.

First- and second-year students will participate in a monthly seminar series that will include presentations by a rotating panel of UCI and integrative medicine community specialists on topics covering a range of integrative medicine practices and skills.

During the second, third and fourth years of the HEAL-IM curriculum, students will participate in a quarterly multidisciplinary patient-care conference. This will include patient case presentations by faculty in family medicine, osteopathy, nursing, naturopathy, as well as practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic and Ayurvedic medicine.

Throughout the four years of the program, HEAL-IM students also will complete a variety of online evidence-based education modules through the University of Arizona covering a broad span and scope of integrative medicine.


Integrative Module Topics

Module topics during the first year will include wellness, resiliency, nutrition, mind-body and exercise.>

Module topics for year two will cover integrative medicine modalities and motivational interviewing. Various clinical topics will be covered in years three and four.

PACE Program Practice Sites

The PACE program is a longitudinal clinical rotation for all UCI first and second-year medical students, designed to introduce clinical knowledge and skills to students and to integrate basic science training into the clinical setting. Though not guaranteed, HEAL-IM students may have the opportunity to be matched with integrative medicine clinic practices at UCI Medical Center, the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, and in other offsite clinical locations in the community.

Elective Experiences

Students in the HEAL-IM program are expected to participate in a fourth-year integrative medicine elective experience. This will include clinical rotations at integrative medicine clinical sites; completion of additional University of Arizona integrative medicine modules; attendance at a tai chi research lab; a yoga therapy clinic, and completion of a three-to-five page reflection paper. (View links below for information about additional-curricular elements, opportunities for the MS1 summer and optional integrative medicine skills training.)

Throughout their medical school education, HEAL-IM students will be trained and mentored by physicians and providers with expertise in integrative medicine.

Additional HEAL-IM Curricular Elements
HEAL-IM students also have the opportunity to participate in:

  • Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, hosted at the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute in Costa Mesa, CA. This class is an 8-week series and meets once a week, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Basic Culinary Medicine is a hands-on elective series of five (5) modules that teaches first- and second-year medical students practical, healthy cooking skills paired with evidence-based whole food nutritional concepts. These skills will be applicable to the students' health as well as to future patients they will see with diet-related illnesses. View an overview of the culinary medicine elective ›
  • Tai chi classes, taught by Dr. Shin Lin every Tuesday afternoon on the UCI School of Medicine courtyard.
  • Evidenced-based Supplements Conference, an annual conference hosted by Scripps Health in San Diego in January. The conference features nationally recognized speakers who review the latest evidence for the role of nutrition and selected supplements in health and disease.

HEAL-IM Cooking

Application Process »

To be considered for the HEAL-IM program, applicants first must be accepted to UCI School of Medicine. Upon acceptance to the medical school, information about the program is sent to all students. During orientation in early August, all students receive information about the HEAL-IM application process and are invited to attend an Information Session about the program.  Students attending the information session will be given the link for the online program application.

Applications will be reviewed by the HEAL-IM interview committee and students selected for an interview will be contacted.  

Scholarship Information »

The program is committed to offering a partial scholarship of $7,000 towards tuition and fees for the senior year for students in good standing in the program, as well as up to $6,000 towards either an Integrative certificate program (Acupuncture, Culinary Medicine, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, OMT).

The program will also cover the tuition and lodging fees for the summer LEAPS into IM program, as well as attendance at the Scripps Evidence-Based Natural Supplements conference in San Diego during MS2 and MS4 years. 

Optional Activities  »

The summer after the first year of the HEAL-IM program, students may choose from several scholarly or clinical experiences, including:

  • Leadership and Educational Program for Students in Integrative Medicine (LEAPS-IM) — The Oceanside-based program is focused on developing leadership skills, Integrative Medicine education, self-care skills and designing IM projects to implement at medical students' home schools. Students are expected to implement a project at their home institution and are eligible to apply for a $200-grant to fund the project.
  • Integrative Research Project — This project requires a faculty review of a project description, approval from a faculty mentor or a project's principal investigator. A three-to-five page summary paper of the project and findings is required.

During the MS4 Year, HEAL-IM students have the opportunity to use elective time to take additional Integrative training in one of the following certificate programs:

  • Acupuncture
  • Osteopathic manipulation
  • Medical hypnosis
  • Culinary medicine
  • Biofeedback.

HEAL-IM students in good standing are eligible to receive up to $6,000 towards certificate program tuition and fees.

HEAL-IM Cooking at kitchen

Administration and Faculty »

The HEAL-IM program is led by:

David Kilgore, MD
Clinical Professor — Department of Family Medicine
Program Director — HEAL-IM
Director of Education — Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute
Director — Family Medicine Residency, Integrative Medicine

Shaista Malik, MD, PhD, MPH
Program Advisor — HEAL-IM
Associate Vice Chancellor, Integrative Health — Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences
Executive Director — Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute

Elaine Chen, MS
Program Coordinator — HEAL-IM
Integrative Medicine Program Analyst — Department of Family Medicine

For more information about our Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM) program, please contact:

Elaine Chen, MS
HEAL-IM Program Coordinator
UCI School of Medicine
200 S. Manchester Ave., Suite 835
Orange, CA, 92868

HEAL-IM Students