250110 Integrating Complementary Medicine Approaches in a Rehabilitation Counseling graduate program to serve Rural Appalachia

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Melissa Olfert, DrPH, MS, RD , Department of Human Nutrition, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Recent trends in health care delivery have challenged rehabilitation practitioners to integrate complementary medicine modalities into their practice. These modalities include acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, yoga and meditation, biofeedback, massage therapy and herbal medicine. There are a number of hospitals and physician clinics that have programs devoted to complementary medicine modalities. Identification of a need for competent rehabilitation professionals who can integrate such modalities into their practices is becoming more apparent. West Virginia University's PhD program in Integrative Rehabilitation Counseling is a wellness-based, complementary medicine oriented doctorate in integrative approaches to rehabilitation counseling. This emphasis on health and wellness is inclusive of complementary and alternative health approaches in the context of traditional rehabilitation and vocational counseling services.

Students in the program would have a Practicum in Complementary Medicine that will help them understand various treatment modalities and its impact on clients. Focused sessions will help students develop a personalized, holistic and well-being plan on mind/body dimensions of diet, nutrition, movement and physical activity, spirituality and energy practices, supportive interpersonal relationships, time in healing natural environments, and artistic expression healing. Students will learn specific skills to assist them in their wellness and well-being plans. Students will identify a student coach, develop schedules for ongoing peer support and will maintain journals and checklists to monitor their progress.

Students will also understand the impact of the social, environmental, and occupational risk factors to personal health. They will be taught the socio-cultural dimensions of Appalachian health beliefs and traditional healing practices as they relate to mental health services utilization and treatment adherence.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
(1) Define the various types of complementary medicine modalities that can be integrated into rehabilitation counseling programs (2) Describe the unique social and cultural aspects of Appalachian health beliefs and its impact on rehabilitation training.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Rural Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present since I am an Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition at West Virginia University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.