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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Dec;18(12):1127-32. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0393.

The integrative medicine team--is biomedical dominance inevitable?

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  • 1Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia.



As traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines (TCAM) continue to find their way into mainstream medical practice, questions arise about the future of integrative medicine (IM). Concern has been voiced that the biomedical profession will dominate IM and many of the core principles and philosophies governing the practice of TCAM will be lost.


Using mixed methods, an IM primary care clinic in Sydney, Australia, was compared to the IM models discussed in the literature.


Commercial concerns greatly influenced the team's development and the services provided by the practice under study. Questions arose as to whether the clinic was simply incorporating TCAM or truly integrating it. Further analysis of the data revealed evidence of biomedical dominance.


Given the current health care system in Australia, it seems likely that the biomedical doctor will continue to occupy a central logistical and leadership role in this clinic's IM team.

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