Press Release: University of Buckingham Medical School announces the validation of a new Diploma in the Study of Integrated Medicine (DipSIM)

Thursday 9 July 2009

The University of Buckingham Medical School (UBMS) is delighted to announce the validation of a new Diploma course in the Study of Integrated Medicine (DipSIM). The Diploma has been developed by the Faculty of Integrated Medicine of the Integrated Health Trust at Bath (UK) and has been modified by the UBMS with the specific intention of equipping busy clinicians with a working knowledge of the fundamental issues associated with this emerging, though controversial, new area of study.

University Vice-Chancellor Dr Terence Kealey said: “The University of Buckingham is not endorsing Integrated Medicine. It is supporting the scientifically objective study of Integrated Medicine in order to educate doctors and nurses in the arguments for and against the use of integrated medicine approaches and how claims for IM can be tested or refuted scientifically. This is why I have appointed Professor Andrew Miles to direct the University’s involvement in the DipSIM. Professor Miles is uniquely placed to lead this important and controversial new course. As Chairman of the UBMS Learning and Teaching Committee, he is responsible for the maintenance of academic standards within the School, and has been Editor-in-Chief of the Wiley-Blackwell Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice for the last 15 years, and is an expert on the nature of knowledge for clinical practice and on approaches to ‘holism’ in medical care. From this position I am confident that he will ensure that the DipSIM is a success.”

Professor Miles said:”I am delighted to accept the challenge of leading the DipSIM alongside my work developing the new Master’s and Doctor’s degrees in International Public Health at UBMS. When I was a bench scientist I had, perhaps, a narrow view of what constituted ‘evidence’ and ‘best practice’ in healthcare. My work in medical epistemology and the privilege I have had in working with hundreds of the UK‘s most senior consultants in oncology and palliative medicine over the last decade or so, has broadened my view very considerably in terms of what constitutes clinical knowledge and how we should understand ‘holistic’, compassionate and person-centred care. IM has its supporters and detractors, certainly, but there seems to me to be a lot of interest and value for students to learn, discuss and debate.”

Further comments and information are available from Professor Andrew Miles MSc MPhil PhD, via:

Contact details:

The Press Office
University of Buckingham
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820213

Notes to Editors

What is IM? What is the theoretical basis of this approach to patient care? Do the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies which underpin it work? If so, in which patients and under what conditions and circumstances? Are there toxicities associated with CAM therapies and/or drug interactions with orthodox therapies? What research has been carried out into its effectiveness? What are the ethical and medico-legal issues which arise from IM? How do we understand the controversies that sometimes rage around it? What is its future in the care of patients? The new DipSIM, which will be directed by Professor Andrew Miles, Professor of Public Health Education and Policy & Associate Dean of Medicine at UBMS, has been specifically designed to ask and answer precisely these questions through systematic study and scholarly engagement.

Professor Miles says: “And let’s be clear. The new Diploma isn’t about creating IM doctors and IM nurses, the theoretical basis of IM is insufficiently developed to date to allow those terms to mean anything within the intellectual tradition. This is a course designed to enable the study of IM, to teach doctors what IM is, what works and what doesn’t work and in which patients and in what circumstances, when IM therapies are safe and when they’re not, are any therapeutic effects placebo-based or are there effect sizes over and above these? Thousands and thousands of patients are using IM. If we don’t train doctors and nurses in all of the relevant fundamentals, we keep these colleagues in ignorance of what’s going on and who can, or should want to, justify that?”

He continued: “Now, perhaps, more than ever before, then, is a mechanism for the systematic study of IM, framed in the manner and with the aims and scope as described above, required within the Academy. The DipSIM represents such a contribution. But there is more. UBMS has not been content simply to validate and direct the DipSIM, however. On the contrary, a national symposium and a subsequent master class on IM approaches to care is currently being organised and a Call for Papers on IM is being issued by the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. I anticipate that this scholarly approach to the intensive study of the theory and practice of integrated medicine will directly assist the current debate and make a genuine and important contribution of immediate relevance to the field of study.”

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