In a groundbreaking move, the International Association of Yoga Therapists
(IAYT) and Yoga Alliance (YA) jointly co-sponsored the first National
Educational Dialogue (NED) to Advance Integrative Health Care, held May
31- June 3, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
This event was an innovative gathering of educators from conventional medical
schools, academic health centers, and federally accredited complimentary and
alternative medicine (
CAM ) educational institutions. All of the attending institutions have expressed a
commitment to finding the common ground between conventional and CAM
health care education and values. Yoga was the only non-licensed discipline
represented at this event. Indeed, to our knowledge, this is the first time
Yoga has been formally represented at a national event of this kind.
Veronica Zador, president of IAYT and vice president of YA, and Ivan Zador,
Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering with long experience in academic
medicine, spent four days at this meeting.
, executive director of IAYT, and Hansa Knox, president of YA, spearheaded the
participation and cooperative support of the two organizations.
Background and Rationale for the NED Meeting
The National Educational Dialogue (NED) is a multi-year educational project of
the Education Task Force of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium. NED is
a national vehicle for educators from
and conventional health care professionals to convene annually, engage in
collaborative projects, and report on progress. NED was created in response to
a long series of events concerning complementary and alternative medicine in
the United States, including two recent national health care policy studies:
the 2002 report of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative
Medicine Policy (WCCAMP), and the 2005 report by the Institute of Medicine
(IOM) on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. Both
reports emphasized the importance of collaboration between
and conventional institutions.
WCCAMP recommended, "agencies should convene a conference of the leaders of
CAM, conventional health, public health, evolving health professions, and the
public; of educational institutions; and of appropriate organizations to
facilitate the establishment of
education and training guidelines." The IOM report noted “the
therapies with conventional medicine requires that practitioners and
researchers be open to diverse interpretations of health and healing, to
finding innovative ways of obtaining evidence and to expanding the medical
The NED vision is “a health care system that is multidisciplinary and
enhances competence, mutual respect and collaboration across all
and conventional health care disciplines. This system will deliver effective
care that is patient-centered, focused on health creation and healing, and
readily accessible to all populations.”
Participants at the NED meeting included 77 leading representatives of
federally accredited CAM and conventional educational institutions, including
Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage, Direct-Entry Midwifery, and Naturopathic
Medicine, plus Allied Health Educators, the Consortium of Academic Health
Centers for Integrative Medicine, Conventional Academic Medicine, Integrated
Health Care Educators, Nursing and Public Health. As co-sponsors for this
meeting, IAYT and YA sent two delegates (Veronica Zador and Ivan Zador) to
represent Yoga as an emerging field in integrative health care.
The tone of the meeting was set at the opening lecture, delivered by Stuart
Bondurant, M.D., President of the
Institute of Medicine
. Dr. Bondurant highlighted the historic events leading up to this meeting,
including the establishment of the
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the National Policy
Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care (NPD), and the WHCCAMP and IOM
reports. He urged those in attendance to find strong common educational
platforms on which to base the future partnerships of
systems and conventional medicine.
Navigating the meeting with sensitive oversight and distinct professional and
organizational skills were John Weeks, Project Director of the NED meeting, and
Pamela Snider, N.D., Consortium Director. Adi Haramati, Ph.D., Director of
Education in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at
, served as host and NED planning team manager. Dale Lick, Ph.D., former
president of Georgia Southern University,
, moderated the lectures, small group breakout sessions, table discussions, and
the World Café brain storming session.
Goals and Outcomes
The objectives of this meeting, as described in the NED Vision,
, Goals and Deliverables statement approved on September 22, 2004, were divided
into three categories and included:
Establish both a process and commitments for developing a compatible set of
core competencies and values across disciplines.
Create a process for distinguishing and describing portable, shared, and
Prepare and deliver a glossary to support the use of common language.
Of particular interest in this category was the model for Educational Resources
to Enhance Delivery of Collaborative Healthcare. It is beyond the scope of this
report to describe this investigation fully. In brief, questions relating to
this topic included: What kind of skills in clinical collaboration do we need
to teach our students, so that they can provide collaborative,
interdisciplinary patient-centered care? What leadership and collaborative
skills do we (NED participants) need to develop for more effective
inter-institutional and intra-institutional collaboration?
In response to the above questions, templates and survey blueprints on
educational resources and curriculum were discussed.
Enhancing Inter-Institutional Relationships and Mutual Support
Provide designated program time for exchange of information on successful
programs and tactics in current working models of integrated health care
Collect and disseminate participants’ samples of existing
inter-institutional agreements and relationships that advance integrated
Offer designated program time on strategies of interdisciplinary teaching.
Complete a meeting report that includes agreed upon positions and talking
points for participant's use.
Create plans for continues communication among participants, including
Interweave the development of strategies and skills for fostering institutional
change throughout the work.
Establish both a process and commitments for collaborating on fundraising to
advance the work.
Furthermore, in order to accomplish these tasks, the NED meeting worked towards
several goals, including:
Exploring common ground established by the National Policy Dialogue to Advance
Integrated Healthcare and the White House Commission on Complementary and
Alternative Medicine Policy, as well as successful experience in integrated
Articulating shared values and creating action plans based on common
understanding of core issues in integrated education.
Examining best practices concerning relationships between CAM and conventional
health care institutions, including identifying practical models for how
institutions can collaborate with conventional medical institutions and
Offering networking opportunities to facilitate effective collaboration among
NED participants and their organizations.
Many valuable contacts with other NED participants were made, and Yoga was
placed on the map of those involved with
at the academic and research levels. There is a reasonable chance that with
this first effort, Yoga will be included among future NED planning events and
We encourage the boards of both IAYT and YA to promote awareness of Yoga by
sharing information with like-minded
systems. In doing so, Yoga stands to gain opportunities for research,
education, and funding. Additionally, communicating with other
systems may help us discover common strategies for adapting traditional healing
systems to a conventional arena.
Furthermore, we recommend that the boards of IAYT and YA strongly consider
future representation in meetings of this kind. The presence of Yoga in an
environment such as this does not imply Yoga is seeking to become a
licensed discipline. However, representatives of Yoga do gain an
exceptional and relevant insight into other like-minded organizational
structures, historic influences on the established
disciplines, and a wide range of contemporary challenges in an integrative
approach to health and healing.
Additionally, a Yoga presence at such events allows for an expanded awareness of
and integrative medicine institutions. This awareness may lead to the inclusion
of Yoga in the broadening scope of
research, education and clinical practice.
Commentary: How did IAYT and YA come to be involved?
Because the NED CAM participants were from federally accredited CAM
educational institutions, no Yoga association or representative was initially
invited to this meeting, nor were representatives of any other unlicensed
While Yoga is recognized as a mind-body practice, it is not effectively
recognized as a professional discipline, at least in the
. This is, in part, because practitioners are not licensed, (the conventional
credentialing model) but also because Yoga has simply not been represented at
national policy discussions. IAYT has been aware of this absence for some time,
and also aware of the progressive vision of NED and its predecessors. (A system
focused on health creation and healing sounds Yogic to us.)
This event presented a unique opportunity to initiate a formal presence and meet
some of the most innovative and open-minded leaders in integrative health care
in the U.S. IAYT contacted the NED organizers and asked if we could attend the
meeting. They were intrigued and receptive, and invited IAYT to co-sponsor this
event with the other invited
associations. IAYT in turn contacted the Yoga Alliance to share sponsorship and
participation. It is important support for the missions of both
organizations to present an organized professional voice for Yoga in national
integrative health care forums such as this.