Learn More About the Student Alliance for Integrative Medicine

SAIM members

What is SAIM and OCIM?

The Student Alliance for Integrative Medicine (SAIM) helps foster inter-professional understanding and collaboration amongst institutions and communities throughout the health care continuum. SAIM aims to expand awareness of complementary and alternative medicine, foster communication and camaraderie among health care students, and to facilitate several educational and networking opportunities. This helps SAIM build a better understanding of each involved professions contributions and strengths towards whole-person health care.

SAIM is a student-governed organization comprised of educational institutions such as University of Western States (UWS), Oregon Health Science University (OHSU), Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM), Pacific University (PU) and the University of Portland School of Nursing (UP). SAIM’s parent organization, the Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine (OCIM), manages and actively supports SAIM in building an interconnected community of students and professionals dedicated to cultivating patient-centered care. Stakeholders within SAIM and OCIM that span the fields of Chinese medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathic, occupational therapy, pharmacology, psychology and more.

What is “integrative health and medicine”?

OCIM and SAIM support the definition of Integrative Health and Medicine compiled by Duke University –

“Integrative health and medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health. In addition to addressing patients’ presenting health issue(s) and the root cause of disease or illness, integrative medicine focuses on disease prevention and wellness. Integrative medicine fosters the development of healthy behaviors and skills for effective self-care that patients can use throughout their lives.”

Questions for SAIM Council Members

Jesse Gordon – Executive chair

What inspired you to become active in SAIM?

I’ve worked in a variety of roles within the health care field and have seen firsthand the importance of a whole health/integrative approach to patient care. After seeing the great information made available and social opportunities through SAIM, I was hooked. I’ve been involved since my first quarter at UWS and have met some amazing people along the way.

How do you plan to use the lessons learned through SAIM and OCIM once you graduate?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through SAIM is that each profession has their strengths and weaknesses and in order to provide the best patient-centered care we need to work together. I plan on having a strong network of health care professionals, both to refer to when appropriate, but also to collaborate through case conferences and grand rounds. This creates a care dynamic where one is utilizing the knowledge and skills of our colleges in addition to our own.

Brandy Hagan – UWS chapter president, event planning chair

How have you benefited from being active in SAIM?

SAIM has afforded me the opportunity to connect with individuals who are equally passionate about whole-person health and wellness. Whether that’s through participating in lively SAIM socials, educational Grand Rounds or Integrative Medicine Days, there are always friendly folks waiting to share and collaborate in the name of integrative medicine and community.

How has your understanding of other health care fields changed since your involvement in SAIM?

It’s been a joy learning more about each respective profession through the lens of SAIM member institutions even when that’s about interprofessional collaboration itself! I’ve learned that each profession grapples with balancing philosophy and science, similar to that of “vitalists” and “mixers” within chiropractic. If it were feasible, I’d love to pursue training in each participating field… such is the spirit of SAIM and life-long learning! 

5 reasons to participate in SAIM events:

1. To learn the strengths and weaknesses of all of the health care professions in order to refer and communicate efficiently.

2. To build a network of future naturopaths, medical physicians, Chinese medicine practitioners, acupuncturists, psychologists and chiropractic physicians.

3. To learn new approaches to patient-centered care.

4. To gain leadership and professional planning skills.

5. To enjoy delicious free food! (Should this be #1?)

Exciting News!

It is with great enthusiasm that we share OCIM was recently awarded a grant from The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, which will help implement the Whole Health in the States Initiative! Oregon is one of six states that will collaborate to, “create a consensus and deploy action around strategies to increase access to and utilization of high quality, comprehensive pain care for underserved populations. These efforts, tailored to the unique characteristics of each state, will address the critical need to operationalize how nonpharmacologic therapies for pain are integrated into traditional pain care.” This provides an opportunity for SAIM to more easily facilitate those popular SAIM-led events such as Integrative Medicine Day, Grand Rounds and casual socials we’ve all come to love-even within the confines of Covid-19! Now is a great time to be part of SAIM and involved in the Nation-wide effort to improve health care access, quality and collaboration, especially as it relates to Integrative Medicine and pain management!