Integrative Health Approach | University of Portland

Integrative Health Approach

Integrative Health (IH) honors the innate ability of the person to heal, values the relationship between client and health care provider, is supported by evidence, and uses all appropriate modalities to facilitate healing. Integrative health care refocuses care on health and healing. We believe that healing is possible even when it is not possible to cure. Integrative health care insists clients be treated as whole persons - minds and spirits, as well as physical bodies - who participate actively in their own health care. (Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, 2011; Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, 2009; Maizes, V., Koffler, K., & Fleishman, S., 2002).

Our IH approach emphasizes the provider-client dyad with communication and trust being integral elements of the relationship; lifestyles and cultural beliefs and communities are brought to the encounter by both of the participants. The knowledgeable provider values science, but as an evidenced-based practitioner knows that valid clinical evidence can only be effective when integrated with the provider's clinical experience and the client's preferences and values (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2011).

A significant foundation in the curriculum is an open belief system, commitment to relationships, and willingness to embrace spirituality. In each encounter the provider enters the client's sacred space through invitation and remains there by permission.

We expect faculty, preceptors, students, and graduates to embody the transformative power of integrative healthcare by:

  • facilitating the body's innate healing ability
  • appreciating the complexity of human beings
  • establishing partnerships with clients, families, colleagues and communities
  • honoring multiple world views and healing modalities
  • valuing the centrality of communication and relationship building among the client, their significant others, and health care providers
  • maintaining competencies and skills for safe, high-quality care
  • engaging in reflective practice and scholarship
  • maintaining a practice of life-long learning consistent with professional standards
  • maintaining competence to and networks for, triaging clients for a variety of care
  • possessing knowledge and skill regarding the assessment of the contributions and competencies of other providers and modalities
  • providing fiscally-appropriate and fiscally-sensitive care across a continuum of health care and health promotion challenges ranging from episodic to comprehensive management
  • modeling healthful behaviors mindful of their own humanity and lack of perfection
  • taking risks and professional leadership to work toward system and political change that benefits the health of individuals and societies
  • maintaining an ability to understand and appraise worth of domains with an evidence-based approach while appreciating that emerging knowledge does not always lend itself to traditional research methods

Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. (2011). What is integrative medicine? Retrieved from

Consortium for Academic Health Center. (2009). Definition of integrative medicine. Retrieved from

Maizes, V., Koffler, K., & Fleishman, S. (2002). Revisiting the health history: An integrative medicine approach. Advances in Mind Body Medicine, 18 (2), (31-34).

Melnyk, B.M. & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2011). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice.(2 ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.