Resources for Educators and Health Professionals
IH Professional Network
One NCIPH goal is to facilitate patient access to Integrative Health (IH) practitioners for the underserved.
Why is this important?
Low-income individuals face two significant healthcare obstacles.
- Traditional western medical practice is a narrow, acute illness-focused paradigm and, as such, limits their opportunities for optimal health and wellness.
- Integrative Medicine has been largely inaccessible—its proven benefits have been neither affordable nor widely understood—in low-income communities.
NCIPH has partnered with Integrative Medicine Access (IMA) to create a network of IH practitioners to work with the underserved.
Who is IMA?
IMA is a 501c3 non-profit with the mission of facilitating access to Integrative Medicine among low-income and medically underserved people.
IMA is an online resource that provides education about Integrative Medicine and connects low-income persons with practitioners from 26 different health-care modalities who offer their services for very low cost to members who show proof of low-income status.
How does IMA work?
Any educator or health professional will be able to access the IMA site to find local practitioners from modalities like Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic or Reiki who have joined the network to refer their patients to. Anyone can search the IMA site to find providers by modality and zip-code.
Only low-income "IMA–verified" clients would qualify for the reduced rate when they see a practitioner.
What cities have practitioner networks?
IMA is building their practitioner network starting in the general urban areas around Los Angeles, Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York City. As these hubs of practitioners and underserved clients builds, IMA will extend to other areas around the country to build up networks of practitioners who can treat local patients.
Why would practitioners join this network?
Because Integrative minded health care professionals want to share their expertise as widely as possible, and IMA provides an easy way to "give-back" by treating a few patients a week who otherwise couldn't afford their services. Plus, IMA practitioner members get great exposure and discounts on services they may need.
How do I join the IMA network?
1. Chao, M. T., & Wade, C. M. (2008). Socioeconomic Factors and Women's Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Four Racial/Ethnic Groups. Ethnicity & Disease, 18(1), 65—71.
An excellent strategy for accessing quality integrative health services for low income or medically underserved patients is to connect with the professional complementary and integrative health schools in your area. Schools of chiropractic, massage, naturopathy and acupuncture all have student clinics that provide care at lower cost and often have a sliding scale for very low income patients. The care at these clinics is provided by students under the close supervision of faculty instructors and is generally of very high quality.
Patient Education Materials
NCIPH has created a number of patient education materials on various health conditions, written at an accessible reading level. We encourage health professionals to use these materials with their patients.