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Osher Center debuts integrative medicine lecture series

Oct. 24, 2019, 10:08 AM


by Holly Fletcher

Renowned integrative health expert Helene Langevin, MD, CM, is set to be the inaugural speaker of a new lecture series hosted by the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt.

Helene Langevin, MD, CM

The debut Dr. Roy O. Elam III Memorial Lecture will feature Langevin, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), on Oct. 29. Langevin, who advocates for treating “whole person physiology,” is central to the understanding of integrative medicine that has emerged in the last two decades. The lectureship was made possible through the generosity of family and friends and by a personal gift from Bernard Osher in memory of Elam.

Langevin’s research explores the role of connective tissue in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain and how using acupuncture, manual and movement-based therapies can aid in relief.

Her recent work focuses on the effects stretching has on relieving inflammation in connective tissue.

Her expertise complements the priorities of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt, which studies the impact of mind/body therapies including mindfulness training, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, tai chi, health coaching and yoga on chronic disease and pain.

“Dr. Langevin is the perfect person to kick off the lecture series. She’s all about connection. She and Dr. Elam had a very special connection; she has been able to use rigorous science to connect people from disparate disciplines, and she studies connection throughout the body,” said Ruth Wolever, PhD, interim director, Osher Center. “Over the last two decades, the advancement of science in connective tissue and its role in pain and healing is astounding, and she’s responsible for much of it.”

The clinical application of integrative medicine is burgeoning as clinicians from a variety of fields are looking to complementary treatments that are increasingly the subject of research, said Wolever.

The lecture will explain the key principles in whole person physiology, pathophysiology and treatment. Langevin will delve into the role of integrative research in health promotion, disease prevention and symptom management and how they align with the NCCIH’s strategic priorities.

VUMC is home to one of seven designated Osher Centers globally. The others are at Harvard University, University of California at San Francisco, Northwestern University, University of Miami, University of Washington, and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

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