In 2005, the OSU College of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine created the Integrative Medicine Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic located at 2000 Kenny Road. The first of its kind at an academic medical center in central Ohio, the clinic offers integrative care from medical doctors, plus chiropractic, massage and acupuncture therapy. Under the leadership of Dr. Glen Aukerman, the founding medical director (and author of Better Health in 120 Days), the clinic has grown to provide nearly 25,000 visits annually.
The same year saw the creation of Ohio State’s Center for Personalized Health Care and an employee benefits plan that fosters a culture of well-being called Your Plan for Health. In 2008, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center was one of the first 50 academic medical centers in North America to be accepted into the prestigious Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. In the spring of 2010, OSU hosted the Consortium’s annual meeting, with keynote addresses by Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Steven G. Gabbe.
Soon thereafter, Dr. Gabbe invited national leaders including Bravewell Leadership Award winner Dr. Brian Berman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Susan Folkman of the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer of the University of Minnesota to advise the Medical Center about the next steps in advancing integrative health at OSU and move the university from “excellence to eminence.” A steering committee, led by the Chief Medical Officer at that time Dr. Hagop Mekhjian, provided in-house advice and perspective on local needs.
In 2011, Dr. Gee recruited Dr. Bernadette Melnyk to become the new Dean of the College of Nursing and lead the University’s Health and Wellness Council to integrate wellness activities for students, staff and faculty. The modest goal of this new initiative? To become the healthiest campus in the world.
In 2012, OSU created the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness, expanding from the outpatient clinic to a full academic mission of clinical care, education, research and community engagement. To achieve this broad mission, OSU recruited a national leader in the field, Dr. Kathi Kemper, who founded and directed holistic and integrative centers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences. In addition, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center created its own Health and Wellness Council, led by senior leaders Larry Lewellen and Dr. Stephen Pariser, to promote health and wellness among medical center faculty, staff and students. OSU medical students founded the medFIT program, led by Juliette Yedimenko and Rajiv Mallipudi.
In 2013, Ohio State’s Office of Academic Affairs identified “Health and Wellness” as one of its three Discovery Themes, or focus areas of teaching, research and engagement during the next decade.