The University of Arizona has announced a $15 million naming gift from best-selling author Andrew Weil in support of integrative medicine education, research, and innovation at the university.
In addition to naming UA's integrative medicine center after Weil, who established the center in 1994 with a $5 million gift, the new gift will establish an endowed chair and an endowed program fund that supports the center's mission in perpetuity. The chair and fund also will bear the name of Weil, a medicinal plant expert and author who is best known for his medical education reform efforts. The center works to educate and support a community of practitioners that embodies the philosophy and practice of healing-oriented medicine and is recognized for its evidence-based clinical practice and research.
"This gift marks the high point of my career at the University of Arizona," said Weil. "More than twenty years ago, with strong support from [then vice president for health sciences] Jim Dalen, the College of Medicine, and the Tucson community, we established the nation's first fellowship in integrative medicine with the aim of redesigning the education of physicians, physicians-in-training, and allied health professionals. We believed [that] by doing this, we could impact our nation's struggling healthcare system by providing it with doctors trained to focus on the innate healing potential of patients. In addition to the best practices of modern medicine, we emphasized nutrition, a healthful lifestyle, natural therapies, and mind-body interventions and spirituality. Perhaps those concepts were seen as radical in some circles, but today they are accepted as mainstream by most practitioners and by the estimated eight million patients our program has directly and indirectly impacted."
"The UA Center for Integrative Medicine has a longstanding history of leadership in promoting a healthful lifestyle and taking greater responsibility for our own health, due to Dr. Andrew Weil's vision and innovation," said UA president Robert C. Robbins. "We owe Dr. Weil a debt of gratitude for making integrative medicine a significant component of our nation's medical education, practice, and research. It is truly fitting that the center will now bear his name."