TITLE: WholeHealthMD.com

ACCESS: http://www.wholehealthmd.com/

There has long been a gulf between conventional and alternative medicine. Conventional doctors dismiss alternative therapies as ineffective or unsafe; patients interested in trying such approaches educate and treat themselves. WholeHealthMD.com is an excellent resource for integrative medicine, an approach that may bridge the gap.

The goal of the site is to provide consumers with professional, up-to-date guidance on the many benefits of integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) with conventional health care. The information is developed by a team of board-certified doctors and specialists and emphasizes collaboration with traditional health care providers. The site is produced by American WholeHealth Networks, Inc., which provides integrative health services for managed care organizations and health plans.

The focal point of the site is "Healing Centers," where users can find comprehensive information on specific conditions such as allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and migraine. Articles written in clear, jargon-free language provide an overview of the condition; its causes and/or triggers; a description of conventional treatments; and an overview of potential benefits of integrating nutritional supplements, self-care remedies, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture. A separate article suggests an approach to using herbal and nutritional supplements for the condition, including specific dosages, interactions with drugs, and general cautions.

There are abundant links from each "Healing Center" to the other important components of the site. For each supplement mentioned, a link leads to the "Reference Library," which provides detailed information on individual supplements, therapies, drugs, and foods.

"News & Perspectives" highlights research on alternative medicine. The "Healing Kitchen" provides food remedies for specific ailments, recipe makeovers, and articles on nutrition. "Meet Our Team" profiles the integrative health care specialists responsible for the content. Throughout the site, it is clear who is giving advice and easy to link to information on the specialists background and credentials.

The site is fairly easy to navigate, though the overall organization of the content is not immediately apparent. A user seeking information on treating a specific condition would do best to begin with the "Healing Centers," but the description of that section on the homepage is vague. Keyword searching is available.

CAM is an increasingly important component of medical school programs and medical research. While WholeHealthMD.com is tailored for consumers, it is a useful resource for any institution with programs in the health sciences to help students and faculty learn about this new approach to health care.

Lori Robare
University of Oregon
lrobare@darkwing.uoregon.edu


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