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UA Integrative Medicine cuts budget, jobs


Arizona Daily Wildcat

By Jay Dirner
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 14, 2000
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Staff searching for new sources of income

Trying to avoid starting the fiscal year with a budget deficit, the UA Program in Integrative Medicine is cutting its budget and has already laid off six staff members.

"We would have entered the fiscal year in the red and we did not feel that was appropriate," said Matt Russell, spokesman for the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine. "This year we have not received the private funds we anticipated at the beginning of the year."

Russell said the program, which relies exclusively on private contributions to operate, has also reduced the work hours of nine faculty members and will postpone the start date of its latest class of postgraduate fellows.

The fellows would have begun their postgraduate curriculum in July, but studies are now postponed until January.

Russell said most people do not realize the program is not funded by the state or the UA.

"I think this story responds to the common mentality that the University of Arizona supports the Program in Integrative Medicine," he said. "It is under their jurisdiction but doesn't rely on university funds or state funds."

Russell said the program is exploring new sources of income. According to a press release, the program has requested a bridge loan from the UA to handle its existing debt.

Russell said the Program in Integrative Medicine is also optimistic about new federal legislation - passed several months ago - that stressed the importance of training physicians in integrative medicine.

"We have focused exclusively on private contributions to fund the program but we have been recently exploring funds from the state legislature and the United States Congress," Russell said. "We believe this (the legislation) is showing tremendous vision in identifying the importance of integrative medicine."

Dr. James Dalen, UA vice president for health sciences and dean of the College of Medicine, said he was optimistic about the program's future.

"We are committed to securing the funds needed to ensure that this important program can move forward," Dalen stated in a press release.

Russell said the program is unique, and it will find a way to continue operating.

"The program will absolutely survive," Russell said. "It's the first program of its kind in the U.S. and other institutions such as Harvard, Duke, and Stanford are looking at the U of A and figuring out how to train doctors in integrative medicine."

Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine, could not be reached yesterday.

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