Master of Arts in Integrative Health Studies | MUIH
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Master of Arts in Integrative Health Studies


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Overview

The Master of Arts (MA) in Integrative Health Studies provides the opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge of integrative health care practices, and how complementary health approaches can be integrated with conventional health care approaches. MUIH’s program is the only such program to include both the evidence-informed efficacy of integrative health practices and the practical and business models for the inclusion of integrative practices in conventional medical and health care settings. It is designed to meet the increasing and widespread interest in exploring and understanding the benefits and application of integrative health principles and practices. This non-clinical interdisciplinary program covers a broad spectrum of integrative practices, rather than focusing on a single modality as is the case for all other MUIH prorams. This 30-credit program can be completed fully online in two years.

Audience

This program is designed for professionals in health care and related professions, who wish to integrate complementary health approaches in their practice or organization. It provides a variety of health care professionals with the opportunity to explore and understand the benefits and application of integrative health principles and practices, especially as related to their individual professional area within the broad health care spectrum. The primary audience for this program is two-fold. First, are healthcare practitioners seeking to expand their professional knowledge and skills and complement their current specialty with an understanding of the integrative health field. This audience includes, among others, nurses, social service and behavioral health professionals, allied healthcare professionals, and other licensed/certified healthcare and medical providers. Second, are professionals who support the health care field through their work in administration, management, policy, and advocacy, as well as health and science writing and communication.

Description

The program provides students with an understanding of

  • the fundamental principles and effectiveness of a range of complementary and integrative health practices;
  • how complementary health practices can be integrated with conventional care in a responsible way;
  • research literacy skills unique to the field of integrative health, including how to find, interpret, and apply integrative health research to disease and health challenges;
  • how complementary and conventional health care practitioners can work alongside one another, and
  • the practical considerations of incorporating complementary health approaches in conventional health care settings, including business models, insurance coverage, and professional and legal requirements.

This program provides foundational knowledge (18 credits) in the theoretical and philosophical foundations of integrative health practices, the efficacy and effectiveness of such practices, and practical and business models for the inclusion of integrative practices in conventional care settings. The opportunity for direct relevance and application of learning is achieved through a capstone course whose project focuses on incorporating integrative health practices into each students’ unique profession and/or health care organization. Students personalize their study through the addition of elective curriculum (12 credits) which provides the opportunity to explore particular integrative health care practices in greater depth through areas of concentration. Areas of concentration are selected from one of three domains:

Nutrition and Herbal Medicine:  This group of electives provides foundational knowledge in nutrition and herbal medicine.   Students learn an integrative approach to nutrition that explores the health benefits of diet from a whole person perspective.  Students also learn about the practice of Western herbal medicine and develop an in-depth knowledge of common herbs and their indications and safety.

Health Promotion, Education, and Research:  This area of concentration provides a deeper exploration of health promotion, health literacy and research in integrative health. The concentration is designed for students looking to expand their skills in promoting and supporting the practice of integrative health through communications, administration and research initiatives.

Mind-Body Practices and Whole Medical Systems: This area of concentration provides skills in mindfulness and meditation practices which can be incorporated into the student's existing practice. Students also gains a deeper knowledge of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine to help bridge their own practice with these traditional medical systems.

Students may also decide not to pursue a specific area of concentration (i.e., "Undeclared" area of concentration) and instead craft a personalized elective curriculum to combine 12 credits from any of the three areas above to complete the degree.

To view the detailed program description, visit the Catalog.

Four courses (12 credits) can be applied to both the MA in Integrative Health Studies and the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Integrative Health Studies: INHS610, INHS620, ISCI630A, and RSCH601. The PBC program serves as both a stand-alone credential and an entry point leading toward the M.A. degree.

Program Outcomes

Students who complete the MA in Integrative Health Studies will be able to:

  • Explain the foundational principles, philosophies, practice, and models of integrative health care
  • Evaluate the principles, practice, and application of particular areas of the integrative health care field
  • Apply research literacy skills to critically analyze integrative health research literature
  • Select evidence-based integrative health interventions aligned with prevalent health conditions
  • Analyze the factors associated with incorporating integrative health practices in their profession and health care organization

Career Opportunities

Complementary and integrative health care approaches are increasingly a key component of access to high quality, high impact, and affordable health care. McKinsey and Company reported the wellness industry “a demographic sweet spot of enormous potential” and calculated this market as close to $16.5 billion per annum (1). The 2012 National Health Interview survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics demonstrated significant use and spending on integrative health care approaches (2, 3, 4).  One-third of U.S. adults and nearly 12% of children ages 4 to 17 used complementary health approaches. An estimated 59 million persons aged four years and over had at least one expenditure for some type of complementary health approach, resulting in total out-of-pocket expenditures of $30.2 billion per year. Out-of-pocket spending for complementary health approaches represented 9.2% of all out-of-pocket spending on health care. Spending on integrative medicine was expected to increase to $115 billion by the year 2015. The 2017 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics demonstrated continued growth and significant use of complementary and integrative health approaches (5).

Traditional health care organizations, employers, and regulators are responding to increased consumer demand for integrative health therapies (6). In 1999, only 7.7% of hospitals offered integrative therapies. By 2004 that number had increased to 18.3%, and by 2005 25% of hospitals were offering services in a complementary or integrative fashion. All twenty hospitals on the 2017-2018 US News and World Report America’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll offer integrative health care and practices (7). A 2010 study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the American Association of Retired Persons indicated that 50% of Americans age 50 and older reported using complementary and alternative medicine (8). The 2007 National Home and Hospice Care Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics found that nearly 42% of hospice care providers offered complementary and alternative therapies, had a provider on staff or under contract, or both (9).  

High job growth rates are projected by the U.S. Bureau for Labor and Statistics (BLS, 10) for the period 2016-2026 for the target audience for this program. Four of the top twenty projected fastest growing occupations for the period 2016-2026 are among the audience for this program. These projected growth rates are 37% for physicians assistants (#5), 36% for nurse practitioners (#6), 28% for physical therapists (#17), and 26% massage therapists (#20). In addition, the occupation predicted to add the third most new jobs during the period 2016-2026, registered nurses with 438,000 new jobs, is among the audience for this program.  Other occupations among the audience also have strong growth projections for the period 2016-2016.  Social workers (16%), mental health counselors (15%), community health workers (16%), health educators (16%), occupational therapists (24%), athletic trainers (23%), and medical and health services managers (20%) have much faster than average projected growth rates. Technical writers (11%), fitness trainers and instructors (10%), and exercise physiologists (13%) have a faster than average project growth rate.
 

  1. P. Cloos, et al., “Healthy, Wealthy, and (Maybe) Wise: The Emerging Trillion-Dollar Market for Health and Wellness,” McKinsey and Company, 2013.
     
  2. National Center for Health Statistics, “Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the US: 2012 National Health Interview Survey,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2012.
     
  3. T.C. Clarke, et al., “Trends in the Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Adults: United States, 2002–2012,” National Health Statistics Report, Feb 10 (79): 1–16, 2015.
     
  4. R.L.Nahin, et al., “Expenditures on Complementary Health Approaches: United States, 2012,” National Health Statistics Report,  June 22 (95):1-11, 2016.
     
  5. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “More Adults and Children are Using Yoga and Meditation”, November, 2018, https://nccih.nih.gov/news/press/More-adults-and-children-are-using-yoga-and-meditation.
     
  6. B. Horrigan, “Integrative Medicine Best Practices: Introduction and Summary.” Bravewell Collaborative, 2007.
     
  7. US News and World Report, U.S. News Hospitals Rankings and Ratings, https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals.
     
  8. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: What People Aged 50 and Older Discuss with their Health Care Providers,” April 2011.
     
  9. A. Bercovitz, et al., “Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Hospice: The National Home and Hospice Care Survey: United States, 2007,” National Health Statistics Report 33, Jan. 19, 2011.
     
  10. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/.