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“Supporting people on their journey to realizing wholeness”
Welcome! At the UF Health Integrative Medicine Program we treat the whole person – mind, body and spirit – and are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and well-being in all aspects of life.
The Integrative Medicine Program is an outgrowth of UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine, one of the largest arts in health care programs in the nation. Arts in Medicine uses music, visual arts and performing arts to enhance the hospital experience of patients and families — and for years, it’s provided services such as massage and yoga to staff. Often, staff would ask if the Arts in Medicine team could offer these services to patients, Mullen says. Unfortunately, without the resources or medical expertise, the answer had to be no.
But three years ago, things started to fall into place to change that. A certified yoga practitioner with special training to work with cancer patients joined the team. Two sizeable donations were made to the program by community members interested in supporting integrative medicine — with others soon to follow. UF Health leadership singled out Estores, a fellow of the University of Arizona’s nationally recognized integrative medicine center, as a medical professional who could potentially lead integrative medicine practices at UF, says Robert Leverence, M.D.
“It was an alignment of the stars; we had these gifts at hand and a potential champion who’d be able to lead the effort in integrative medicine,” says Leverence, vice chair of clinical affairs in the UF College of Medicine’s department of medicine. “We needed someone who understands at a deep level the interface between physical health, emotional health and spiritual health.”
With support from UF Health leadership, Estores assumed the role of medical director in August 2013 and she and Mullen began building a small team of integrative medicine practitioners and instructors.
“Dr. Estores has brought immediate legitimacy to the notion that we will be providing medical practices as opposed to simply creative arts practices,” Mullen says. “She was immediately able to take a team and transform it from a non-medical-based practice to a medical-based practice.”
In addition to Estores, who also serves a medical acupuncture practitioner, the team includes two yoga practitioners, a tai chi practitioner/massage therapist, a mindfulness practitioner, a holistic nutritionist/massage therapist, a hypnotherapist, and a nurse coordinator.