A world-renowned author and expert in the field of integrative medicine, Andrew T. Weil, MD, founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, was recognized recently with the top award given by the Integrative Healthcare Symposium.
“I’m honored to receive the symposium’s 2022 Leadership Award,” Dr. Weil said. “Integrative health care is the way of the future, and the University of Arizona Health Sciences is leading that way. Our Center for Integrative Medicine sets the standard for training physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals to provide this kind of care in order to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs.”
The annual award was presented to Dr. Weil, who also gave the symposium’s keynote address on “The Evolution of Integrative Medicine,” earlier this year in New York City.
Presenting the award to Dr. Weil was Aly Cohen, MD, a 2014 graduate of the center’s Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, founder of Integrative Rheumatology Associates and The Smart Human LLC, and co-author of the book, “Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World.” Dr. Cohen is the guest on the latest Body of Wonder podcast with Dr. Weil and center executive director Victoria Maizes, MD.
In lauding Dr. Weil, Dr. Cohen told the tale of how his car broke down in Tucson in the 1970s while he was traveling across country, he fell in love with the desert and stayed. “Well, lucky for us. Combining the number of patients reached through fellowship graduates, health coaches, residents in training, medical students and researchers, some 8 million patients are guided by your teachings and are quite grateful your car broke down in Tucson many moons ago,” she said.
Commenting on his 15 books, Dr. Cohen said, “In an era of plentiful, often radical guidebooks and scary health news flashes, he has provided an oasis for balance and common sense for readers. Dr. Weil, your long and brave history of challenging the status quo of Western medicine and your ongoing mission to educate others through print, social media, television and lectures is a testament to the beautiful and rich journey you’ve taken.”
After graduating high school in Philadelphia in 1959, Dr. Weil won an American Association for the United Nations scholarship that allowed him to travel abroad for a year where he lived with families in India, Thailand and Greece. Upon his return, he did his undergraduate studies in biology and ethnobotany at Harvard University and earned his medical degree from Harvard in 1968.
He interned at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco, then took a post with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, “The Natural Mind.” As a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs from 1971-75, Dr. Weil traveled widely in the Americas and Africa, studying medicinal plants and alternative treatment methods for disease. From 1971-84, he also was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.
Dr. Weil founded the Program in Integrative Medicine in 1994 at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Fourteen years later, the program – by then a division in the college’s Department of Medicine – was designated a center of excellence by the Arizona Board of Regents. In 2019, the center was renamed as the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. The center broke ground on its new $23 million, donor-funded building March 16.
A UArizona clinical professor of medicine and public health and the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Medicine, Dr. Weil also is editorial director of DrWeil.com, a leading online resource for healthy living based on a philosophy of integrative medicine, and a founder and partner of True Food Kitchen restaurants, whose recipes are the basis for his New York Times best-selling book, “True Food.”