Andrew Weil Center celebrates grand opening

May 15, 2024

Panel discussion with pioneers in integrative health care, cooking demonstrations highlight debut of new complex.

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson recently unveiled the new Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine complex on the Health Sciences campus. The center, established in 1994, is transforming health care by training health professionals and promoting health and well-being through evidence-based, sustainable integrative approaches.

“The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine is a beacon of innovation in modern health care and has empowered physicians worldwide to transform the practice of medicine,” said Stephen Dahmer, MD, director of the center. “By highlighting both the science and the power of lifestyle changes, the mind-body connection and holistic approaches to well-being, we have trained thousands to guide millions toward a more complete, patient-centered path to health and healing.”

A highlight of the nearly two weeks of celebrations included a panel discussion on the potential for integrative medicine to reshape health care in the United States. The discussion featured Andrew Weil, MD, author Deepak Chopra, MD, and mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. The longtime friends delved into the state of health care, opportunities for innovation, and holistic approaches to health and wellness, including their own wellness practices.

Center staff, university leaders, donors and special guests of the University of Arizona Foundation gathered on April 23 for a ribbon cutting and dinner in the Iris Cantor “body” building, one of three structures that comprise the complex. Each building is designed to represent an element of whole-person wellness: mind, body and spirit. 

From nontoxic building materials and natural light to sound-absorbing panels and a unique ventilation system, elements of the buildings and the surrounding landscape were designed to foster wellness based on the seven tenets of integrative health – exercise and movement, social relationships, spirituality, healthy nutrition, sleep quality, stress reduction and resilience. 

On April 24, more than 130 invited guests were able to tour the space for the official grand opening of the 30,000-square-foot complex. On May 4, the public had the opportunity to see it as well. Attendees enjoyed the demonstration kitchen, where healthy cooking was on display, wandered through the complex’s tranquil desert setting and learned about the facility’s “living laboratory” spaces that will allow researchers to conduct cutting-edge research into built spaces and occupants’ health. Visitors were also able to experience the specially engineered “recharge room,” where they experienced an immersive, multisensory, nature-themed session or a more active session involving physical movement, light and music.

The primary mission of the center is to educate physicians and other health care professionals. Dahmer emphasized its role in empowering physicians worldwide to embrace patient-centered approaches and integrative healing modalities that can complement Western medical practices. To facilitate the education of medical students, integrative coaches, residents and fellows, the complex’s “body” building includes ample classroom space that can accommodate group learning.