Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine to host opening events

April 19, 2024
  • What: Public Open House 
  • When: Saturday, May 4, Noon-4 p.m.
  • Where: Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, 1502 E. Mabel St., Tucson

The new Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine complex will officially open to the public Saturday, May 4, with a free open house from noon to 4 p.m. The center’s 30,000 square feet are spread across three buildings designed to embody and promote whole-person wellness and the principles of integrative health. Each building represents an aspect of the whole person: mind, body and spirit.

Design and construction elements of the buildings support the seven tenets of integrative health: exercise and movement, social relationships, spirituality, healthy nutrition, sleep quality, stress reduction and resilience. Building features that promote wellness include nontoxic building materials, sound-absorbing surfaces, abundant natural light, open workspaces, nature-inspired colors, a demonstration kitchen where healthy cooking can be taught and more.

“Not only is the new building complex the realization of my dream to have a proper home for our center that embodies our philosophy of health and wellness, it is significant as the first dedicated integrative medicine center to open in the heart of the medical campus of a major university,” said Andrew Weil, MD, the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Medicine and founder of the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. “My colleagues and I are most grateful for the support of the University of Arizona and its College of Medicine – Tucson in helping us achieve this milestone.”

The largest building, named after donor Iris Cantor, represents the body, was built to accommodate education and wellness activities for health care professionals and the public. The “mind” building houses the center’s administrative functions, and the “spirit” building provides a tranquil environment for nondenominational spiritual engagement and meditation. The three buildings are surrounded by desert gardens and linked by pathways.

The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, which is part of the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, is internationally recognized for its innovative educational programs. The center partners with more than 100 residency programs and has welcomed thousands of physicians from all over the world since its creation in 1994. Professionals trained at the center are now guiding more than 10 million patients to take a greater role in their health and healing.

“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 Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. “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.”

In addition to being a place for learning, the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine is known for cutting-edge research in stress and illness, and place and well-being. The new complex will serve as a “living laboratory” where investigators from various disciplines can conduct collaborative research in areas such as building systems and technologies that promote wellness and optimize the well-being of workers.

“It is incredibly exciting to finally see the new Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine complex rise up from the ground and become a reality in what used to be a parking lot,” said Esther Sternberg, MD, the center’s research director, the Andrew Weil Chair for Research in Integrative Medicine, director of the UArizona Institute on Place, Wellbeing and Performance and BIO5 Institute member. “This is the final step in a long collaborative process between Line and Space architects, Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine staff and faculty, and external architectural and building science advisors, who took these concepts from ideas to drawings to steel, glass and concrete. We are excited to continue this collaborative work with faculty and students across campus and beyond as we seek to continue to define elements of the built environment that support all aspects of integrative, whole-person physical health and emotional well-being.”

The $23 million project was made possible by philanthropic contributions, including $5 million from Iris Cantor and the Iris and & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation; $1 million from the Diamond Family Foundation; $1 million from Humberto and Czarina Lopez; $1 million from the Norma Lollar family; $250,000 from Karen and Stephen Malkin and family; and many smaller donations.

“This incredible facility is testament to the power of many coming together around a shared vision,” said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation. “I’m grateful to all those who gave to make the new Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine facility a reality during the university’s Fuel Wonder campaign.”

The complex was designed by Tucson-based architecture firm Line and Space LLC and built by DPR Construction, a national commercial builder. Construction began in May 2022.

Andrew Weil Center welcomes new director

The completion of the new complex coincides with the hiring of Stephen Dahmer, MD, the new director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, chief of the Division of Integrative Medicine in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and assistant dean of wellness at the college. Dahmer joined the university March 1.

“Dr. Dahmer will be instrumental in the continued evolution of the center as we further integrate evidence-based tenets of integrative medicine into our curriculum and clinical practice,” said Michael M.I. Abecassis, MD, MBA, the Humberto and Czarina Lopez Dean of the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

Venkata “Bob” Evani, MD, CEO of Banner – University Medical Group and president of Banner Academics, said, “Dr. Dahmer’s extensive experience as an integrative medicine leader blends perfectly with Banner’s commitment to continuously improve patient outcomes through excellent patient care. We look forward to partnering with him to further make integrative medicine a focal point of care.”

Outpatient integrative medical services will be offered through Banner – University Medicine and are expected to become available later this spring at a location to be determined.

Dahmer joined the college from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, where he served as an assistant clinical professor. He also was the medical director of See Beyond, an integrative medical practice, and a founding primary care physician with health benefits provider Sana Benefits.

“Dr. Dahmer’s background in integrative and family medicine, along with his visionary approach to health care, make him the perfect choice to lead the center into a new era of patient-centered care,” said Andrew Weil, MD, an internationally recognized pioneer in integrative medicine and founder and director of the center that bears his name.

Dahmer’s research focuses on integrative medicine, plant-based medicine and the therapeutic application of cannabis in managing chronic pain. He has been involved in clinical trials as a principal investigator and consultant and has published numerous papers and book chapters.

His journey as a physician and researcher have taken him around the world, from the Navajo Nation to Brazil, New Zealand and the islands of Micronesia. His experience complements the Andrew Weil Center’s mission to understand ethnomedical systems and integrate diverse approaches into patient care.

“We are so excited to welcome Dr. Dahmer to the department and to the integrative medicine communit,” said Kristen Rundell, MD, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. “His background in family medicine, integrative medicine and chronic pain is well aligned with our clinical and research missions.”

Media contact:

David Bruzzese
College of Medicine – Tucson