UA program offers more treatment options for parents, children - Tucson News Now

UA program offers more treatment options for parents, children

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The University of Arizona is venturing into groundbreaking territory as it expands treatment options for children.

The program that was born at the health sciences center is just what the doctor ordered.

It's pediatric integrative medicine and the university is spreading it across the country through a brand new online training program for medical school graduates training to become our newest pediatricians.

University of Arizona third-year pediatric resident Dr. Daniel Combs is giving little Elijah Garcia a checkup.

The university is home to the center for integrative medicine that integrates treatment and training in conventional medicine with other proven therapies.   

Now the university has launched on online integrative curriculum for  pediatricians in training.

It's the only one like it in the world.

Pediatric integrative medicine focuses on prevention.

Especially for children, the idea is to find the best treatment with the least side effects which is not always medication.

Dr. Mcclafferty uses ADHD as an example. It's a condition often treated with powerful drugs.

She says integrative medicine would also look at the child's nutrition, sleep habits, even social structures at home and school.

"What other self-regulation skills could we teach that child around stress management and perhaps we can reduce exposure to the medications, if not eliminate them," Mcclafferty said.

Mcclafferty says by training pediatric residents in integrative medicine through the intensive online course there can be a change in the medical culture that will affect generations.

It will give parents many more choices as they look after their children's health. 

"As parents, we need more options," said Ashley McIntyre, Elijah's mother. "We really don't want to have our kids growing up to learn that they have to be dependent on medications and pills and you know it's good to have different alternatives."

The initial phase will involve five medical schools, including the U of A and Stanford.

The plan is to offer the pediatric integrative training program to all interested schools of medicine starting next summer.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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