UA program offers more treatment options for parents, children

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The University of Arizonais venturing into groundbreaking territory as it expands treatment options for children.

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

It's pediatric integrativemedicine and the university is spreading it across the country through a brandnew online training program for medical school graduates training to become ournewest pediatricians.

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

The university is home tothe center for integrative medicine that integrates treatment and training inconventional medicine with other proven therapies.

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

It's the only one like itin the world.

Pediatricintegrative medicine focuses on prevention.

Especially for children,the idea is to find the best treatment with the least side effects which is notalways medication.

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

She says integrativemedicine would also look at the child's nutrition, sleep habits, even socialstructures at home and school.

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

Mcclafferty says bytraining pediatric residents in integrative medicine throughthe intensive online course there can be a change in the medical culture thatwill affect generations.

It will give parents manymore 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 ourkids growing up to learn that they have to be dependent on medications andpills and you know it's good to have different alternatives."

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

The plan is to offer thepediatric integrative training program to all interested schools of medicinestarting next summer.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.