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Sens Mikulski and Harkin Continue to Support Integrative Health

January 7, 2013

A recent policy update from the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine notes that U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) will be new the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.  The spot became available to the long-time champion for complementary and integrative medicine and health when the chair role was passed up by two senior members who chose to retain their subcommittee positions. One of these is Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who will continue to oversee the powerful Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee "based on where my passions lie." Mikulski, who is in her fifth term, will become the first woman to lead the panel.

Comment: Movements, such as for integrative health, are about grassroots, bottom-up. They are also about individual leadership, top-down. The latter includes those who can move mountains with a stroke of the pen. The public service of Harkin over the last 20 years, principally, with Mikulski working as a close colleague on his Appropriations subcommittee, have profoundly shaped the ability of the popular interest in new approaches to health and medicine to express itself in U.S. policy. To ask what-if they hadn't been in their positions is to imagine an astonishingly different course for "CAM" and integrative health in the U.S. Mikulski's elevation can only bode well for the advance of the integrative health field.