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The Cleveland Clinic has teamed up with functional medicine pioneer, Mark Hyman, MD, to establish the multi-million dollar Cleveland Center for Functional Medicine Institute, slated to open on September 23, 2014.

Long recognized as one of the world's finest healthcare systems, and a paragon of what's best about American medicine, the Cleveland Clinic is the first mainstream institution to whole-heartedly embrace the functional medicine model as developed by the Institute of Functional Medicine.

Mark Hyman, MD The project began a few years ago, when Dr. Hyman met Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, MD, the Cleveland Clinic's president and CEO, at a conference in Europe.

Initially skeptical, Dr. Hyman said that over the course of many conversations he came to realize that Dr. Cosgrove—a cardiovascular surgeon and decorated Air Force officer who has been with Cleveland Clinic since 1975—was sincere in wanting to change the way medicine was practiced with the Clinic's systems.

"He saw what was happening in the field of functional medicine, and the things we were doing, and realized that's where the future was, " said Dr. Hyman, who has joined Cleveland Clinic as the Director of the new center. Patrick Hanaway, MD, the Director of Medical Education at IFM, will also join Cleveland Clinic as the Director of Medical Education at the new clinic

"You Don't Want Me There"

Knowing the disruptive potential of functional medicine in conventional settings, Hyman tried many times to convince Cosgrove that he was asking for trouble.

"I said, 'Toby, you don't want me there. Because, if I go there I'm going to tell you that most of what you are doing is wrong, that in fact you are harming people, that I would want to implement programs that are going to empty out half your hospitals, and clear out most of your procedure rooms, reduce hospital stays and doctor visits dramatically. Are you okay with that?"

Dr. Cosgrove, who declined President Obama's invitation to head the Veterans' Administration earlier this year, said he was ready, and that he could see the direction medicine had to take.

"Despite my tremendous resistance and my continual efforts to convince him why it was a really bad idea to have me there, we are going to start a functional medicine institute at the Cleveland Clinic in September, " said Dr. Hyman, who is the Institute for Functional Medicine's board chairman.

The new center in Cleveland will have several objectives, one of which is to create clinical programs based on the best practices and the aggregate intelligence of the worldwide functional medicine community. Dr. Hyman hopes to determine what are the best diagnostic approaches and lifestyle-based interventions for preventing and treating debilitating chronic autoimmune disorders.



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