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Symposium: Focus on the Whole Patient When Delivering Care

October 28, 2019

In fall 2018, the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Pluta Cancer Center opened an Integrative Oncology & Wellness Center, using complementary therapies including yoga, meditation, and acupuncture to help ease the fatigue, pain, stress, and anxiety often felt by cancer patients.

Dr. Henry Hess speaks at the Integrative and Complementary Medicine Symposium.

Integrative and complementary medicine like those used at Pluta were the focus of a daylong symposium held at St. John Fisher College in early October.  Hosted by the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, the symposium featured a talk by Judy Zeeman-Golden, LCSW, integrative oncology coordinator at Pluta, who also sponsored the event along with major sponsor, Wegmans.

The day included sessions on mindfulness and biofeedback by Fisher faculty members Dr. Rob Rice and Dr. Melissa Goodwin, as well as acupuncture, a review of research related to the use of CBD and Cannabidiol, and a Tai Chi demonstration. Dr. Ravindra Ganesh, M.B.B.S., M.D., an internist in the Integrative Medicine and Health Department and the General Internal Medicine Department for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, delivered the keynote address.

Dr. Beth Sutton Burke, assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy, who led the organization of the event, said that integrative and complementary medicine could help health care professionals enhance the care they deliver to patients.

Dr. Rob Rice, associate professor in the Wegmans School of Nursing, talks about biofeedback during the symposium.

Dr. Rob Rice, associate professor in the Wegmans School of Nursing, talks about biofeedback during the symposium.

“Integrative and complementary therapies focus on the patient as a whole person instead of a disease or a health concern,” she said. “Focusing on the whole patient can help alleviate or reduce symptoms without medical intervention and prevent potential future issues related to stress, diet, or a sedentary lifestyle.”

The symposium drew faculty and students from not only the School of Pharmacy, but from across the College, as well as nurse practitioners, physicians, other members of the health care field, and individuals interested in health and wellness. The day ended with a short presentation on the benefits of wine by Dr. Henry Hess ’64.

“I think mental health and burnout are having a public moment right now. The recognition of the damage that is done when people do not stop to take care of themselves is more widespread and accepted – and people want to make the right choices to be healthy and happy,” Sutton Burke said. “The interaction between the speakers and the attendees was a highlight of the day. People asked questions, participated in the Tai Chi exercise, and had spirited discussions at their tables.”