The gift will fund training for practitioners of Indigenous healing traditions and those working in underserved communities.
The University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine has announced a gift from Paul Stamets, an internationally known mycologist and advocate of the medical benefits of mushrooms.
The gift – which brings Stamets' total pledged contributions to the center to $300,000 – will provide funding to Indigenous and other medical practitioners for training in the Integrative Medicine Program. Through that training, the center hopes to advance integrative medicine by encouraging ties between local and Indigenous communities and practitioners with experience in mainstream biomedicine.
"These funds will help diversify access to the Integrative Medicine Program. We need integrative solutions to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs," said Stamets, who received an honorary doctorate from the National College for Natural Medicine in 2012 for his academic achievements and for expanding the field of science. "I look forward to continuing to support this important program and seeing it flourish."
"Integrative medicine has long recognized the value of traditional methods of healing and I'm thrilled to have this generous donation from my longtime friend and colleague Paul Stamets, a leader in the field of mycology and foremost researcher of medicinal properties of mushrooms," said Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Weil Center.
Since its founding in 1994, the center has trained thousands of physicians and other health care professionals to make use of a broad range of effective therapies.
The flagship program at the Weil Center, the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, is a 1,000-hour, two-year distance learning program. In addition to online training, fellows participate in three weeks of hands-on training in Tucson.
"We recognize the great importance of the peoples, cultures and histories that inform the practice of integrative medicine and we are committed to diversity and inclusion," said Dr. Victoria Maizes, the center's executive director. "The center is delighted that this gift from Paul Stamets will increase our ability to train diverse health professionals who are passionate about integrative health and medicine."
"This initiative builds on the University of Arizona's commitment to recognizing the Indigenous peoples who have shaped the Wildcat community since our beginning in the 1800s," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "In keeping with our land-grant mission, it also puts the incredible knowledge of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in conversation with medical practitioners familiar with Indigenous healing methods, which will benefit health care professionals and people across Arizona. We are so grateful to Dr. Stamets for this transformational gift and for his appreciation of diversity when it comes to health and wellness."