Patients may no longer be satisfied to leave all the decisions up
to their doctors. And doctors may no longer be satisfied to offer
patients only physical solutions to physical problems.
At least, that's the philosophy behind the Center for Mind, Body,
and Spirit at Integris Baptist Medical Center. But the philosophy is
founded on a decade of research in the burgeoning field of
psychoneuroimmunology, which suggests a relationship between the
and body. The center is dedicated to educating people about that
connection, sometimes called a holistic approach to health.
"You've got to believe the physician believes in you," says James
L. Hall Jr., advisory board chairman and co-founder of the center --
as well as the head of the health care division of the Oklahoma City
law firm Crowe and Dunlevy. "You need hope and the physician needs
to give you that hope."
Hall learned this from personal experience. Diagnosed with lung
cancer in October 1996, he started searching for answers of what he
could do to regain his health. "I was surprised at how little
information there was."
Hall went to a cancer support group, but found that the others in
the group also had more questions than answers. When he asked others
in the group about books they'd read, he says he was met with blank
stares. So Hall did his own research, read lots of books and
developed an extensive bibliography that he shares with others. Last
September, Hall heard that Dr. Murali Krishna, president of Integris
Mental Health, and William F. Carpenter, director of the hospital's
pastoral care, had been discussing forming the center. Hall knew he
wanted to be a part of it, so he called Krishna and the three of
had a meeting to discuss the project.
The organization secured an office space at 3366 Northwest
Expressway, debuted its newletter Harmony in February, and hosted
first of a series of events with leading names in the mind/body
field. These have been attended by more than 2,000 people from the
general public as well as 500+ professionals.
In addition, the center is beginning a series of workshops in July
for the terminally ill and their families.
Hall's convinced that a patient should view himself as a partner
with the physician, learning as much about his diagnosed illness as
possible. He adds that only 15-20 percent of all patients accept any
responsibility for their own healing.
Healing is Hall's key word, making a distinction between healing
and recovery. No one, he notes, can guarantee recovery. Everyone
will die at some point. Healing, however, could mean other things,
such as reducing a person's pain, slowing the dying process, or
helping the patient die with a sense of peace.
While the center does not provide the alternative therapies
sometimes associated with the mind/body connection, such as
acupuncture or massage, it does aim to provide information enabling
patients information to make their own decisions about these