Florence, Alabama: University of North Alabama President Dr. William G. Cale Jr. last week signed an international memorandum of agreement with Shenqi Ethnic Medicine College for partnership in building a Center for Integrative Health in Florence.
The center would offer a Master of Science degree in health and human performance with a concentration in integrative health. The agreement will become official upon approval by the boards of UNA and SEMC and then by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE). The next meeting of the UNA board is March 16.
“Integrative health takes a holistic approach to health, and that approach is now emerging through several clinics throughout the country,” Cale said. “But we have not identified an academic program offering specialized training in integrative health. This partnership will be groundbreaking as it prepares students to become professionals and leaders in the field.”
Practitioners in integrative health take a broader perspective of disease than conventional medical practitioners, addressing the connection between disease and lifestyle. Through a holistic medical philosophy, they treat the disease by treating the whole person.
The Center for Integrative Health will offer courses in a variety of areas, including mental health, nutrition, exercise, gerontology, child development and business management. UNA will be responsible for development, implementation and operation of the program, while SEMC is responsible for land purchase, construction of instructional and residential facilities, and seed money for the hiring of faculty, staff and research assistants.
Upon reaching full enrollment, the center’s employee salaries would then be funded through new incoming tuition. Officials from UNA and SEMC will soon begin scouting potential property in Florence to build the new Center for Integrative Health.
The center is expected to be fully operational and enrolling students no earlier than fall 2013.