What Integrative Medicine Can Learn from Corporate Mergers

The integration of complementary and conventional medicine in a health care setting—such as an integrative oncology center—represents the merger of two cultures. Even in the best of circumstances, blending them can be challenging.

The Institute, in partnership with the Robert Bosch Foundation, Charité University, and the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, held a forum in October 2012, to examine what the field of integrative medicine could learn from the world of corporate mergers.

Presentations by American and European corporate merger experts yielded a key insight: Developing a new, shared culture is critical for a successful merger.

Forum leader and Institute Scholar Claudia Witt, MD, and her team presented case studies of two major integrative oncology centers in Germany and the U.S.

Participants, including a medical historian, nurses, doctors, administrators, patient representatives, and business consultants, analyzed the differences and similarities between the cultures of complementary and conventional medicine, and identified potential obstacles to a smooth integration.

These findings form the basis for a set of guidelines that health care leaders can apply when establishing integrative medicine clinics, departments, and other entities that blend these unique cultures.

Outcomes from the meeting have been submitted for publication in scientific and business journals.


Corporate culture assessments in integrative oncology. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.