Advanced training program

Advancing integrative health by training more doctors

Risa Siegel, DO

Risa Siegel, DO, is passionate about treating the whole person. She wants to create a holistic experience for her patients, one that examines the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of their lives so they can be healthier and happier.

Her passion led her to Allina Health's Penny Georgeā„¢ Institute for Health and Healing, which has a national reputation for whole person integrative care. Siegel recently completed the Penny George Institute's Advanced Clinical Training in Integrative Medicine, which teaches practitioners how to incorporate integrative health and healing in their practice.

"Previously, I had completed an online integrative medicine residency program through the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine under Andrew Weill," said Siegel. "But I needed to know how to apply this knowledge in my day-to-day practice. The advanced clinical training program gave me that knowledge."

Last fall, the Penny George Institute received a grant from the Penny George Institute Foundation to launch the physician-in-residence training program. According to Debra Bell, MD, Penny George Institute full-time integrative medicine physician, the motivation for the program was increased demand from patients for integrative health and healing.

Debra Bell, MD"Patients want natural as well as conventional therapies. We partner with them to integrate these therapies through a holistic approach with an emphasis on healing," said Bell. "In addition, we've had requests from many Allina Health doctors on how they can implement integrative health and healing in their day-to-day practice. We feel this program answers both those needs."

Siegel spent four hours a week for 12 weeks shadowing Bell and other integrative health practitioners. She started with observation, and then worked with the integrative health and healing staff to incorporate the extended care into her consultations with patients. She also attended weekly clinical meetings where the diverse group of integrative health practitioners would discuss together and make recommendations for treatment and follow up.

Since completing the program this past March, Siegel has been able to incorporate her learnings into her family practice clinic in Minneapolis.

"I've wanted to offer integrative health therapies to my patients and do more preventive counseling and work," said Siegel. "I now feel that I am on the path to achieving these goals."

The advanced training program was made possible through the generosity of donors to the Penny George Institute Foundation. Donors are becoming increasingly interested in "sponsoring" a physician's advanced training in integrative care. Each rotation costs between $5, 000 and $8,000, depending on the customization needed for each physician. Without the support of our donors, we would not be able to offer this training.

For more information about the advanced training program, contact Jennifer.Blair@allina.com, senior trainer, at the Penny George Institute's Center for Training and Innovation at 612-863-3859. For more information about sponsoring a physician in integrative care, contact Laurie Hennen.