October 1, 2018

Recruitment opens for second year of integrative oncology training program

The goal of the NCI-funded Integrative Oncology (IO) Scholars training program is to train one hundred oncology leaders in the rigorous evaluation and integration of complementary therapies in cancer care. The program is led by Suzanna Zick.

Map of the united states with highlighted states of integrative oncology scholar geographic representation with collection of health system logos
The first cohort of oncology professionals in the Integrative Oncology Scholars program come from 13 states and the District of Columbia and represent 23 U.S. healthcare systems, including comprehensive cancer centers. A model of their training program was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.


The Integrative Oncology (IO) Scholars program--a free, blended learning training course for oncology health care providers--is currently accepting applications for its 2019-2020 course year, which will begin in August 2019.

Suzanna Zick
Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H., Research Associate Professor and IO Scholars Program Director

The IO Scholars Program was developed by Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H., Research Associate Professor and an interdisciplinary team of oncology specialists, medical educators, and patient advocates. Intended to address clinical questions and meet patient needs, the course is designed to train physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and clinical psychologists who actively work with oncology patients in the development of knowledge and skills in integrative oncology.

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The program is delivered in a blend of in-person and online learning sessions, as well as through individual community projects.

Participants in the program are challenged to analyze the negative interactions and adverse effects of complementary and alternative therapies, to develop critical knowledge about popular alternative treatments currently chosen by patients, and to practice communications strategies when advising patients on the potential harms of using unproven treatments.  

Complementary and alternative treatments often vary by community. The IO Scholars program’s mission to enable its cohort of scholars to identify, evaluate, and create evidence-based integrative oncology services within their unique patient communities.

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The IO Scholars program accepted 25 health professionals in its first cohort, for the 2018-2019 program. The cohort is comprised of ten physicians from radiation, medical, and surgical oncology as well as primary care, dermatology, and palliative care; five advanced practice nurses; five social workers; three physician assistants; one pharmacist; and one physical therapist. Several of the social workers and nurses coordinate cancer survivorship programs at their institutions. IOS come from 13 states and the District of Columbia and represent 23 U.S. healthcare systems, including comprehensive cancer centers.

This fall, the instructors of the Integrative Oncology Scholars Program have published an academic commentary, providing an overview of the program's design and training methods, out now in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The focus of the September 2018 issue is integrative oncology.

Prospective applicants can visit the Integrative Oncology Scholars program website for details and a link to apply online. Applications are due January 15, 2019.

Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H. is Co-Director of the Integrative Family Medicine program at the University of Michigan. She is a clinical expert on integrative medicine in cancer survivorship and has published over 30 peer reviewed papers on complementary and integrative interventions in cancer survivorship care and cancer prevention.

Article Citation: Zick SM, Czuhajewski C, Fouladbakhsh JM, et al. Integrative Oncology Scholars Program: A Model for Integrative Oncology Education. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;24(9-10):1018-1022. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0184.


Browse the latest research on integrative and complementary therapies from the department of family medicine.