The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) has surpassed a historic milestone, having now certified 1,000 functional medicine health care practitioners globally. IFM has been educating clinicians since 1991, and formally through its IFM Certification Program (IFMCP) since 2009, certifying 125 practitioners in the inaugural graduating class of 2013. This significant milestone aligns with IFM’s mission to increase the adoption of functional medicine, which improves patient outcomes and reduces costs for both patients and the healthcare system in the long-term.
Chronic diseases account for 86 percent of all health care costs ($3.2 trillion in 2015 and growing), and 50 percent of adults have at least one chronic health condition. Functional medicine addresses this burgeoning problem by identifying the root causes of disease for each individual. By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, functional medicine treatments target the specific manifestations of disease in each individual, leveraging each patient’s genetic, biochemical and lifestyle data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
“Certifying practitioners in functional medicine is one important step in responding to the increased prevalence of largely preventable chronic disease by providing a framework for consistent application of high-quality functional medicine care across the globe,” stated Amy R. Mack, IFM CEO. “This milestone is testament to the hard work over the past 30 years from all of those who see functional medicine as the medicine of the future.”
The IFM Certification Program’s innovative approach to addressing the epidemic of chronic disease has led to incredible demand for IFM Certified Practitioners. IFM’s website had more than 1.6 million patient-initiated searches for functional medicine practitioners in 2018. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, the first functional medicine facility at a major academic medical center, has a waiting list of over 2,200 patients. And the demand for functional medicine clinicians is not just from patients: the most renowned integrative and functional medicine institutions are looking to hire IFM Certified Practitioners.
“IFM Certified Practitioners are consistently recognized as the most thoroughly trained Functional Medicine clinicians in their fields and the most sought-after by both patients and academic and institutional employers,” said Dan Lukaczer, ND, IFM director of medical education. “These clinicians are the heart of what Functional Medicine is all about—a therapeutic patient-practitioner approach to address the underlying causes of disease that will help stem the tide of chronic illness and improve the state of health nationally and internationally.”
For more information, visit www.ifm.org.