UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine; Center for Integrated Primary Care

Publication Date


Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Integrative Medicine | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies


Purpose: Integrative group medical visits (IGMVs) aim to increase access to complementary and integrative health care, which is particularly relevant for low-income people. We sought to describe IGMV programs in US safety-net clinics through a survey of providers.

Methods: An online and paper survey was conducted to collect data on the use of complementary health approaches and characteristics of IGMV programs. We recruited a purposive sample of safety-net clinicians via national meetings and listservs.

Results: Fifty-seven clinicians reported on group medical visits. Forty percent worked in federally qualified health centers, 57% in safety-net or teaching hospitals, 23% in other settings such as free clinics. Thirty-seven respondents in 11 states provided care in IGMVs, most commonly for chronic pain and diabetes. Nutrition (70%), mindfulness/meditation/breathing (59%), and tai chi/yoga/other movement practices (51%) were the most common treatment approaches in IGMVs.

Conclusion: Safety-net institutions in 11 states offered IGMVs to treat a range of chronic conditions. IGMVs are an innovative model to improve access to non-pharmacologic approaches to chronic illness care and health promotion. They may advance health equity by serving patients negatively impacted by health and health care disparities.


chronic disease, community health centers, integrative medicine, safety-net providers

Rights and Permissions

Copyright Ariana Thompson-Lastad et al. 2018; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Health Equity. 2019 Jan 25;3(1):1-8. doi: 10.1089/heq.2018.0081. eCollection 2019. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Health equity

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.