MSHS in Integrative Medicine
Master of Science in Health Sciences in Integrative Medicine
Prepare to offer an integrative, evidence-based approach to care that helps your patients achieve true well-being. GW is proud to offer the only MSHS in Integrative Medicine available.
The scientifically rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum is accredited by the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM).
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Who Is the Ideal Student for This Program?
The program is designed for professionals who want to focus on integrative health and well-being and personalized, lifestyle medicine as part of their practice. They understand the importance of integrative functional medicine, using research in their practice, and the benefits of having a strong relationship with their clients.
Our students come from varied backgrounds and complement each other in learning, as they share their professional experiences, viewpoints, and strengths in discussions in and outside of courses
Health Care & Wellness Providers
- Health Coaches
- Nurses/Nurse Practitioners
- Physical/Occupational Therapists
- Physicians (from primary care to any specialty, MD to DO)
- Physician Assistants
- Wellness/Fitness professionals
Build an Optimal Wellness Plan for Your Patients
In GW’s master’s in integrated medicine online program, you’ll discover how to use systems thinking to evaluate and treat your clients. You’ll consider a patient’s health history, lifestyle, and current experiences, and use new findings from multiple disciplines to develop treatment plans.
By graduation, you will merge conventional medicine with nutrition, lifestyle medicine, and appropriate, evidence-based therapies including referring patients for acupuncture, yoga therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, health coaching, and more. You will build multidisciplinary, scientifically-backed treatment plans with your clients.
Get Patients on Board With Their Plan
Oftentimes, the challenge of patients achieving true well-being is in maintaining a treatment plan. This is why we include coursework that focuses on how to build strong relationships with clients and how to get compensated for the extra time you take to do so.
You’ll discover how to help clients overcome their resistance to recommended lifestyle changes and to coach them in maintaining a treatment plan to achieve and enjoy life-long well-being.
Understand and Use Important Research
The program has a strong research focus that supports your creation of evidence-based, multidisciplinary plans, gives you the ability to write effective grant proposals, and can prepare you to move into a PhD program or a research-based career if you choose to do so. By the end of the program, you will have the opportunity to become a certified peer reviewer.
While enrolled, you’ll receive a free student membership in the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, which includes discounted registration for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health, free webinars, and research alerts.
[00:04:49.67] LEIGH FRAME: So why should you choose this program? I think Justin’s already highlighted a few benefits of the online format. This being asynchronous means that you can do it when you have time. So if you’re in clinic all day, when you get home, that’s when you can take your coursework, or if you want to do it first thing in the morning, or during your lunch break, or while you’re commuting. The freedom is there, and it allows you to put it into your very busy schedule with your family commitments and your full time workload. So we understand that.
[00:05:20.63] We also allow you to see the entire course at the very beginning. So you can plan ahead. As you know, there’s a week that you’re going to have a really crazy week at work. And you might not be able to get to that assignment. You can work on it in advance, or we’ll work with you to try and make things fit your schedule. Just as long as you communicate with us in advance, we can typically make almost anything work.
[00:05:44.39] And as long as you’re taking all of your courses, you can complete this degree in as few as 24 months, which is another advantage. You can get in, get the training you need, and get back out, and start utilizing it. But I also say that even while you’re in the program, even while you’re taking these classes, you can immediately start applying this. And our students do that. And they come back and talk and say, oh, that thing we learned last week, I used that in clinic. And it was so successful. My patients loved it. So even while you’re doing your coursework, you can still be applying this.
[00:06:16.99] And while GW is very, very credible, we also have an accredited program. So this program has been accredited by the American Board of Physician Specialists, ABPS. And it allows you to sit for the American Board of Integrative Medicine and become board certified in integrative medicine, if you are a qualifying physician.
[00:06:35.21] And for those of you who are not physicians, we do have the ability to sit for the certified nutrition specialist exam if you are either in the nutrition track or if you take some extra nutrition training. And that’s something you can work with your advisor on to see what the best options are for you. And going back to the board certification, if you are finishing, you’d want to complete a fellowship concentration in order to be able to be board certified. And that has an additional component where you’re actually going to be in person with our medical director Andrew Heyman.
[00:07:07.46] A little bit more about our courses– we recommend that our students take one or two courses at a time. In order to complete it in 24 months, you do have to take two courses at a time. And the courses are set up at eight week structure. So they’re very intense, but I think very rewarding, because you are really getting a lot of information very quickly.
[00:07:26.93] And so we have semester system here. So we’ve got a spring semester right now and then a fall semester coming up. And they’re each cut up into A and B sessions. That’s the eight week structure. You have an eight week A session and an eight week B session. And it’s either a spring or a fall semester.
[00:07:44.51] We do offer some courses in the summer as well. But we try to give you that time to use to do either your fellowship or to get your supervised hours, if you want to do the CNS, or to maybe take some time and do some research. That’s really what we try to do in the summer rather than to emphasize the coursework. And if you do all of that, it’s only 24 months, and you’ll have a degree. And you can get back out there and apply what you’ve learned.
[00:08:12.01] So why would you choose this master’s degree in integrative medicine? As you’ve probably already recognized, health care is shifting away from a more paternalistic model to a more personalized and lifestyle focused medical model, where you are working with your patients to try and come up with what’s the best way for them. And that’s exactly what integrative medicine does.
[00:08:36.62] This approach uses evidence based medicine to create personalized care plans. And that’s not only important for you to be able to provide better health care, but this is actually what your consumer, your patients, your clients, are demanding. This is what they are looking for. So in order to get ready for what your patients, your clients are going to ask you for, this is exactly the type of training that you need. And of course, we focus on holistic health. So we’re looking at the entire person and their whole lifestyle and how that affects their health.
[00:09:07.73] And one large element of that, particularly at GW, is nutrition. We look at foundational health nutrition and lifestyle first, because you can’t Lipitor yourself out of a bad diet. As important as some of these medications are, if we focus on improving diet and lifestyle first, we probably have better results. And that’s also why we focus on wellness, that whole person wellness, that stress management, stress reduction, self-care.
[00:09:36.84] These are things that are not only important for your patients and your clients, but they’re also important for you, which is why we have a whole course dedicated to this. And many of our services actually really help them get through the program, because they have these skills to take care of themselves and manage stress during the peak times, coursework and final. All right.
[00:09:56.67] So what are you going to learn? I already mentioned a little bit about the certified nutrition specialist exam. And this is an opportunity for those in the nutrition track. And they’re really going to be focusing in on nutrition. They get that good foundation in integrative medicine and the approach.
[00:10:11.10] But then, you’re going to do a deep dive into nutrition and become really, really experts in counseling on nutrition, weight management, various different issues related to food and lifestyle. And that allows you to become a certified nutrition specialist, which allows you to see patients or clients and actually counsel them. And you have a credential that goes with that.
[00:10:33.73] For those of you who are already licensed physicians, you have the fellowship option, which, again, leads the board certification. And that does require a two week in-person stint with our medical director. He’s very flexible in working with you and your schedule. And that could be two one-week stints or two weeks through. So there is flexibility in that as well.
[00:10:55.70] And then, finally the graduate certificate. And this is for those of you who are really interested in integrative medicine and learning more about it, but maybe you don’t really have the time to devote to getting a full master’s. Or you already have a master’s degree, and you don’t think that you really need a full master’s. Well, you can sign up for the grad certificate. You get a very good taste of our integrative medicine program. And then, you can get right back out. It could be in as little as, I think, 18 months, if your line everything up properly.
[00:11:25.64] But the really great thing about the graduate certificate for me is that if you decide when you’re halfway through, a quarter way through, wherever in your graduate– that you really want to do the master’s now, you can do that. All of those courses will just transfer over. You do have to apply to the master’s program. But as long as you’re in good standing in the program, you’ll probably get in. So it’s one of the things I tell people. If they’re not really sure that they want to do the full master’s, then start with a graduate certificate. And you can always transfer into the master’s. OK.
[00:11:55.72] So one of the great things about having an online platform in this asynchronous manner is that it allows us to bring in faculty who otherwise wouldn’t be able to teach you, because they’re in clinic all day. Or they’re traveling to Dubai, and they can’t be in class at that time. Well, that’s not a barrier with our structure.
[00:12:14.14] So we’re able to attract the leaders in the field of integrative medicine, and lifestyle medicine, and nutrition who are mostly working in clinical space. We do also have some researchers. But they’re all experts. And it’s the type of faculty that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you were relying on just full time faculty members. I think that’s very unique to the online platform.
[00:12:38.05] I also think that our platform is very unique in that it allows you to really be an active learner. You are not going to sit in a classroom and have someone talk at you for an hour, which, by the way, research shows you don’t learn from. But instead, you are going to dive in and get some information, try and to decide that we’re going to have a discussion about it. And then, we have some great projects that we’re going to do to help to really guide you along, but also to give you tools.
[00:13:08.11] One of my favorite projects that we do is creating a patient education infographic. So you learn how to make an infographic. You learn some of the principles of educating patients. And you actually create something that you can hand out to your patients right away. And it’s something that you identify as a need in your population that’s related to the topics that we’re talking about, which are pretty broad.
[00:13:30.11] So it’s easy for you to find something. And then, you create this. And now, you have it right away to engage with your patients. And that’s exactly the type of assignment we try to do, the ones that are really highly applicable and not just fun, but also something that you’re going to be able to utilize.
[00:13:49.40] So getting back to the online experience and what else is unique about it, the one thing you’re probably thinking is how am I interacting with the other students and the faculty? And one of the ways is what we call our discussion boards. And these are like a blog or if you remember a chat room, what a chat room was like.
[00:14:10.71] And you get on there, and you might have an initial post that we’re asking you to post about a topic or how you might approach a case. And then, we’ll chat about it back and forth. And this is asynchronous. So it’s as you have time. Maybe it’s like an email thread. You can think of it that way. And everyone has their little avatars, so you can see their face. And you get to know them.
[00:14:32.25] But then, we also have something called VoiceThread, where we use video presentations. And you can either do a slide show or you can videotape yourself. And then, we can respond to you in various different formats. We could type it out. We could do a video. We could do audio. And so you start to get to know everyone that you’re working with, because you’re seeing them. You’re hearing them.
[00:14:55.48] And I will tell you that even though it’s only a two year program, in this method, when I see students on graduation day, I recognize them, even though I’ve never met them. It’s like you know them. It’s like you had class with them in person. You will not be alone. And you will be interacting with them. And some of our students have actually found that it was really helpful to create Facebook pages. And they have great networks now that they’ve graduated. So you will still get that student networking experience. It’s just in a slightly different way.
[00:15:27.43] So what type of students do we typically have? It’s a really broad group. We obviously have a lot of clinicians, in the broadest sense of the word– so nurse practitioners, PAs, PTs, OTs, MDs, DOs. We’ve got all sorts of clinicians, many of whom have been in practice for as much as 30 years, which is great, because you’re getting to know their experience and hearing things that they’ve struggled with. And you really learn from each other in that process.
[00:15:56.37] But then, we also have people who are not clinicians, people who either are or aspiring to be health coaches, or we’ve had RDs, many RDs, or people who would like to go into the nutrition field. We’ve had a yoga instructors, many physical trainers. What other types of students? The world is your oyster with this program, because you can apply it to almost anything. You can go and get a medical degree. We’ve had some premed students. You can go and get a PhD and do research on integrative medicine, which I will tell you is very needed.
[00:16:32.20] So there’s so many things you can do with this degree. Some of it, obviously, depends on what you came in with. If you had an MD, that changes the outcome than if you don’t. But maybe after you did this program, you decide, I do want to get MD. And that’s great. And we will support you. And I’ve written several letters of recommendation for that. And I think all of our students who apply to med school at this point have been admitted.
[00:16:55.93] JUSTIN RILEY: As far as the admissions process goes, what we require is a complete admissions application. This consists of a current resume or cover letter, two professional letters of recommendation, which must be signed and on letterhead, and actually wet signed. We will assist you in obtaining your official transcript. This is something that we incur the charges for.
[00:17:15.41] So we’ll take that burden off of you, if your school does allow third party requests. So we’ll try to make things a little easy for you in the admissions process. And lastly, we do– we will need a personal statement as well as an application fee. So in order to qualify for the program, you do need to have three credit hours in biochemistry as well as three credit hours of anatomy or anatomy and physiology.
[00:17:40.14] If you are a medical doctor, we won’t require any unofficial transcripts up front for you. We’ll make it a little easier for you all and just require that you send us a copy of your medical degree. And that’ll take the place of our pre-screening process, which is if you’re not a clinician or a medical doctor, we do want to verify your eligibility for the program to ensure you do have those three credit hours in biochemistry and anatomy or anatomy and physiology.
[00:18:08.31] Your online admission advisor will be happy to talk to you in a little more detail regarding that. But they will essentially serve as your advocate throughout the process, making sure that you have all the required documentation and that it does meet the expectation and standards of admissions committee.
[00:18:26.16] We do require a minimum GPA of a 3.0. But if you do fall a little bit below that, we do have you complete what’s called a GPA addendum, really explaining the circumstances around your GPA and how you’re going to be successful in the program moving forward. Anything you want to add, Dr. Frame, to those admissions requirements and anything you want students to know?
[00:18:47.08] LEIGH FRAME: Well, you did a fantastic job with that. I think the one thing I would point out is the personal statement is so important to me, because I want to know why do you want to do integrative medicine? What’s calling you to this? What’s your experience been up to this point? And how do you think this is going to change your life? Your passion is really what gets me excited. So show me that, and that will definitely help you be successful.
[00:19:12.94] The other thing too is we have all these requirements in part to protect you. We want to make sure that when you get into this program, you’ll be successful. So I hope that you will keep that in mind as we’re working through this process and will be patient with us. There’s a bit of a process. But like Justin was saying, you have an advocate working for you. And we try and keep it as easy as possible for you. But there are hurdles that we will have to go through. And we do this for your own good. So please keep that in mind.
[00:19:41.97] JUSTIN RILEY: Yes. It’s all about ensuring that the educational environment is at an optimal level. So we do want to make sure that we’re finding qualified candidates out there to really make the educational environment that much conducive to learning. So definitely appreciate you understanding there.
[00:19:57.16] And regarding next steps, this is our admissions contact information. It’s going to basically detail you when and how to get in contact with us. We do have a staff member in the office every Saturday between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern, as well as between 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday, and Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. So we do take pride in assisting students through the admissions process.
[00:20:20.56] Again, we’re here to help you, give you the best chance of admissibility. We’re also here to address any concerns or any anxieties you may have with taking courses online. So don’t feel afraid to ask us any questions. Our job is to guide and assist you and making this a smooth process for you.
[00:20:40.36] So again, thank you so much for viewing this presentation. We’re glad to take time of our day to assist you and in making this a smooth process again. And again, here’s our contact information. Feel free to reach out to us to get you started on– in our upcoming session.
In as few as 30 months, graduate from this 100% online program accredited by the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM). Plus, consider an optional concentration in Nutrition to prepare you to sit for the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) exam from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists℠ (BCNS℠)
Accreditation and Rankings
- Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- #62 Best National University*
* The U.S. News & World Report – 2023 Rankings
- Generate whole-person, patient-centered care plans using the integrative medicine core competencies and evidence-based reports from advanced techniques and methods (genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics).
- Evaluate business principles in the context of integrative medicine practice.
- Incorporate nutrition and metabolism fundamentals into patient-care plans.
- Apply clinical research practices to evidence-based integrative medicine patterns of care.
Choose the Program That’s Right for You
The online MSHS in Integrative Medicine is accredited by the ABOIM. Choose the track that best fits your academic and professional experiences and current goals.
Master of Science in Integrative Medicine
Take part in a scientifically-backed course of study that shows you how to create successful multidisciplinary treatment plans that help your patients achieve and maintain optional wellness.
Graduate Certificate in Integrative Medicine
Learn how you can apply INTM competencies, whole-person care, and principles of nutrition and metabolism to your practice in just 18 months. Credits can be transferred into the MSHS in Integrative Medicine online degree. Learn More.
Master of Science in Integrative Medicine + Nutrition Concentration
Study the integrative medicine approach to health care with an emphasis on the role of diet and nutrition, so you can empower patients to avoid or manage chronic diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Graduates of the MSHS INTM with a focus in Nutrition who are Registered Dietitians (RD) are eligible to sit for the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) exam immediately after graduating and be recognized by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.
MSHS in Integrative Medicine + Fellowship
GW designed this academic track for licensed physicians seeking to elevate the level of care they provide. The Fellowship has a 2 week in-person component, which is tailored to fit the student by our Fellowship Director, Andrew Heyman.
To be accepted to this program, you must have:
- Completed application
- 3.0 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
- A bachelor’s degree
- Personal statement
- Two letters of recommendation
The MSHS in Integrative Medicine program at GW consists of 36 credit hours. Please find the cost per credit hour and total estimated program costs here.
Note: Tuition rates are subject to change and additional fees may vary by program. Please call at (844) 386-7323 for more information.Get Tuition Details
Meet the Program Director
Leigh Frame, PhD, MHS
Director, Integrative Medicine
Director Frame earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with Distinction in the Major from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. She is a double graduate of the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., where she earned a Master of Health Science in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in International Health: Human Nutrition.
Frame brings nutrition and immunity together through clinical/translational research. She is especially interested in the role of vitamin D as an immune-modulatory hormone. Frame’s research interests include the potential role of the microbiome and nutrition in health, the consequences of malnutrition in obesity, research ethics, and social media.
Frame has used her wide-ranging experience in biomedical research (from wet bench to clinical research) to oversee research programs, including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP). She has extensive experience in the design of studies of all sizes and phases of research including secure, accurate data collection and data safety and management.
Along with strengthening and cultivating the footprint of evidence-based Integrative Medicine at GW, Frame is broadening the foundation used to prepare students for professional certifications, with an emphasis on expanding nutrition education.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you explore an online program at the George Washington University, our dedicated staff is here to support you. If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call 844-386-7323.Visit our FAQ page
* Eligible physicians only: Students holding a valid and unrestricted license(s) to practice medicine in the United States, U.S. territories, or Canada.