As the administrative director of the Center for Complementary Medicine at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, I was interested in your recent article "Consumers opening minds, wallets to alternative care" (Aug. 11, p. 64) and the mention of our center. Since we began planning the center six months ago, I have been amazed at how far-reaching interest in it has become. We have been contacted by individuals throughout the U.S. who have heard we are beginning this "controversial" center at Shadyside.
My position at Shadyside has been associate vice president with responsibility for many departments-most of which fall under surgical services. Although it seems strange to some that an administrator, particularly one who deals with surgeons, would create a Center for Complementary Medicine, I see such medical care not as an alternative to traditional medicine but as a complement to what allopathic physicians do day in and day out.
To this end our center has been set up so it is run by a steering committee, 70% of whose members are M.D.s; an M.D. is the medical director; and a physician referral is needed for all patients. I would like to see the modalities we are currently offering become an option for physicians, just as physical therapy, for example, would be.
So far the center has met its modest goals, and it is being funded by local foundations.