Dr. Darshan Mehta started his career in integrative medicine as a research fellow at the Osher Clinical Center from 2005-2008. Since then, he has continuously increased his involvement in shaping integrative medicine educational experience across Harvard Medical School and its teaching affiliates. Read his personal and professional insights about the promise of integrative medicine in this interview by Osher Research Assistant, Esme Goldfinger.
Q: What, in your opinion, is the promise of integrative medicine?
DM: I see the promise of integrative medicine as an embodiment of a more inclusive model of care. In integrative medicine, there is a level of sophistication and ease in the communication and care delivery between provider and patient that everyone aspires to have. Moreover, in its best form, integrative medicine respects and recognizes the limitations of regimented care. In my mind, this is what leads to truly compassionate care. Because of this connection, I like to think of integrative medicine as both high tech and high touch.
Q: What makes you gravitate towards integrative medicine?
DM: The community. I feel that in this community of integrative medicine professionals, I am in my element. I can manifest my best self.
Q: What is your role in this community?
DM: My role here is very fun but complex. I started at Harvard Medical School (HMS) as a research fellow in the Osher Center. Initially, my research focused on dietary supplements and their effects on osteoarthritis. While this process was tremendous informative in my professional growth, I did not ultimately pursue research. Today, I wear five hats and they are as follows:
- Medical Director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH): I oversee a team of multidisciplinary practitioners and professionals practicing mind body medicine.
- Education Director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at BWH and HMS: I seek to build an education portfolio for students/trainees/faculty across the learning. This includes working to make IM Grand Rounds and all of our CME courses happen, as well as where I lead the wellbeing curriculum required of all 1st year students.
- MGH Co-Site Director for the Practice of Medicine Curriculum: This is the largest course for first year medical students to learn interview and communication skills as well as a litany of other hands-on foundational diagnosis and reasoning skills. I help oversee all the components for all students who are assigned to MGH.
- Consultant to the Home Base Program at MGH: I serve as the internal and integrative medicine consultant to this amazing program that serves veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury.
- Director of the Office for Well-Being in the Center for Faculty Development at MGH: I lead this new office, which aims to improve the well-being of faculty, postdocs & graduate students across the career span through initiatives designed to increase resilience and create a positive work culture. Initiatives include leading meditations and “Fun Friday” activities to further the well-being of MGB faculty. In addition, we have created well-being grants and grand rounds opportunities on well-being.
Q: What do you hope to be the impact of your efforts?
DM: I hope to ultimately change culture, and the way we define and deliver health. I want to shift the focus from disease management to health promotion. I hope we can provide healthcare providers with tools to better address the needs of their patients while simultaneously maintaining their own positive well-being. Doing this work has been, and continues to be source of tremendous personal joy. I feel both privileged and humbled to be able to do this meaningful work.