Cover: Barriers to the Engagement of Complementary and Integrative Health Providers in Public Health Responses to COVID-19

Barriers to the Engagement of Complementary and Integrative Health Providers in Public Health Responses to COVID-19

Recommendations From a Multidisciplinary Expert Panel

Published in: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2023.04.009

Posted on Jun 22, 2023

by Margaret D. Whitley, Ian D. Coulter, Raheleh Khorsan, Patricia M. Herman


The purpose of this project was to explore barriers to the involvement of complementary and integrative health (CIH) providers in the public health response to COVID-19 and potential solutions for future involvement in public health crises.


An expert panel of 10 people, which included doctors of chiropractic, naturopathic doctors, public health practitioners, and researchers from the United States, was convened for a day-long online panel discussion. Facilitators asked panelists how CIH practitioners could contribute and be mobilized. We summarized themes and recommendations from the discussion.


Despite their skills and resources, few CIH providers participated in public health efforts like testing and contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists described that CIH professionals may not have participated in those efforts due to the CIH providers possibly not having sufficient public health training and limited contact with public health professionals, as well as policy and financial challenges during the pandemic. Panelists proposed solutions to these barriers, including more public health training, stronger formal relationships between CIH and public health organizations, and improved financial support for both CIH care and public health efforts.


Through an expert panel discussion, we identified barriers that hindered the involvement of CIH providers in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During future pandemics in the United States, public health planners should recognize CIH providers as part of the existing labor resource, with clinical expertise and community-level connections that can be called upon in a crisis. During future events, CIH professional leaders should be more proactive in seeking out a supportive role and sharing their knowledge, skills, and expertise.

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