Cover: Qualitative Assessment CIH Institutions' Engagement With Underserved Communities to Enhance Healthcare Access and Utilization

Qualitative Assessment CIH Institutions' Engagement With Underserved Communities to Enhance Healthcare Access and Utilization

Published in: Global Advances in Integrative Medicine and Health, Volume 13 (January-December 2024)

Posted on Apr 12, 2024

by Nipher Malika, Patricia M. Herman, Margaret D. Whitley, Ian D. Coulter, Michele J. Maiers, Margaret A. Chesney, Rhianna C. Rogers


In North America, there is a notable underutilization of complementary and integrative health approaches (CIH) among non-White and marginalized communities.


This study sought to understand how CIH educational instutitions are proactively working to redress this disparity in access and utilization among these communities.


We conducted interviews with 26 key informants, including presidents, clinicians, and research deans across 13 CIH educational institutions across the US and Canada. Thematic analysis included deductive codes based on the interview guide during interview scripts review.


Six themes were identified: (1) CIH institutions often had a long and varied history of community engaged care through partnerships to increase access and utilization; (2) CIH institutions' long-standing community outreach had been intentionally designed; (3) CIH institutions provided an array of services to a wide range of demographics and communities; (4) addressing healthcare access and utilization through community partnerships had a strong positive impact; (5) funding, staffing and COVID-19 were significant challenges that impeded efforts to increase CIH access through community engaged work; (6) identified gaps in community partnerships and services to increase access and utilization were recognized.


These findings underscore significant efforts made to enhance healthcare access and utilization among marginalized, underserved, and racial and ethnic communities. However, barriers such as funding constraints, resource allocation, and the need for proper measurement and accountability hinder proactive initiatives aimed at redressing disparities in CIH utilization within these communities.

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