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Center Staff & Advisory Board

Woodson C. Merrell, MD Executive Director

Center for Health and Healing
245 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Specialty: Integrative Internal Medicine
Clinical Interests: Acupuncture, mind-body therapies, acupuncture, botanical therapies, nutrition and nutraceuticals, homeopathy and indigenous healing systems.
Certification: Internal Medicine
Academic Appointments: Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; visiting assistant professor of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Woodson C. Merrell, MD, Sc.D.(hc) is the Chairman of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center and the Executive Director of the Center for Health and Healing (CHH) in New York City. This Center is part of Beth Israel Medical Center (BIMC) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The facility, the nation's largest and most comprehensive primary care-based academic integrative medical center, is dedicated to providing the highest quality clinical care, education, and research for both consumers and medical professionals, combining the best of evidence-based conventional medicine, complementary/alternative medicine and indigenous medical/wisdom traditions.

CCHH existed as a stand-alone facility within BIMC since 2000. In 2008 it became the outpatient site for BIMC's new Department of Integrative Medicine----the nation's most comprehensive such department. Dr. Merrell was appointed as this department's first Chairman. The department's mission is to transform all hospital care to integrative. Successful collaborations have already begun with the departments of Family Medicine, Surgery, Cancer Services (Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Surgical Oncology), Orthopedics, Pain and Palliative Care, Endocrinology, Obstetrics and Gynecology (including Labor and Delivery), Cardiology, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Surgical Intensive Care, Volunteer Services, Music Therapy, and Healthcare Chaplaincy

Dr. Merrell is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at his alma mater Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he started one of the nation's first courses in integrative medicine for medical students in 1994. He is also visiting assistant professor of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Merrell has had a busy private practice in integrative internal medicine since 1985 in New York City. He is an attending physician in the Departments of Medicine at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Centers. He has expertise and special interests in mind-body therapies (especially yoga, qi gong, and meditation), acupuncture, botanical therapies, nutrition and nutraceuticals, homeopathy, and indigenous healing systems (particularly Tibetan and Chinese Medicine). In 2004 Dr. Merrell was a finalist for the first annual Bravewell Award for leadership in integrative medicine.

At BIMC Dr. Merrell supervises an extensive array of consumer and educational programs at BIMC. He is a member of the working group on curricular reform for integrative medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His department at BIMC has formal GME-approved educational programs in integrative medicine training for residents, fellows and community and faculty attending physicians, as well as a ground-breaking post-graduate fellowship in acupuncture He has served as chairman, scientific director, co-developer, presenter and on the advisory boards for many professional medical conferences including: annual Integrative Healthcare Symposium, Nutritional Medicine; Botanical Medicine; Native American Healing Traditions; Tibetan Medicine; the Business of Integrative Medicine; and Models of Healthcare. He is frequently asked to deliver both community lectures and medical Grand Rounds. CCHH's award-winning website, developed and overseen by Dr. Merrell and CCHH's Director of Informatics Marsha Handel, MLS has over 750,000 hits/month. It also has additional independent websites on integrative approaches to chronic pain, depression, surgical preparation, and digestive dysfunction (IBS-CME).

Dr. Merrell is overseeing numerous research projects at CCHH, including studying the effect of creating an optimal healing environment on cancer outcomes and costs (in partnership with Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation), imagery in low back pain, life-style changes in asthma, yoga in stroke recovery, acupuncture & craniosacral therapy in asthma, and botanicals in arthritis.

Dr. Merrell is committed to public policy and practice standards in integrative medicine, having testified on integrative medicine to both Houses of Congress, as well as New York City and State agencies. He has served as Chairman of New York State's Board of Acupuncture, and since 1995 has been a Board Member of New York State's Office of Professional Medical Conduct as an expert in integrative medicine. Dr. Merrell has served on the Executive, Steering and Policy Committees of the national Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. This is an organization comprising 35% of the nation's medical schools (including Harvard, Duke, Penn, Columbia, UCLA, Michigan, Einstein, Arizona, UCSF, Duke, Maryland, and Georgetown), pledged to transform medical education and physician training with integrative medicine.

Dr. Merrell has lectured extensively to both consumer and professional groups on integrative medicine and the nature of healing and wellness. He has been a consultant to many hospitals, medical centers and medical schools to help increase their integrative approach to healthcare. He is a frequent guest for all major media both regionally and nationally, including CBS Morning Show, CNN, MSNBC, WABC, the View, NPR, WBAI, Sirius, Time, Forbes, Barrons, Leaders, W, Elle, Self, O, Huffington Post, Psychology Today.com, ABC NewsNow.com, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, NY Post, and the NY Daily News. His book "The Source: Unleash Your Natural Energy, Power Up Your Health, and Feel Ten Years Younger", co-authored with his wife, health science writer Kathleen Merrell was published by Free Press/Simon and Schuster in Sept 2008. He has been a contributing author and editor to many consumer and professional books on integrative approaches to health and wellness.

Dr Merrell passionately believes that integrative medicine is the future of medicine, that there is significant evidence-basis for its use right now, and that utilizing this approach while empowering the patient, family and staff and providing compassionate, relationship-centered integrative care is critical for transforming the nation's ailing healthcare system.

Content last modified on Dec 7, 2013