Victoria Maizes, MD, executive director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, received the 2023 Bravewell Distinguished Service Award from the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. The award is the academic consortium’s highest honor and recognizes a leader who has made a significant impact on the history and mission of the organization.
Dr. Maizes, who also is the Andrew Weil Endowed Chair in Integrative Medicine, said receiving the award is a great honor. “It is especially meaningful to be recognized by my colleagues for my contributions to the field of integrative medicine,” she said.
The Academic Consortium describes integrative medicine and health as focusing on the whole person and “the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, making use of all evidence-based therapeutic and lifestyle care approaches, health care professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”
Integrative medicine can offer unique solutions to conventional health care systems. “It prioritizes less costly and less invasive interventions. It helps people learn lifestyle approaches and builds skills to restore their health,” Dr. Maizes said.
“Dr. Victoria Maizes has been a visionary pioneer for three decades,” said Andrew Weil, MD, founding director of the Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, which also functions as the Division of Integrative Medicine within the Department of Medicine. “She grew the program in integrative medicine into a Center of Excellence at the College of Medicine – Tucson that is now the world leader in education in this rapidly developing field. It has been a privilege to partner with her as we have worked to bring integrative medicine into the mainstream.”
Dr. Maizes holds additional appointments as a professor of medicine and a clinical associate professor of family and community medicine at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, as well as a professor of public health at the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
“I have always had a public health orientation, but what I meant by public health is a bit different than the typical focus,” she said. “I am passionate about helping people lead healthier lives. This led me to study nutrition, mind-body and centering practices, the best form of exercise for various conditions, when supplements are useful, and when to refer for acupuncture or Ayurveda or other healing modalities.”
Dr. Maizes, who has been the center’s executive director for nearly 25 years, will be stepping down from her role to serve as part-time executive director emeritus once a replacement is found. “I am struck by the timing of the Bravewell award,” she said. “It feels like grace to be recognized as I am stepping down from my role as executive director.”
The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health was founded in 1999 by eight academic health centers, including the University of Arizona. It represents thousands of scientists, educators, clinicians and other health professionals who share an interest in the field of integrative medicine and health. The academic consortium’s mission is to “advance integrative medicine and health through academic institutions and health systems.”