(Calgary, Feb. 7, 2005) ... Complementary and alternative health took a major step forward in Canada today with the launch of two national firsts to improve education and information on the subject.

The Integrative Health Institute (IHI), a first-in-Canada three-year pilot project to facilitate knowledge, education and understanding of integrative health for the public and health care practitioners, announced today that two of its key pillars — education and information — will be taken over and grown by Mount Royal College and the Calgary Health Region.
The Integrative Health Institute at Mount Royal is IHI's new home and is Canada's first post-secondary institute dedicated to advancing complementary and alternative health education, practice and research.
And, the Calgary Health Region is taking the ground-breaking work developed by the IHI in providing evidence-based information about complementary and alternative health and adding it to Health Link, the Region's highly successful 24-hour health advice and information line.
In making the announcement today, IHI Board Chair Patricia Trottier said: "The Integrative Health Institute pilot project was a learning centre dedicated to helping people optimize their wellness by providing scientifically-based information, education
and research on how best to integrate complementary and alternative health options into their existing health regimes and practices.
"Now that the three-year pilot has successfully concluded, our legacy is to embed our learnings within a major post-secondary institution and the public health care sector," she said. "Mount Royal College and the Calgary Health Region were supporters of the pilot project from day one. They will grow the programs and workshops we developed, use our evidence-based information and research findings, as well as our methods and processes, to take the work of the pilot project to the next level."

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In addition, IHI's valuable collection of 1,800 books, newsletters, tapes, videos and databases (Canada's first and most comprehensive library for consumers seeking information about complementary and alternative health) has been donated to the Marigold Library System, making these resources accessible to all Albertans.
"Consumer interest and demand for evidence-based information about complementary and alternative health care has exploded in recent years," said Trottier. "Research shows that 60 to 70 percent of Canadians seek out complementary and alternative health care options every year. People are looking for experts; those capable of disseminating the evidence-based benefits of integrative health.
"These initiatives will help meet those needs. They fully dovetail with the Government of
Alberta's 'third way' intended approach toward wellness and health care," said Trottier.
The Integrative Health Institute at Mount Royal (MR) is being established in the Faculty of Health and Community Studies with initial funding of $600,000 from the IHI pilot project, EnCana Corporation and private donors.
"The IHI at MR reflects Mount Royal's leadership and responsibility to identify new areas of study and collaborative research — like integrative health — and develop a national presence in the area," said Brenda Hendrickson, Dean.
"We're now collaborating with the Calgary Health Region, the University of Calgary and others to help health care consumers understand the many options they have. We'll provide basic and advanced education to current and future practitioners in a wide range of disciplines, giving them knowledge about integrative health that will heighten their
level of service," she said. "Doing so, we'll build a learning organization that expands complementary and alternative health education, research and practice in the community at large. We're committed to devoting the energy and resources to something that Albertans and professionals clearly need."
The Calgary Health Region is pleased that its collaboration with IHI means that Canada's first evidence-based consumer information resource will be incorporated into Health Link, the Region's existing health advice and information line. IHI's medical librarian has been seconded to the Region to identify evidence-based information linkages that can be made available to consumers through Health Link.

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"We know that people are interested in what they can do for themselves and that they have looked to Health Link for reliable, trustworthy resources," says Joanne Stalinski, Calgary Health Region Senior Vice President for Wellness. "Because we also know that health consumers and health practitioners have many questions about evidence-based information in the areas of complementary and alternative medicine, the Region sees Health Link as a natural point for directing the consumer to information sources and,
over time, building recommendations into our Health Link advice," she said.
Reflecting on EnCana's support as a founding sponsor of the pilot project as well as the new Integrative Health Institute at Mount Royal, Community Investment Manager Mary Ann Steen said her company has a strong commitment to life balance and wellness. "We believe promoting good health is a vital role for a corporate citizen in today's
society. As part of our approach to community investment, individual initiatives on health and wellness can only be achieved if people have quality information, be it within
EnCana or the wider community."

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Media contacts:

Silvana Saccomani, Media Relations, Mount Royal College ? ssaccomani@mtroyal.ca
Cel. (403) 860-4415 ? Tel. (403) 440-6710
Rosemarie Enslin, Media Relations, Integrative Health Institute ? enslin@enslinpr.com
Cel. (403) 630-8421 ? Tel. (403) 245-8321

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