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Corporate Health Improvement Program (CHIP)

CHIP Press Release

University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine Launches
Corporate Health Improvement Program (CHIP)

18 January 05

From: Janet Stark: AHSC Office of Public Affairs (520) 626-7551

Contact: Meaghan Corona, CHIP Administrator: (520) 349-0410

The Corporate Health Improvement Program (CHIP) of the University of Arizona School of Medicine is launching a new research program on January 19-20, 2005 to develop and evaluate innovative medical, health promotion and disease management programs in the workplace with a focus on clinical and cost outcomes.

This event will initiate the third generation of CHIP at the University of Arizona and is scheduled to kick off Wednesday evening, January 19, with a dinner hosted by Canyon Ranch Health Resort. Dr. Gary Frost, Canyon Ranch’s executive vice president will offer a personal VIP tour of the resort. On Thursday, January 20, an all day meeting on campus will feature speakers from the private sector and the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM). Speakers include Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier clinical professor of medicine, founder and director of CHIP; Dr Andrew Weil, clinical professor of medicine, founder and director of AzCIM, and co-director of CHIP; and Dr. Victoria Maizes, associate professor of medicine andexecutive director of AzCIM. The speakers representing the corporate community are Dr. Ron Z. Goetzel, of Thomson-Medstat and Cornell University, and Dr. Cathy Baase, global medical director for Dow Chemical.

CHIP represents a unique collaboration between the University of Arizona School of Medicine and 15 major corporations. Developed originally in 1984 by Dr. Pelletier at the University of California School of Medicine (UCSF), and from 1990-2001, at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the program is a response to the need for creative solutions to an unchecked rise in medical-benefits costs incurred by today’s USA businesses.

According to Dr Pelletier’s research, “Excessive medical costs have added a disproportionate share to the cost of every product and service during the last two decades.” Additionally,  “Since as much as 52 percent of the United States’ annual medical budget of $1.5 trillion (2004) is in the hands of private corporations, there is a major movement under way to determine the relative portion to be expended on true preventative health care, rather than exclusively on disease treatment.”

In 1984, Dr. Pelletier founded CHIP at UCSF School of Medicine as a focused, select, and evolving research program to address specific requests by member companies to conduct research projects in areas of interest to their employees. Initial projects ranged from the first mobile mammography-screening project at Levi-Strauss to a five-year evaluation of an innovative preferred-provider organization (PPO) at Southwestern Bell Corporation in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson. In 1990, Dr Pelletier transferred the program to the Stanford University School of Medicine as the Stanford Corporate Health Program. Owing to the growing interest in and success of complementary and alternative therapies, the program has now moved to the University of Arizona School of Medicine of Medicine. CHIP expects to have a major, practical impact on the redesign of medical benefits and employee health programs of its corporate members.

Participating corporations develop projects with the University over a three-to-five-year period. The timeline includes identifying areas of mutual interest; developing, implementing and evaluating mutually agreed upon programs in health promotion within the companies; and conducting full-scale, longitudinal studies.

Results of the program are used to determine which health-promotion and disease-management intervention programs can work most effectively in the managed care, business environment and how such programs can be developed and evaluated in a practical, cost-effective manner. Finally, the results are disseminated to business and other national and international organizations. Once initiated, such programs are self-sustaining as well as a source of financial support for an ongoing program of research and evaluation to improve the delivery and efficacy of medical, health-promotion and disease-management programs.

Among areas of research and development in the program are:

  • Integrative medicine interventions for back pain and general pain syndromes
  • Disease management of hypertension and coronary heart disease
  • Computer and/or telephone health-delivery systems
  • Early cancer screening, especially mammography for women
  • Smoking cessation and policy development
  • Health-promotion programs to reach minorities, dependents and retirees
  • Alcohol and substance-abuse programs
  • Dietary and nutritional counseling
  • Physical-fitness and back-saver programs
  • Applications of meditation and relaxation for stress management
  • Reaching small and/or remote work sites

Corporations participating in the third generation of the current CHIP program include American Specialty Health, Kimberly-Clark, Canyon Ranch Resorts, Click Automotive Group, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor Company, General Mills, IBM, Mercer, NASA, National Grid (NGT of London), Nestle, Prudential, Thomson-Medstat and Scottsdale Hospital, with formal research links and representatives from the University of Texas Medical Center, Galveston, , the National Business Group on Health, Partnership for Prevention, and WELCOA. Among the members of the CHIP National Advisory Board are Professor Alain Enthoven of the Stanford Business School, Dr. James Fries of the Stanford Medical School, Professor Regina Herzlinger of the Harvard Business School and Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding of the UCLA School of Public Health.

For more information, please contact Ms. Meaghan Corona, CHIP Administrator at (520) 349-0410.

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