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Integrative Med facility opens

Duke Integrative Medicine officially opened its $12-million home on the University's Center for Living campus Thursday, with a night of complimentary food, drinks and massages.

The new facility will combine medical techniques such as acupuncture, hypnosis and massage therapy with more traditional medical practices to treat the "mind, body and soul" of a patient, said Tracey Gaudet, the facility's director.

The building was funded entirely by the foundation of Christy and John Mack, Trinity '68, and opens to the public in January, said Linda Smith, the center's director of programs and operations.

"This is really treating the whole patient and not treating diseases as cells and molecules," said Dr. Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System. "I hope integrative medicine becomes part of the standard of care that makes Duke health system such a great place."

Duke IM will influence the entire health system, including the School of Medicine, he added.

Although Duke IM has existed since 2000, with the new building it aims to treat a wider variety of patients, Gaudet said, including patients with chronic illnesses, those who have cancer or heart disease and patients simply interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"There isn't a patient we don't see," she said.

Christy Mack, whose husband is a member of the Board of Trustees, as well as CEO of investment bank Morgan Stanley, said she hopes the building is instrumental in incorporating integrative medicine into the traditional healthcare model.

Commitment from Duke's top leaders in both the health system and the University is key to realizing this goal, Mack added.

"Integrative medicine is the soul of medicine and that's Duke's promise-to deliver that soul to us," she said. "It's for everyone-all socioeconomic levels, races, creeds, healthy people-everybody."

At the opening, President Richard Brodhead said the commitment to integrative medicine is a unique model that, if effective, has the potential to influence everyone.

"The thing that makes the medical center special is not only the high quality of care it provides but also how it is exploring innovative models of care," he added. "Duke has had real leadership positions on both sides of that equation. This kind of thing is very at home at Duke-it corresponds to the ambitious vision of Duke University."

Mack, who has been involved in the planning of the building since it began, said she took great care in picking out decorations and furniture that would be inviting and environmentally friendly.

"There's a lot of intention," Mack said, noting that even the tissue box holders in patient rooms are made from aromatherapy materials.

Integrative medicine was started by dissatisfied doctors and patients who were unhappy with the impersonal nature of healthcare, Mack said.

Smith added that great care was taken by Duda/Paine Architects to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for patients-from decorating the building in the colors of the four seasons to the center's integration into the surrounding Duke forest to the abundance of circular, glass-enclosed spaces.

"All patient areas are made to feel safe, almost like a spa experience," said Smith, who called the center the first of its kind in the country. "When people walk in it, they feel a deep connection with themselves, with nature and with healing."

The building's feng shui-inspired layout also hosts several meditation rooms, a fitness room, library, nutritional center and courtyards complete with running fountains and a labyrinth for walking meditations.

"We're very committed to take what we are doing out into the health system," Smith said. "We're also continuing to study how we can bring this to the student body."

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