“We didn’t teach them about self care, we put them in an environment where they could learn to take care of themselves.”

-- Former Student
EDCAM Director

History of LEAPS

LEAPS evolved from the former AMSA Foundation- and NIH grant-sponsored Educational Development in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (EDCAM) Leadership Training Program (LTP) held at the Omega Institute, beginning in 2003. The Leadership Training Program (LTP) of EDCAM was a weeklong summer program designed to foster the development of future leaders of the CAM/Integrative Medicine movement. Through a rigorous application process, 20 of the most aspiring medical student leaders from across the country gathered for an intense program each summer filled with inspiring workshops, leadership skill enhancement, and an intentional focus on self-healing, wellness, and community development. Students returned ready to implement a project to promote integrative medicine at their respective medical schools. The “Integrate Chicago” conference, now in its 9th year, was originally created by 3 EDCAM students who combined forces to deepen the IM education offered through their schools.

To date, more than 200 medical students have enriched their medical education and indeed, careers and lives of their patients, by attending this pivotal training program. Past attendees have said that it helped them to believe in medicine and healing again, and gave them a sense of community and purpose in their medical careers. In 2010, through the collaboration of AMSA, Kripalu, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (formerly known as the Consortium of Academic Health Center for Integrative Medicine), this inspiring program was re-launched as LEAPS.

Thirty (30) medical student leaders from across North America will be selected to participate in this intensive weeklong retreat led by the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health in collaboration with the American Medical Student Association Foundation and the Old Mission San Luis Rey, with the generous support of the Weil Foundation.

Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine brings together the best in Conventional Medicine, Nutrition, Movement and Mind/Body/Spirit Disciplines. It is a relatively new field in medicine, and few experienced physicians are trained in it. More are needed. The LEAPS Core Faculty is composed of Integrative Medicine physicians and educators with long associations in major American academic health centers, who value the importance of a patient's narrative and evidence-based research in understanding health and disease.

Goals and Learning Objectives

The overall goals of the LEAPS into IM program is to enhance medical student education in evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), prepare participants to become student leaders for IM/CAM education at their schools, and support students’ personal and professional development.

By participating in LEAPS into IM:

  • Students will become familiar with the various definitions of IM and trajectories for following an Integrative Medicine career path.
  • Students will gain experience in modalities and approaches (e.g. meditation, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition, and herbal medicine) to health and healing not typically taught in conventional medicine schools.
  • Students will explore the evidence base for CAM modalities and approaches to which they are exposed.
  • Students will recognize their need for self-care and learn practices to optimize their personal self-awareness and overall health.
  • Students will develop and refine leadership skills (e.g. public speaking, project management), that can assist them in developing and implementing an individual Integrative Medicine project at their own schools with a faculty mentor.
  • Students will build relationships with LEAPs faculty and peers from across the nation who will support and inspire them.
  • Students will experience a lasting sense of community and well-being.

Participant Expectations

  • Participation in this program will require full attention. Students will be required to commit to the entire duration of the program and stay in the housing provided
  • Students will be required to plan and execute an educational project upon returning to their medical school with the support from a faculty mentor at their home institution, LEAPS Core Faculty and a $200.00 mini-grant from AMSA
  • Involvement with this leadership program necessitates a commitment to continued communication with Core faculty including participation in research surveys and online exchange of project progress and professional development

Program Fees

Applicants who are selected to participate will be expected to pay tuition fee based on the following fee schedule:

  • Application Deadline: April 15, 2015
  • Tuition: $500 mail by April 30, 2015
  • Notification of Acceptance: Mid-May

Tuition includes three daily meals from Sunday dinner through Friday lunch as well as 5 nights of accommodations at the the Old Mission San Luis Rey. Please be aware that AMSA and the Consortium has worked hard to provide participants with a unique, enjoyable, and educational experience while keeping costs at a minimum. Participants will be responsible for all other meals and travel expenses, including airfare and/or ground transportation.