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From the Townsend Letter
January 2009

Townsend Letter Receives
Legacy Media Award

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Jonathan Collin and Suzanne SomersIn October 2008, at the Las Vegas meeting of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), the Townsend Letter was honored for 25 years of publication. The Legacy Media Award, conferred by ACAM president Jeanne Drisco, MD, was accepted by Townsend Letter publisher and editor-in-chief Jonathan Collin, MD, with his wife, Deborah, daughter, Affinity, and son, Sam, joining him at the podium. The award recognized the contribution of the Townsend Letter in reporting on and reviewing the field of alternative and integrative medicine.

Dr. Collin's award speech thanked Townsend Letter columnists and medical editor Alan Gaby, MD, who have faithfully written for 300 issues of the Townsend Letter. Dr. Collin noted that while great strides have been made in alternative medicine, conventional medicine and mainstream media still deride many alternative medicine approaches. Dr. Collin also pointed out that while integrative medicine clinics recognize and offer patients access to alternative therapies, local community clinics and hospitals, as well as academic institutions, do not accept alternative medicine on a quid pro quo basis. Only the occasional herb or vitamin supplement is accepted, and broad inclusive protocols such as chelation for atherosclerosis or herbal therapies for cancer remain distrusted.

In his address, Dr. Collin also mentioned his concern that the future of alternative and integrative medicine might depend on creating cooperation between the different schools of natural healing, which sometime act in conflict. Founded by MDs and DOs to bring together doctors using chelation and nutritional medicine, ACAM is now celebrating its 35th anniversary. Today, ACAM is an international body with membership extended to NDs and other health professionals. Dr. Collin congratulated ACAM for this step in integrating natural medicine providers.

At a special fundraising dinner for the ACAM foundation, Suzanne Somers, actress and author of numerous books on bio-identical hormone treatment, was presented with the Legacy Individual Award. Somers has previously attended ACAM meetings to champion the need for conventional medicine to recognize the need for treating age-related hormone deficiency with natural hormone therapies. Although many MDs and other health professionals have recognized the importance of such hormone supplementation in restoring health, Somers has been criticized for championing the use of bio-identical hormones instead of pharmaceutical treatment. Somers' award coincided with the publication of her latest book, Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness. While her previous books examined health strategies that Somers favored, Breakthrough is based on the cutting-edge strategies of individual doctors Somers interviewed. Her interview of Jonathan Wright, MD, (who was in attendance at the celebration dinner) is eye-opening and a testimony to Somers' ability to get in a few words about best-treatment approaches. More than anything else, Somers' speech was an inspiring thank you to ACAM members, one that should encourage doctors to continue practicing holistically, despite the resistance of the critics.

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