The American Academy of Functional Medicine was founded in 2009. However, the idea of a society that would embrace practitioners of Functional Medicine has existed among many of the members that comprise the AAFM for decades. The neo-movement of Functional Medicine began in the mid-1980s, however, the concept of Functional Medicine extends to the early 1900s. Since the emergence of Functional Medicine in the mid-1980s, the number of practitioners practicing Functional Medicine has steadily climbed. With its unique set of principles and philosophy, Functional Medicine will continue to thrive in the future.
Functional Medicine as we know it today emerged during a period when many conventional practitioners of different schools of thought in healthcare: Allopathic, Dental, Chiropractic, Osteopathic, Podiatric, were questioning the understanding and approaches of conventional medicine in seeking answers to the chronic health problems plaguing society.
The emergence of Functional Medicine occurred during the mid-1980s. This occurred during the period when Preventive Medicine was active from the late 1970s through the 1980s. The Alternative and Complimentary Medicine Movement also occurred during the mid-1980s. Prior to the latter movement, the United States had experienced the introduction of Environmental Medicine, Orthomolecular Medicine, Holistic Medicine, and Alternative Medicine; the latter eventually transforming from Alternative Medicine to Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. Eventually Alternative and Complimentary Medicine gave rise to Integrative Medicine in the 1990s.
Each of these movements represented a moderately different manifestation than the one preceding it, however with different emphases. Practitioners of different professional persuasions: D.M.D.s, D.C.s, D.O.s, D.P.M.s, and M.D.s, became a part of these movements and contributed to them. As a result, they offered a different paradigm, one truly interested in health and not just in the management of disease. Functional Medicine was truly the culmination of these efforts, as it sought to determine the underlying causative factors of the disease state and thereafter restoring balance, physically, spiritually, and emotionally to the affected individual.
Through its organizational structure, the AAFM offers numerous mechanisms to support its members and the discipline. Foremost, the organization provides a venue through which practitioners of Functional Medicine can meet and communicate to advance the principles and tenets of Functional Medicine. This is accomplished through various means.
First, the organization offers this website as the means that allows practitioners of Functional Medicine to maintain an awareness of the AAFM’s agenda and priorities that it deems important. This website allows the practitioners to have a visible presence and voice to articulate their ideas. In addition, it is a resource for the public to be informed on matters pertaining Functional Medicine.
Second, we offer an opportunity where practitioners of Functional Medicine: Fellows, Diplomates, Certificants, non-certificated general members, physicians and non-physicians alike, can gather for an annual conference. The conference allows for the presentation of research, scientific articles, seminars, formal and informal discussion groups, exhibits, etc.
Third, the organization also offers a quarterly newsletter that makes our members aware of current AAFM activities and recent developments in the discipline of Functional Medicine. Our members are encouraged to contribute newsworthy content to the newsletter and to be active in its functions.
Fourth, the organization is in the process of creating a research institute that will carry forth investigations in the area of Functional Medicine. It will offer its results to its practicing members so as to enhance their clinical practices.
Fifth, it will introduce a journal that will be an instrument of the organization, presenting new developments and research articles in Functional Medicine.
Sixth, the AAFM also collaborates with other organizations that have similar agendas to improve healthcare and better the state of health of humanity.
Seventh, the organization conducts post-graduate educational programs that will lead to fellowship status in order to avail its diplomate members the highest professional distinction that it can offer in the discipline of Functional Medicine: Fellow of the American Academy of Functional Medicine.
Where possible, the organization will create regional chapters for its members to convene to discuss and plan activities that will promote the advancement of the organization and Functional Medicine.
There other aspects and benefits offered by the AAFM. We welcome you to join us in our pursuit to advance and promote Functional Medicine to other healthcare practitioners and to the public at large.