Leadership & Education Program for Students
in Integrative Medicine

2016 Dates Coming Soon!


LEAPS 2015

Location: Old Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, CA

LEAPS1 (1)The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health and the AMSA Foundation are seeking MD/DO students, and for the first time ever in 2015, students from non-MD/DO healing professions with a strong interest in integrative medicine (IM) combined with the desire for leadership roles in IM to participate in the Leadership and Education Program for Students in Integrative Medicine (LEAPS into IM). The program will focus on Integrative Medicine education, leadership skills, and developing IM projects to implement at their own home schools. Once accepted into the program, students are eligible to apply for a $200 grant to fund their projects.

LEAPS2 (1)Selection criteria will be based on completeness of application, good academic standing in an accredited North American MD/DO program, diverse geographic representation of medical schools, and commitment to implementing IM leadership skills and action plans developed at the program. At least half of the students will be accepted from schools affiliated with the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. With research and program development being important components of LEAPS into IM, all applicants are required to identify one or two student peers willing to serve in a control group who, along with the participants, will be asked to complete two or three short surveys each year of their medical training. We plan to provide student controls with a small gift for their participation.

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so submission in a timely manner is rewarded.

 Mission of LEAPS

LEAPS3 (1)The mission of LEAPS into IM is to enhance the leadership skills and knowledge base of future physician leaders in Integrative Medicine. Integrative Medicine is indispensable to meeting one of the greatest challenges faced by the U.S. health care system: that of chronic disease. Chronic disease is bankrupting us, and its cost is not just measured in dollars. Anyone who knows someone with chronic disease has witnessed unintended side effects of conventional medicine treatments. Individuals with chronic disease and others who have interest in prevention are increasingly engaging in alternative, complementary, holistic, spiritual and traditional ways of healing. In LEAPS into IM, we refer to these healing traditions as “Mind/Body/Spirit Disciplines.” They are an important part of an Integrative Medicine approach to health and healing.


There is a narrative error at 3:28 in this video. The speaker should have said Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment instead of Orthopedic Manual Therapy.

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.