About Us

Anthony Back, MD

Dr. Back is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is Director of the Program in Cancer Communication at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). He is a board-certified medical oncologist whose primary research interests are doctor-patient communication and palliative care, and he practices gastrointestinal oncology. Dr. Back was a Faculty Scholar on the Project on Death in America and is a member of the ASCO Communication Task Force. He is the Principal Investigator for the Oncotalk communication skills training program for Medical Oncology fellows (R25 CA 92055), and is an investigator on other NIH-funded observational studies of doctor-patient communication about hope and information (R01 PI J.R. Curtis) and prognosis in hematologic malignancies (R01 P.I. Stephanie Lee).

Leila Kozak, PhD

Leila Kozak is a research psychologist with expertise in complementary and integrative medicine practices in supportive/palliative and end of life care. Initially trained as a molecular biologist and physiologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dr. Kozak holds a doctorate degree in psychology and has completed post-graduate training in Spirituality, Health & Medicine in the US. She has designed and taught courses in mind/body medicine, cross-cultural healing modalities, consciousness-based healing modalities and spirituality in medicine. Dr. Kozak has been involved in NIH funded research since 1995, including research in massage and meditation in end of life, psycho-physiological research in consciousness science and mind/body interactions and research in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is currently involved in developing programs and training materials for health care professionals on the use of integrative care practices in palliative/ end of life care. Dr. Kozak is co-founder and research director for the Integrative Oncology Program at the Asociacion Paliativa/Palliative Care Service, University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine teaching hospital. [Paliativa is an NGO that supports the delivery of palliative care to underserved populations in Argentina.] Dr. Kozak is a research scientist at Bastyr University Research Center and a research consultant at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, Medical Oncology Division.

Leanna J. Standish, ND, PhD, L.Ac., FABNO

Dr. Leanna J. Standish is medical director of the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Clinic in Kenmore WA. She is a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO) and a Senior Physician at Seattle Integrative Medicine in Seattle, WA. She has been a Principal Investigator in NIH funded research grants since 1994 and has also served as grant reviewer for various NIH review sections. She is currently Research Professor at the School of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University, Clinical Professor at the School of Public Health, and Affiliate Research Professor in the School of Medicine's Radiology Department at the University of Washington.

Among many other advisory positions in the field of oncology and naturopathic medicine, Dr. Standish has been appointed as an External Advisory Committee Member of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program since 2001, a Member to the National Cancer Institute Cancer Advisory Panel for Complementary and Alternative Medicine between 1999-2001; an appointed advisory member to Washington State 's Cancer Control Planning Committee since 2003; a Board member of Scientific Counselors for the Gateway for Cancer Research Foundation), and an appointed member of the board of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians 2004-2007. She is a Program Committee member for the Society of Integrative Oncology and is a contributing author for the 'Textbook of Integrated Oncology' published in 2009.

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Our philosophy

It has been said that medicine is as much a science as it is an art. This may be particularly true in Oncology, which demands as much knowledge of the advancements as it does of how to combine different approaches - not only to achieve a cure but also to make the patient as comfortable as possible, decrease the high anxiety produced by the diagnosis and manage the intense side effects of typical oncology treatments.

Integrative oncology is a blooming field that involves using the best of all therapies (western medical approaches as well as complementary medicine approaches) to support the patient's journey through cancer. In most cases, integrative oncology involves offering an array of possible therapies and recommending them. At some institutions, therapies may be offered 'in house.' Most of these scenarios, however, do not include a connection between the oncologist and CAM providers. They still remain two separate entities, knowing of each other but rarely interacting or exchanging notes. For some patients, this has been enough and an acceptable situation. For others, yet, there is a call for a type of integration that goes beyond the referral and even the offering of such therapies under one roof. Such patients expect that oncologists and CAM providers interact with each other and exchange notes. Such integration would provide a safer deliver of care, where possible negative interactions between therapies could be identified before they even happen.

In this context, integration may be more than just adding things. It may require a new vision - a vision in which services are offered in a truly connected manner, where the patient is at the core, and providers actively communicate with each other on regular basis and make joint decisions involving the team and the patient.

Healing is much more than curing. Patient's current interest in CAM as stated by published surveys shows that people want medicine not just to cure but to promote healing. The concept of healing derives from the word 'wholeness' - and if we are to facilitate healing through medicine, then we need to create a collaborative system among western and CAM providers that truly embodies that sense of 'wholeness' that patients are searching for.

We also need to attend to the characteristics of our medical system. It may be that a system that embodies such 'wholeness' may not be feasible to develop at large cancer centers. Perhaps the complexity of current oncology services will demand a different type of facility that could allow for high tech medicine as well as CAM to be delivered together by professionals who are truly working together along with the patient at every step of the journey.

Perhaps 50 years from now there will be no more divisions between western medicine and CAM - just one medicine, a medicine that not only cures but also promotes healing. No more CAM providers - just physicians who use the best of both worlds...