Andrew Weil



Andrew Weil, MD (waɪl, born June 8, 1942) is an American celebrity doctor who is a physician, author, spokesperson, and broadly described "guru" of the alternative medical brands: holistic health and integrative medicine, whose names also constitute an emerging brand of healthcare services and products in these fields. Weil studied at Harvard in the early 1960s, bringing him into contact with social scientists David McClelland, Richard Alpert, and Timothy Leary. Weil is known somewhat controversially for being the informant responsible for the firing of Leary and Alpert from Harvard. He graduated cum laude in 1964 from a biology major and a concentration in the ethnobotany of medicinal plants, following this with an Harvard M.D. in 1968, followed by a one-year internship at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. He then completed one year of what was expected to be a two-year training program at the National Institute of Mental Health. Throughout these periods, Weil displayed a strong curiosity regarding the emerging field of psychopharmacology, accessing it through study and personal experimentation. Weil then spent a decade with the Harvard Botanical Museum (1971-1984), and in personal travel, exploration, and writing focused on this field. His writings on the relationships between human consciousness, culture, healing, and drug experience appeared in regular contributions to High Times magazine (1975-1983), and in book-length works (The Natural Mind, 1972; The Marriage of Sun and Moon, 1980; From Chocolate to Morphine, 1983, rev. 1993 & 2004). Weil became interested in the ideas and practices of complementary and alternative medicine, and went on to play a seminal role in codifying and establishing the emerging field of integrative medicine, which aims to combine alternative medicine, conventional evidence-based medicine, and other practices into a higher-order "system of systems" to address human healing via action in multiple "dimensions" (biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual). As of 2015, Weil serves as an academician at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where he is Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology, Clinical Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Public Health. In 1994, Weil founded and has since directed the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He served as founding editor of a seminal OUP series offering medical best-practice methods alongside yet-to-be-proven ones, the Weil Integrative Medicine Library (2009-2015), which includes specialty volumes in oncology, cardiology, rheumatology, pediatrics, psychology, and other specialties. Weil has given extensive efforts to popular communication encouraging patients to incorporate alternative therapies—use of nutritional supplements, meditation and "spiritual" strategies, etc.—into conventional treatment plans. His many broad, health-related books include Spontaneous Healing (1995), Eight Weeks to Optimum Health (1997), Eating Well for Optimum Health (2000), The Healthy Kitchen (2002, with chef Rosie Daley), and Healthy Aging (2005), several of which have appeared on recognized best seller lists. This popular exposure has included frequent guest appearances (e.g., Larry King Live, Oprah, and the Today show). Weil blogs for The Huffington Post, and occasionally writes for Time magazine (and was recognized in a global 100 list of influential people by them in 2005). In addition to his publisher-offered print, electronic, and audio products, Weil has founded several commercial enterprises (e.g., and to offer information, consulting services, and various products; in this regard, the "Dr. Andrew Weil" name represents both the individual, and a clear commercial brand. Services though Weil's businesses include vitamin advice and subscription websites paralleling his popular books. Products offered include vitamins, personal hygiene and skin care items, orthotics and foot-ware, medical devices, food preparation equipment, and a food product line. Registered trademarks of the brand include the Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins skin care/cosmetic and Dr. Andrew Weil Integrative Footwear lines. The development of Weil's ideas and of his brand have not been without criticism. His experimentation with drugs during college and after and his relationships with Harvard faculty during the tumultuous early 1960s has received attention (e.g., from Don Lattin in The Harvard Psychedelic Club, 2010). Moreover, there have been recurring reports in which mainstream medical professionals have criticized Weil for specific cases where he has appeared to reject aspects of evidence-based medicine, or promote unverified beliefs; and critiques by scientific watchdog organizations for his failing to disclaim in cases of his writings that have had connections to his own commercial interests. He refused to be interviewed by FrontLine for their January 19, 2016 episode about health supplements. Finally, academics have taken him to task, in print, for his and his peers downplaying social, structural, and environmental factors that contribute to the etiology of disease in the West, and for the clear component of entrepreneurialism associated with his establishing his brand of health care services and products.

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