Functional Medicine & AFMCP™-UK

  • Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice® is a well-orchestrated, comprehensive, patient-centered educational program that helps you deepen your clinical understanding and practical application of the Functional Medicine Matrix Model.

    Today’s Landscape

    An epidemic of chronic disease threatens to compromise the health of our population and the effectiveness and economics of our healthcare system. Alarming projections suggest that future generations may have shorter, less healthy lives if current trends continue unchecked.1 Because of its focus on acute care, the current medical model fails to confront both the causes of and solutions for the chronic disease epidemic, and must be replaced with a model of comprehensive care and prevention that is systems-based, integrative, patient-centered, and much more effective. AFMCP™-UK  has been designed to meet that challenge.

    1     Olshansky SJ, Passaro DJ, Hershow RC, Layden J, et al. A potential decline in life expectancy in the United States in the 21st century. NEJM. 2005;352(11):1138-45.

    What is Functional Medicine?

    Functional Medicine Matrix Tree of Health Vs Disease

    Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

    How is Functional Medicine Different?

    Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:

    • Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.
    • An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
    • Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
    • Biochemical individuality describes the importance of individual variations in metabolic function that derive from genetic and environmental differences among individuals.
    • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors.
    • Health as a positive vitality – not merely the absence of disease.
    • Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance health span.

    YouTube Preview ImageFunctional Medicine is anchored by an examination of the core clinical imbalances that underlie various disease conditions. Those imbalances arise as environmental inputs such as diet, nutrients (including air and water), exercise, and trauma are processed by one’s body, mind, and spirit through a unique set of genetic predispositions, attitudes, and beliefs.

    The fundamental physiological processes include communication, both outside and inside the cell; bioenergetics, or the transformation of food into energy; replication, repair, and maintenance of structural integrity, from the cellular to the whole body level; elimination of waste; protection and defense; and transport and circulation. The core clinical imbalances that arise from malfunctions within this complex system include the following key body systems and are addressed during the AFMCP™ in a coordinated and integrated fashion:


    • Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances
    • Oxidation-reduction imbalances and mitochondropathy
    • Detoxification and biotransformational imbalances
    • Immune imbalances
    • Inflammatory imbalances
    • Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances
    • Structural imbalances from cellular membrane function to the musculoskeletal system

    Imbalances such as these are the precursors to the signs and symptoms by which we detect and label (diagnose) organ system disease. Improving balance – in the patient’s environmental inputs and in the body’s fundamental physiological processes – is the precursor to restoring health and it involves much more than treating the symptoms. Functional medicine is dedicated to improving the management of complex, chronic disease by intervening at multiple levels to address these core clinical imbalances and to restore each patient’s functionality and health. Functional medicine is not a unique and separate body of knowledge. It is grounded in scientific principles and information widely available in medicine today, combining research from various disciplines into highly detailed yet clinically relevant models of disease pathogenesis and effective clinical management.

    Functional medicine emphasises a definable and teachable process of integrating multiple knowledge bases within a pragmatic intellectual matrix that focuses on functionality at many levels, rather than a single treatment for a single diagnosis. Functional medicine uses the patient’s story as a key tool for integrating diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and evidence of clinical imbalances into a comprehensive approach to improve both the patient’s environmental inputs and his or her physiological function. It is a clinician’s discipline, and it directly addresses the need to transform the practice of primary care.

    What is Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP™)?

    This 5 day course is an intensive learning experience. It is designed to teach you how to apply the fundamental principles of functional medicine in clinic.

    AFMCP™ is not a typical medical meeting. Now in its 15th year, this five-day course has been rigorously designed, critically evaluated, and continuously refined by an outstanding core faculty, each of whom brings diverse and subject-specific clinical expertise to the application of functional medicine.

    Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice® (AFMCP™) teaches healthcare practitioners to more effectively integrate science, research, and clinical insights to treat and prevent disease and maintain health. Established and emerging diagnostics, therapeutics, and prevention strategies are extensively covered, including the use of diet, nutraceuticals, exercise, body/mind techniques, and the adaptation of lifestyle to an individual’s genetic risks and environmental exposures.

    AFMCP™ is a well-orchestrated, comprehensive, patient-centered education program that helps you deepen your clinical understanding and practical application of the Functional Medicine Matrix Model.

    Topics include:

    • Gastrointestinal dysfunction and its links to chronic disease
    • Inflammation and immune dysregulation
    • Hormonal imbalance including adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormones
    • Insulin resistance and cardiometabolic syndrome
    • Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurological disorders
    • Toxins, toxicity, and impaired biotransformation
    • Food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances
    • Nutrition assessment and the Nutrition Physical Exam

    YouTube Preview Image
    Daniel Lukaczer, ND and Kristi Hughes, ND describe how the AFMCP™ course operates and give a brief summary of what you may expect from attending the course and how it relates to the overall philosophy enshrined in the functional medicine model.

    Dan and Kristi are the joint Associate Directors of Medical Education at the Institute for Functional Medicine and are intimately involved in the development and roll out of educational offerings from the founding institution. The Institue for Functional Medicine also runs an International Symposium each year in different parts of North America. In 2011 it was held in Bellevue, Washington State.


    To Learn More About Each Day’s Programme

    What is the Functional Medicine Matrix?

    Functional Medicine Working Matrix

    Functional Medicine Working Matrix

    The Matrix Model is a systematic approach to assessing multiple clinical inputs and insights that define the patient in front of you. Designed to facilitate a cross discipline interface it coordinates feedback from history taking with laboratory analysis, triggers, mediators and antecedents to allow a structured, rational and personalised approach to clinical care. Information gathering including the individual’s ‘story’ as well as inputs from the practitioner are then collated into a ‘matrix’ to provide a route to recovery and intervention.







    How to use the Functional Medicine Matrix in Clinical Practice

    The Functional Medicine Matrix is a tool that assists the practitioner in organising and prioritising any patient’s health issues as elicited by a thorough personal, family, social, and medical history. It is specifically organised in order to help the practitioner gain a comprehensive perspective of the patient as a whole, and to facilitate discussion of complex health issues with the patient. There are three parts of the Matrix graphic:

    The Patient’s Story Retold allows the practitioner to organise the predisposing factors (antecedents), precipitating events (triggers), and ongoing contributors (mediators) of a patient’s chronic health problem.

    Physiology and Function: Organising the Patient’s Clinical Imbalances prompts the practitioner to think about each patient’s symptoms in terms of the underlying clinical imbalances that may be causing or exacerbating those symptoms. It contains seven nodes named for the physiological process that together make up the body’s function: Assimilation, Defence and Repair, Energy, Biotransformation and Elimination, Transport, Communication, and Structural Integrity. It also contains a central place to document the patient’s psychospiritual well-being.

    Fundamental Lifestyle Factors examines the patient’s environment and lifestyle including diet, stress, and exercise. These are also the health-changing areas that the patient is most in control of and thus can be a jumping-off point to allow the practitioner and patient to collaboratively agree upon foundational proactive changes that promote health.

    The AFMCP™-UK course helps you, via detailed training and interaction, to start to see your patient through these multiple points, not as a mass of data but as a carefully constructed and substantiated journey, a gathering and filtering of information that prevents application of favourite therapy over application of best therapy. The Matrix permits both a retrospective and forward-thinking approach that encourages patient engagement and clinical support.

    Confidence in the use of the Matrix and its application to your style of clinical care is a primary aim of the AFMCP™-UK course, as well as a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the intertwining of the different systems and how they influence and interact with each other. Knowing where to start, what to do, and why are the aims of the course.

    Supplementing and expanding on your own professional training and skills, the AFMCP™-UK course will bring together often apparently disparate threads to allow for a comprehensive and effective approach with your patient.

    What is The Institute for Functional Medicine?

    The History of Functional Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine

    In 1990 Jeffrey Bland PhD created the concept of functional medicine as a discipline that married progress in basic medical sciences with clinical medicine to address the growing problems associated with chronic disease. In 1991 Jeffrey and Susan Bland founded and funded the Institute for Functional Medicine with the mission to both educate and provide clinical support for the implementation of medicine across disciplines within the health care sector for functional medicine. The charter of the Institute for Functional Medicine was conceived by its founders as a systems biology approach to the prevention and management of chronic disease utilising the appropriate facets of nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, environment, structural, cognitive, emotional and pharmaceutical therapies to meet the individual needs of the patient.

    Twenty years ago, functional medicine was an idea without a movement. It is now a movement that is the single biggest game changing idea in health care. More than 100,000 practitioners from 69 countries have been introduced to the principles and practices of functional medicine. Faculty from one-fifth of all medical schools in America, and physicians from 44 countries have attended our foundational training course, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice®. And a major milestone will be met when the first participants in IFM’s Functional Medicine Certification Program  complete their training in 2013.

    The International Symposium in The USA 2012

    IFM are preparing information to release regarding the topic of the 2012 International Annual Conference.  In the meantime, here is a brief overview (more details to come in December):

    • Cardiometabolic Syndrome is of critical importance to all clinicians as we observe the pandemic of chronic diseases—including Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, Sleep Apnea, and Type 2 Diabetes—continue to escalate.
    • As the global leader in functional medicine education, IFM has elevated this topic to the top of their educational program list for 2012 by making it the focus of their Annual International Conference (May 31–June 3 in Scottsdale, AZ). IFM’s Annual International Conference focuses on emerging research and effective clinical applications viewed through the functional medicine lens.
    • IFM are pleased to announce that the faculty is comprised of renowned leaders, researchers, and clinicians successful in the areas of managing cardiometabolic-related conditions. Faculty includes Erminia Guarneri, MD, Mark Houston, MD, Kristi Hughes, ND, Shilpa Saxena, MD, Jeffrey Bland, PhD, and Mark Hyman, MD.

    Copyright Details

    The Institute for Functional Medicine™ (IFM), Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice®, and AFMCP™ are marks owned by Jeffrey and Susan Bland, used under exclusive license.

© 2012 Nutri-Link Ltd