Integrative Primary Care Center Opens Doors to Employees of One of the Nation’s Largest Public Utilities

The University of Arizona Integrative Health Center in Phoenix will provide hundreds of Salt River Project employees with world-class conventional and complementary health care

The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and the Salt River Project (SRP) will enable up to 500 SRP employees to receive world-class integrative health care, and participate in an outcomes study on conventional versus complementary health-care models, with the potential to affect national health-care policy.

“SRP realizes that preventive care and simple lifestyle changes, in conjunction with great primary care, not only affect employee health and happiness, but also have the potential to lower corporate health-care costs,” said Robert Nichols, Salt River Project senior director of human resources. “The University of Arizona Integrative Health Center has given us the opportunity to both help our workforce and participate in a study with the ability to influence health care on a larger scale.”

In October 2012, AzCIM announced the opening of the University of Arizona Integrative Health Center (UAIHC) – an affiliation between AzCIM, the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, and District Medical Group (DMG). The UAIHC uses a hybrid billing model working with insurance companies for standard primary care services and enhancing care with membership fees for a wide range of complementary services such as acupuncture, chiropractic, mind-body, nutrition and health coaching.

Thanks to a grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation, AzCIM will study the health- and cost-effectiveness of integrative versus conventional medicine delivered at the UAIHC for a three-year period. Medical outcomes will be compared between the patients receiving conventional medical care and those receiving integrative care.

Maricopa County entered into agreement with the UAIHC in 2012, and SRP is the latest employer to invest in comprehensive primary care services and study enrollment for their employees. SRP is the third-largest public power utility in the nation, serving nearly 970,000 customers in Maricopa and Pinal counties, with 4,772 employees.

“We are so excited to welcome SRP employees as patients at the UAIHC, and give them the opportunity to experience the best whole-person attentive care that is unparalleled in conventional medicine,” said Heidi Rula, MD, medical director of the UAIHC. “This service is unique in Phoenix, and we are happy that SRP has the initiative to take a leap of faith in this expanded care model for the overall wellness of their employees.”

Study results will be used to open conversations on a national level about insurance reimbursement for integrative health-care services, wellness and prevention. The long-term goal is to influence health-care policy regarding best outcomes and cost.

Integrative medicine is a blend of conventional Western medicine and complementary therapies. AzCIM defines it as healing-oriented medicine that considers the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence and makes use of all appropriate therapies.

For more information about the UA Integrative Health Center, please visit


About the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) is leading the transformation of health care by creating, educating and actively supporting a community that embodies the philosophy and practice of healing-oriented medicine. AzCIM is internationally recognized for its evidence-based clinical practice, innovative educational programs, and research that substantiates the field of integrative medicine and influences public policy. Since its creation in 1994, the Center’s vision of making integrative care available to all is being realized worldwide: Center graduates now are guiding more than one million patients to take a greater role in their health and healing. To learn more about AzCIM, please visit

About Salt River Project

Salt River Project (SRP), based in Phoenix, Ariz., was established in 1903 under the National Reclamation Act. Today, SRP is the nation’s third largest public power utility, one of Arizona’s largest water suppliers and provides electricity to nearly 970,000 customers in the Phoenix area. Learn more at

About District Medical Group

District Medical Group (DMG) is a not-for-profit faculty practice plan owned and operated by physicians consisting of more than 350 providers who represent all the major medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. DMG is the academic faculty practice plan for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. Professional clinical services encompass all physician and mid-level providers (physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified nurse anesthetists, midwives, psychologists and mental health counselors) staffing a 333-bed acute care hospital, a 190-bed psychiatric hospital, 11 regional Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes and other specialty services. DMG’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of individuals in Arizona based on a balanced program of patient care, education, research and community service. For more information about DMG, please visit