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Where Do You Work? Working at Duke Integrative Medicine

"I feel very fortunate to work with Duke in both the Integrative Medicine center and the Health and Fitness center," says Kim Turk. "I find that I really thrive in an environment that is constantly updating treatments based on the latest research"

Read more about Kim below. She'll be leading the tour of Duke Integrative Medicine Sunday, October 7, at the AMTA 2012 National Convention.

What led you to pursue a career in massage therapy?

While recovering from a near-fatal car accident, I was told I would “always have pain and would just have to learn to live with it.” After several months of massage therapy, I found I was walking down stairs like a normal person and had stopped taking all pain medication. I thought it would be really fulfilling to have a career in which I could help people in this way.

What is your current work environment like?

I feel very fortunate to work with Duke in both the Integrative Medicine center and the Health and Fitness center. My co-workers are very supportive and collaborative and our discussions around the office tend to be very lively and informative. I find that I really thrive in an environment that is constantly updating treatments based on the latest research.    

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

I have an ongoing challenge to educate other healthcare professionals about massage therapy and its benefits. I have done a lot of public speaking within the health system, to both health professionals and consumers. Most groups are happy to have a speaker volunteer. I have spoken at the Rice Diet Program, the Physicians Assistant Program, the Diet and Fitness Center, DukeWell and in-house health fairs. This approach has worked well to start the conversation of the importance of massage therapy.  

What do you enjoy most about your career?

I love seeing the look of relief on the face of someone previously in so much pain. Sometimes finding the original source is a bit of an investigation. I find the verbal walk-through of the client’s day-to-day life fascinating!

How do you feel massage therapy is perceived by the general public? 

Massage therapy has come a long, positive road in the 14 years I’ve been in practice. Certainly we have clients walking in the door with more education about what can be provided by co-creating a session.  Helping massage be seen as an equal partner in the health care arena is still a challenge. We were fortunate to have the AMTA Massage Therapy Tour stop here in Durham. Two of our doctors attended this event, as did a large group of medical students currently attending Duke. I think reaching out to medical students always provides education that is vital to collaboration in the future. Many potential clients learned a great deal about massage therapy that day. I really appreciated the staff and volunteers that put so much time and effort into the tour.  

What do you think will be most eye-opening about the tour at Duke during the AMTA National Convention?  

Those walking into the Duke Integrative Medicine building are immediately struck by the thought and intention put not into just the building, but also the living laboratory, or the "new way," in which we deliver health care. The outdoor elements were purposefully brought into the building to signify the importance of nature in our lives. What is most eye-opening, I think, is the unique way in which all modalities are willing to work together to bring each client a tailored experience that is holistic in practice. We are also in the middle of an interesting study on massage and osteoarthritis of the knee funded by National Institutes of Health. I can’t wait to meet everyone on October 7th!

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