Heather Tick, MD

Dr. Heather Tick has been an active member of the pain field for nearly thirty years. She co-founded and directed one of the first interdisciplinary pain centers, working alongside medical practitioners, psychologists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other practitioners. She was recruited by the University of Arizona Health Plan to design and implement an integrative medicine pain clinic for Medicaid patients, successfully redirecting patients from surgical, interventional and pharmacologic pain treatments to integrative pain medicine (IPM). In 2012 she came to UW as the first Gunn-Loke Endowed Professor of Integrative Pain Medicine.

Dr. Tick has a strong history of interprofessional collaboration. As an educator she works to raise patients’ and practitioners’ awareness of the evidence for nonpharmacologic care including a focus on health promotion and healthy lifestyle choices. She teaches residents from many specialties and fellows in pain and sports medicine. She consulted for the Samueli Institute Chronic Pain Breakthrough Collaborative Program, working with military, veterans and civilian pain clinics to enhance their offerings.


She has written extensively on IPM topics for academic publications and authored Holistic Pain Relief. She heads the pain initiative for the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health and has authored their White Paper on nonpharmacologic pain care. She co-authored, with LtGen(ret) Eric Schoomaker, a chapter on IPM for the textbook by Richard Carmona and Mark Liponis (in press). 

Integrative Medicine (IM) advocates the use of all strategies and disciplines to assist our patients in their care. The evidence base for IM is substantial and includes some of the most exciting areas of biomedical enquiry such as neuroplasticity, the microbiome, fascia and mitochondrial science. Fundamentally IM is more than just an expanded menu of services, it is the culture change that is in the call to action in the past 30 years of IOM analyses of US Healthcare problems and is echoed in most of the recent calls for changes in pain care from the ACP, CDC, FDA, Joint Commission, NIH and Military Medicine.

What does culture change in medicine look like?