December 4, 2007

Plotnikoff Named Medical Director for Abbott Northwestern’s Institute for Health and Healing

Abbott Northwestern Hospital has named its first medical director for the Institute for Health and Healing, the nation's largest combined inpatient and outpatient integrative medicine program.

Gregory A. Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, an internist, pediatrician and internationally respected expert in integrative therapies, has been hired to provide medical leadership for the Institute. The Institute's team of 45 health professionals make 1,700 inpatient visits a month within Abbott Northwestern and an additional 500 outpatient appointments a month at their clinic located at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 28th Street in Minneapolis. Integrative medicine blends the best of conventional medicine with healing philosophies and a variety of healing therapies.

Plotnikoff's work will oversee expansion of the institute's integrative medicine research, education and clinical care programs.

"We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Plotnikoff join our team," said Lori Knutson, executive director of the Institute for Health and Healing. "He's not only a talented medical leader but also an internationally respected physician who recognizes both the value of conventional medicine as well as the value of complementary care when dealing with patients' complex needs."

Plotnikoff comes to the Institute from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, where he has served as an associate professor since 2002. He was the first physician from the United States ever to be invited to apprentice in traditional Japanese herbal medicine in Japan. While with Keio, Plotnikoff conducted research and taught classes in Japanese on traditional medicine and medical ethics. For his work, he received several international awards for medical research and medical education.

In addition to his traditional medical experience, Plotnikoff brings a wealth of training and experience with him to the Institute for Health and Healing. He has advanced training in medical acupuncture, mind-body skills and nutrition, as well as expertise in both Western and Eastern herbal medicines. Prior to medical school, he attended Harvard Divinity School where he trained as a hospital chaplain. He is the author of over a dozen textbook chapters and three dozen articles in the medical literature.

In 1998 and 2004, Plotnikoff was honored for early career distinguished achievement from Carleton College and the University of Minnesota, respectively. In 2006, the "Annals of Internal Medicine" named him among the "Top 10 Percent of Peer Reviewers" and in 2000, "Minnesota Physician" named him one of the "100 Most Influential People in Minnesota's Health Care."

"Dr. Plotnikoff brings a unique combination of skills and experiences to the Institute for Health and Healing," said Penny Wheeler, MD, chief clinical officer of Allina Hospitals & Clinics. "Patients clearly benefit from an integrated approach that provides exceptional clinical care in the context of each patient's unique needs and opportunities for healing. Dr. Plotnikoff understands this broader view of health and well being."

Plotnikoff joins a leadership team composed of himself, Knutson and Jeffery Dusek, PhD., the Institute's new research director. Together, they will partner to lead the Institute, with Plotnikoff providing clinical leadership, Knutson providing operational leadership, and Dusek providing research leadership.

For more information about the Institute for Health and Healing, visit

Minneapolis-based Abbott Northwestern Hospital is part of Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a non-profit network of hospitals, clinics and other health care services. Abbott Northwestern is found online at