Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has requested a $1.5 million earmark to fund an alternative medicine center in Washington D.C. run by a doctor with an alternative past. The request is for the FY 2011 Department of Defense budget and will go to the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, run by Dr. James Gordon.
The money would fund a program that is aimed at helping health professionals in the military maintain their mental and physical abilities in order for them to effectively and continually help troops suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidal thoughts. The program consists of drug-free therapies.
Gordon specializes in alternative medicine. A passionate advocate of the field, he believes his work is very effective. “We help people help themselves. [The patients] are horribly traumatized,” Gordon said.
But Gordon has been criticized by traditional practitioners. According to Quackwatch.org–a website run by medical professionals that investigates claims made for various of alternative treatments–Gordon studied in the 1970s under an eccentric Indian guru named Shree Rajneesh, a man the State Department identified as a cult leader. Gordon supported Rajneesh for years and through many scandals. In the 1980’s the guru was prosecuted for poisoning residents of an Oregon town who opposed his commune. Rajneesh originally moved his commune to the United States due to an investigation by the Indian government for tax evasion. Gordon went on to teach Rajneesh’s methods, which include twirling to the point of hallucination.
Gordon says his critics come from a profession that attacks anyone who wants to “enlarge the medical model,” and that his past has been taken out of context. The bottom line for Gordon is the work he’s done. “It’s peer-reviewed and stands on it’s own merits,” Gordon said.
The Center for Mind-Body Medicine has already received $411,000 from the Department of Defense in 2008 to conduct experimental, drug-free, mental health therapies on soldiers returning from combat. According to Gordon, that DOD contract trained hundreds of medical professionals to help themselves through war-related trauma so they could go on to treat others.
The program Moran is seeking funding for in the upcoming budget is not related to this contract, but for a similar program.
Moran has favored other organizations whose scientific credentials have been questioned. He earmarked funds for the Samueli Institute, an organization that, the Washington Post reported, was criticized by Stanford University medical professor and Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine editor Wallace Sampson. The Samueli Institute was funded by two of Moran’s campaign contributors, Susan and Henry Samueli. Henry Samueli was convicted for his role in engineering a $2.2 billion stock fraud.
Moran also requested money, year after year, totaling $37 million to fund a company, Vibration & Sound Solutions Ltd., whose technology “kept failing to solve any problems the Navy had,” according to a report in the Washington Post.
Moran’s office declined to discuss the earmark to the Center for Mind-Body Medicine.