Businessman and retired Congressman Berkley Bedell founded the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine in 1998. It was formerly known as the National Foundation for Alternative Medicine and changed its name in 2009.
At age fifteen Mr. Bedell devised a superior fishing fly and started Berkley & Company with money earned by selling newspapers. Berkley & Company’s sales grew each year as the firm developed innovative products and production methods. In 1964, Berkley was the first recipient of the National Small Businessman of the Year Award. He received the award from President Johnson on the White House steps.
In 1974, Berkley successfully ran for Congress in Iowa as a Democrat and joined the incoming "Watergate Class," the most reforming new class in the history of Congress. From 1974 through 1986, when Berkley retired from Congress, he established a reputation and record as someone who always looked out for "the least of these his brothers."
Personal experience drove his passion for alternative medicine as he was helped — not once, but twice — by therapies that had been overlooked by mainstream medicine. Berkley used his influence in Washington to bring attention to the need for investigating potential breakthrough treatments for public health. With Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), he created the Office of Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate and validate promising alternative therapies. Despite this milestone, their efforts were frustrated by bureaucratic and scientific inertia.
After years of working with the scientific establishment through NIH to promote the scientific investigation of alternative and complementary medicine, Berkley became convinced that the government was unable to pursue innovative field investigations of these treatments.
The Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine (FAIM) was launched with a mission to identify breakthrough complementary and alternative therapies and to research and report on their effectiveness. FAIM's mission also places importance upon the affordability of treatments in the belief that the world needs cost-effective solutions to bring health to the greatest number of people.
The best medicine in the world is useless if the very people who need it cannot afford it.
~ Berkley Bedell