Complementary, alternative medicine advocate Tanya Edwards passes away

Tanya Edwards headshotTanya I. Edwards, a faculty member who pioneered education in complementary and alternative medicine at Case Western Reserve and the broader community, died last week after a battle with breast cancer. She was just a day shy of her 54th birthday.

Edwards earned her master’s degree in medical education from John Carroll University and Case Western Reserve and her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. She began teaching at Case Western Reserve in 1996 and became an associate professor in the family medicine department.

Edwards taught complementary and alternative medicine courses, established a concentration for alternative medicine at the School of Medicine, and helped bring complementary medical education to the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine curriculum. She served as the faculty adviser of the integrative medicine interest group and of the Student National Medical Association.

In 2004, Edwards joined Cleveland Clinic as the medical director for Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. That September, she opened an outpatient clinic for the center in Broadview Heights and participated in the opening of four more centers over the next five years. The five centers consolidated into one cohesive center in Lyndhurst in 2009.

Until 2012, Edwards practiced at Cleveland Clinic Independence Family Health Center and continued to direct the expansion of the Center for Integrative Medicine. Her contributions were so impactful that Cleveland Clinic renamed the center after Edwards in February.

“Tanya was outgoing, positive and innovative,” Dean Pamela B. Davis said in a letter to the School of Medicine community. “She always believed that patients had a right to the best information and the best treatment; if it was a possibility, she was willing to try it.”

She is survived by her two children, Robert and Tara, and her partner, Ameer Abdul-Malik, as well as her mother, sister, five nieces and nephews, and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Tanya I. Edwards MD Center for Integrative Medicine (1950 Richmond Road, Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124).