Radical redesign of healthcare via whole health model


There has never been a greater need for a radical transformation, said Tracy Gaudet, MD, during the virtual 2020 Institute for Functional Medicine Annual International Conference.

Integrative and functional medicine practitioners are critical, said Gaudet, a former executive director of the Veteran’s Administration (VA), where she created the transformational Whole Health program. Now the executive director of the Whole Health Institute, Gaudet said she hopes to translate and build off of the VA Whole Health model and bring it to communities worldwide.

Whole health empowers and equips people to take charge of their physical and mental wellbeing and live life to the fullest. It encompasses self-care, professional, and community and highlights prevention and treatment, conventional and complementary approaches, and basic tenants of movement, environment, personal development, nutrition, sleep, relationships, spirituality, and healing centered on mindfulness and awareness for ones’ self.

One aspect is the transformed healthcare system. At the center is an individual’s personal health plan. The individual health plan encompasses three components:

  1. Empower: take charge of my health and life—self-exploration of mission, aspiration, purpose, and begin personal health plan via multiple in-persona and online options with group and individual settings.
  2. Treat: health and disease management in a whole health paradigm—includes clinical teams trained in whole health, health coaching, personal health planning, complementary and integrative health integration.
  3. Equip: self-care, complementary and integrative health, skill building, and support—includes several tracks such as food and drink, power of mind, working the body, surroundings, personal development, research, spirit and soul, family, friends and coworkers, and health coaching.

The current healthcare workforce focuses on physicians, physician extenders, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses, In contrast, a whole heath workforce will include whole health partners or peers, health coaches, wellbeing instructors including nutrition, yoga, and stress reduction, therapists including acupuncture and massage, physicians trained in whole health and functional medicine and nurses.

This model is not only financially stable, but shows significant decreases in healthcare costs, Gaudet said. It will result in an increase in physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing and a decrease in pain, obesity, pain, depression, and chronic conditions. Additionally, it will lead to an increase in self-care, decrease in clinical and pharmaceutical needs and decreased healthcare costs, increase in employee engagement and business productivity, increase in people’s sense of meaning and purpose, connectivity, compassion, and collective humanity, and transformation in social consciousness and a quantum leap in health and wellbeing.

“A grass roots, community based national movement is needed,” said Gaudet. “The time is now.”

Editor’s note: Click here to explore our 2020 Institute for Functional Medicine Annual International Conference live coverage.