As the number of cases keep rising in the US, primarily from more widespread testing, let’s look at a sideway benefit of COVID-19. Our COVID-19 Redemptive Road we are on is accelerating the needed transformation of our nation’s healthcare system. Yes, I do believe there is definitely a “silver lining” coming our way propelled by the COVID road we are stilling traveling on.
At the core of this silver lining are key whole integrative health leaders who are joining forces to engage communities and families in changing the way we relate with healthcare and our own community. According to John Weeks from Today’s Practitioner, Lori Knutson, Civilian Medicine’s Top Integrative System Builder, Joins Former VA Leader Gaudet at Alice Walton’s Whole Health Institute: An Update (May 20, 2020), Tracy Gaudet, MD, recently left the Veterans Administration where she birthed the transformational Whole Health program that proactively engaged veterans and their families toward achieving whole health, expanding the program from 18 to 55 VA medical centers.
Gaudet has partnered with the world’s wealthiest woman, Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Together they are working on forming the Whole Health Institute “. . . with a goal of nothing less than to translate and build off the VA model in civilian health and medicine and spread it globally.”
Gaudet’s start-up leadership was demonstrated as the first executive director of the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and subsequent leader overseeing a $10-million expansion of Duke Integrative Medicine. Gaudet’s other Whole Health Institute (WHI) collaborating partners include Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC. Knutson will serve as the Institute’s senior director for health system redesign. Knutson’s present role includes being associate VP for health and wellbeing for Duke University Health System and executive director of Duke Integrative Medicine.
These WHI community stakeholders consist of “ . . . 13 different stakeholder groups they have identified. These range from employers, researchers, medical educators, big pharma and insurers to spiritual communities, educators, and community leaders.” The employers include Walmart, from which Walton’s wealth grew, and Tysons with major stakes in the region surrounding WHI’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
This WHI startup will hopefully accelerate the transformational work laid by integrative pioneers over the past 40 years. To learn more about our nation’s integrative healthcare journey, visit Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health, Integrative Health Policy Consortium, Evolution of Medicne, and Integrative Medicine: A Clinican’s Journal.