I’ve been envisioning a new paradigm in healthcare for what seems like forever. In college, I drew a traditionally styled home with a wrap around porch, a garden, huge windows, a big, open kitchen and lots of green all around in East Austin. When I bought my home, it was eerily familiar and looks a lot like my drawing. The dream I had for the artist rendition of my home was to make it a healing haven, a place outside of a clinic or hospital, where people could come together, take classes in nutrition, herbalism, reiki, meditation, baby yoga, among other community- oriented activities.
The dream still stands and it feels like it’s becoming more and more a reality. As placed-based health becomes more of a priority in our society, I believe one day they’ll be a ‘doc’ on every block. ‘Doc’ can be a promotora, a community health worker, a nurse or a doctor. The thing about chronic care and disease, is that it has become very algorithmic. If you have type 2 diabetes, we draw your blood, monitor your A1C, give you metformin, another oral drug or insulin if it’s really bad and tell you to check back in 3 months. Sometimes we recommend nutrition classes, but even those are failing our patients with their ‘counting carbs’ illusion and myplate push.
This algorithm does not work. There needs to be an education and empowerment component that allows the patient to recognize they have control of their health. Patients, not their doctor or their genes, decide what the most desirable plan of care should be for their health. The best, most effective way to do this is through community and education. The most successful programs involve group visits or church programs or school-based clinics. Why? Because they involve teaching, true hands-on learning and super awesome community, allowing you to feel less alone and more able to fight against chronic disease and WIN!
About 4 years ago, I interviewed the now Chief Clinical Director of an entire hospital system. We chatted about how in a decade or so, doctors will not be the ones running the chronic care show. It will be diabetes, hypertension, obesity educators who have the disease and have been trained and educated. They can relay the basics of chronic illness and then target with lifestyle changes. This could be helping them change their diet, teaching them some culturally sensitive recipes or breathing techniques to calm their nervous system and decrease the amount of glucose that is released. They could host supper clubs that bring people from the neighborhood together, as community is the strongest of medicines. I remember that conversation vividly. It was inspiring to hear a doctor leave his ego at the door and actually give the power back to the patient, to those he served.
This is how I believe the future of medicine looks. It looks more like a little villages within our urban lifestyles and rural communities. There is one central space where the community can come together to learn about whatever interests them and they will be able to pick and choose their path to healing. We, the providers, will become (and in many cases have become) their partners and guides in health and wellness.
In May of 2017, I will be attending the Eugen-Kolisko Academy to study Anthroposophic Medicine. I will be training at the Filderklinik, which is one of the first fully Integrative Medicine hospitals in the world. This is the first step, I need to see what a truly healing space looks like and feels like and then I plan to come back and implement it at home.
I need help though, I need my community to come together to make this happen. I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign that you’re welcome to contribute to. I will be infinitely grateful for your support either in funding or sharing. But I also need your help to shape the dream into a real thing. I have a vision in my minds eye and I’ve consulted with a few of the groups I lead, but I would like to create a full blueprint of what it looks like before I leave. The people I’ve talked to tell me they want a garden, a teaching kitchen, integrative modalities of healing from physical therapy to dream interpretation and lots of learning from each other. The final product will be a blend of the best of conventional medicine combined integrative medicine and all the traditional wisdom in between.
This is already my reality. I’ve created this over the years from thoughts and experiences and interactions. Wayne Dyer said “You’ll see it when you believe it” and I’ve been believing in this vision for a long, long time and now I can almost see it.
And the beautiful thing is that it’s not just mine, it’s a dream for so many. I’m willing to dedicate my life’s work to making it happen. I’m fully and totally committed to healing the healthcare system. Will you help me?