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Transpartisan Review Note #48

Introducing Voice for Hope – Healers of Planet Earth

Transpartisan Note #48

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Voice for HOPE (Healers of Planet Earth), founded in 2010 to support ‘Freedom to Choose Your Path to Wellness,’ works to bring the attention of Congress to the development of integrative medicine as a part of national health care policy.transpartisan

An Atlantic article quoted Hippocrates to capture the core of integrative health: ‘It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.’  The World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution said, ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

Integrative medicine grounds its practice in this definition. Where conventional medicine has the negative mission of seeking to expunge disease, integrative medicine adds the well-being that promotes health, thus avoiding or mitigating the diseases that conventional medicine addresses—and, in the process, reduces the role that it needs to play. Integrative medicine seeks to know the person as well as the disease.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a research center on integrative health. The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Policy’s 2002 report contains an array of policy approaches to advance integrative health. You can read about the Congressional Mindfulness Caucus. Voice for HOPE works to create dialogues between members of Congress and their constituents about ways integrative medicine can play a broader role in national health care policy.

Integrative health is enormously important for policy on health. The current policy debate—ObamaCare was a prominent example—focuses almost entirely on medical care for people who are sick. It pays almost no effective attention to encouraging behavior changes that would keep them well and avoid having to use expensive doctors and hospitals when they get sick.

Integrative health includes practices focusing (in the words of The Mayo clinic) ‘on the whole person and includes physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health . . . mind-body medicine (such as meditation, acupuncture and yoga), manipulative and body-based practices . . . and natural products (such as herbs and dietary supplements)’. In public health the absence of simple behaviors such as hand-washing and sanitation play an enormous role in promoting disease.

From 30 to 40% plus of Americans use various forms of organized integrative health approaches to stay healthy. Millions of people in the U.S. use organized diet, exercise and mindfulness programs. In developing countries Educate Girls Globally (EGG) is experimenting with community-based health programs to promote change in negative (to health) behaviors and habits of traditional people. For example, they have launched an experiment using ‘Girls’ Parliaments’ to promote hand-washing, and in two months the percentage washing their hands has increased from essentially zero (based not on what they say, but on soap used) to between 70-80%.

The policy challenge is how to encourage people to change their behavior, which is difficult. EGG’s program is still too new to reach strong conclusions, but preliminary results are encouraging.

A major objective of a transpartisan politics is to promote development of a strong and active concept of citizenship in place of the current weak concept where all attention is on the government. A transpartisan health policy would seek the same objective: to encourage citizens to take more responsibility for their own health, taking personal care of themselves, and reserving expensive conventional approaches to cases where they become really sick. In health as in political action, transpartisans promote active citizenship in place of the passive roles currently played both by voters and by patients.

On Sunday, June 11, Voice for HOPE will join other Washington, DC, charities in a 5K Run/Walk on the shore of the beautiful Anacostia River in Washington’s Anacostia Park. People across the country and around the world can join or support the event – Jim Turner, chair of Citizens for Health and Voice for HOPE, urges everyone reading this note to support the 5K Run/Walk here.

Stop 21st Century Cures Act

Although this is coveted as a wonderful bill that is needed in the US so that drugs and medical devices can be fast tracked, if you read the nearly 1000 pages it is clear this is dangerous bill that is has the best interests of the Pharmaceutical industry at heart, NOT its consumers.

The Transpartisan Review Blog #4

America has a representative government. Voters elect leaders who appoint civil servants, and they implement ‘public policy’. This works for much public business, but in areas involving social services—school reform, drug rehabilitation, criminal justice, race relations, poverty and even security policy, results fall far short of aspirations.

Live Feed of Health Coach Conference

Sample a ClassCitizens for Health has partnered with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition because we have seen the impact of their Health Coach curriculum and how it can empower you to transform your health and happiness and launch a fulfilling new career. Click on the banner to the left to learn more.

Get an exclusive look at the The Institute for Integrative Nutrition® annual conference!

On March 5th and 6th, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from the world’s most influential experts in health and wellness during IIN’s annual conference. They’re opening up exclusive access to their live stream to give you a sneak peek into this incredible weekend. Register now to gain access and witness the transformation made possible through their Health Coach program. It is absolutely free, and it is the only way you can eavesdrop on this powerful event.

The Details:

  • What: Access to an exclusive LIVE STREAM of the annual conference!
  • When: Saturday, March 5th and Sunday, March 6th from 10am – 12pm ET.
  • Where: Anywhere! Use your computer or mobile device – All you need is internet access!
  • Who should attend: Everyone who wants to experience the amazing energy of an Integrative Nutrition live event and sneak a peek at student life! It is specifically recommended for anyone considering becoming a Health Coach. IIN has created a special page and video for CFH supporters – just click on the banner to the left.
  • Note: There will not be a replay. So be sure to register now and mark your calendar!