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The Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Health Therapies was established to honor Dr. Straus, the founding director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). This series brings leading figures in science and medicine to the NIH to speak about their perspective on the field of complementary medicine.
The challenges for the American health care system have been massive in recent years, including for the system that cares for our military veterans. A key cause is the “disease-driven approach to care” (National Academy of Medicine). One of the results, many say, is the opioid crisis. Could we approach health care differently? The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been on the cutting edge of such change including by designing and implementing a new approach, “Whole Health,” to empower and equip people to take charge of their health and well-being, and to live their lives to the fullest. The Whole Health System was initially deployed at 18 VA flagship facilities around the Nation. The concept includes conventional treatment, self-empowerment, a personalized health plan, self-healing, self-care, and nondrug complementary and integrative therapies. Simultaneously, the system provides opportunities to research the effectiveness of health services. Dr. Tracy Gaudet of the VA will discuss her agency’s journey to and with this new model, which also shows exciting potential for the Nation.