IFM Welcomes Embrace of Whole Health Approach to Health Care by U.S. Surgeon General and National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

FEDERAL WAY, Wash.April 11, 2023 – The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) — the only ACCME-accredited organization providing functional medicine education and certification programs — applauds the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and U.S. Surgeon General for endorsing wider deployment of a “whole health” approach in American health care.

In a breakthrough report that examined health outcomes achieved by use of the Whole Health model within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, an NASEM panel of experts concluded that a whole health approach to care results in a better patient experience and patient-reported outcomes; increased access to care; reduced emergency room use and hospitalizations; and improved clinical quality metrics.

“The time is now” to adopt the Whole Health model, wrote U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy in a Public Health Reports column. Dr. Murthy and experts who authored the study say that this approach should be scaled up and spread nationally across all health systems — to help people be as healthy as possible before problems arise, effectively address chronic conditions, and support the well-being of both patients and health care workers.

This report is exciting to IFM and the field of functional medicine as IFM and the VA New Jersey have been training VA providers in functional medicine for more than two years in support of the VA’s whole health approach to address chronic conditions among the veteran and underserved populations. This partnership supports the design and implementation of a 10-week shared medical appointment intervention designed to identify and address specific social determinants of health through a functional medicine approach to type 2 diabetes in the veteran population.

“We are honored to be working with the VA to implement the Whole Health program for veterans battling Type 2 diabetes. Bringing the functional medicine approach to the Whole Health model helps provide a framework for gathering and evaluating data and sustaining improvement in patient outcomes,” said Amy R. Mack, MSES/MPA, IFM CEO. “We are excited that the Surgeon General and National Academy of Sciences’ experts have endorsed wide adoption of a whole health approach to medicine as a way to improve health care experiences for patients and practitioners.”

Functional medicine treats root causes of disease and restores healthy function through a personalized patient experience. From chronic illness to disease prevention, functional medicine is a comprehensive approach to health and well-being that systematically addresses the unique physical, mental, and emotional needs of all patients. By understanding each patient’s genetic, environmental, and lifestyle influences, functional medicine delivers transformative care to promote optimal health and well-being.

IFM collaborates with some of the most renowned medical institutions in the world to ensure that functional medicine and conventional medicine work closely together to deliver the most comprehensive approaches to care. By seeking out root causes of chronic conditions and treating them with evidence-based, clinically verified methods, a functional medicine approach — paired with conventional medical care — results in improved health outcomes, reduced costs over time, and a greater overall patient experience.