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CDC Response to 'Sicko', plus Mike Huckabee on getting insurance to pay for Nutritional counsel

Julie Gerberding, the head of the CDC, said she thought the health care crisis should be addressed starting in the health schools, and that health care professionals should all start out learning together: "I believe that what we really need in this country are schools of health," Gerberding told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "If we are seriously thinking about building a health system, then we need to be training professionals in a collegial and collaborative manner."

That's an interesting idea, with some merit. Would nutritionists be invited too?

Separately, Mike Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate, said: "Right now, insurance companies will pay $100,000 or more for a quadruple bypass but wouldn't pay a couple hundred dollars for a person to have nutrition counseling and maybe to work with an exercise physiologist to determine how to get those extra pounds off. ... It's a lot better to spend some more money on the prevention side than it is on the intervention side."

That's the most sensible thing, and something most of us have believed for some time. One wonders why the insurance companies don't think its a money maker/saver for them. I'd like to see a study done on it, but it'll take 20 years to see the results. Anyway, if the insurance companies don't think so, but it is in the interests of society, then it should be mandated (just as many insurance company coverages are mandated by law).

Michael, It's good to hear


It's good to hear that Gerberding of the CDC is emphasizing collaborative education in the form of schools of health as one approach to the current healthcare crisis.
There are plenty of acccomplists to the problem: the insurance industry, elected officials that accept large political contributions from special interest industry, the FDA, pharmaceutical companies and in general the American that doesn't take responsiblility for his or her health. Huckabee is right on and he has walked the walk. A focus on prevention, complete with insurance backing for nutritional counseling would be a huge step forward towards solution.

In the new issue of Integrative Medicine, editor Pizzorno says that "Establishing socialized medicine in the USA does not in any way solve the healthcare crisis and only adds additional financial burden of politics based government overhead. Simply changing who pays does not cure the problem. We need to transform the current symptoms-relief oriented disease treatment system to one that addresses the underlying causes of disease and prioritize health improvement".

Last weekend a friend of mine commented that Michael Moore looks like he's not far off from entering the healthcare system in a big way. Moore and a huge number of baby boomers that have not taken any interest in personal preventative health are a big part of our healthcare dilemma and have the potential to burden our current system to the breaking point. We know that at least four of our most prevalent diseases, CVD, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis are directly related to diet and lifestyle choices. The support of nutritional counseling prior to by pass surgery, chemotherapy, daily insulin injections and institutionalization after breaking a hip is such a sensible first line approach to the problem that is it absurd and self defeating that funding for it is overlooked.


Submitted by Teri Gruss on 16 Jul, 2007

This was John Weeks' take on

This was John Weeks' take on the CDC/Gerberding idea of integrated health care learning:

Radical Reform: CDC Director Urges "Schools of Health" to Foster Shared Mission Among Professions

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Radical Reform: CDC Director Calls for "Schools of Health" to Foster Collaboration and Shared Mission Among Healthcare Professions

Summary: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Julie Gerberding, MD, has stepped out of the box of the health reform debate. Gerberding believes that true reform of the US medical system requires us to establish "schools of health" in which professionals start their education together. The paradigm shift will foster cooperation and a sense of common mission. While not referring directly to the complementary and alternative professions, Gerberding's vision is deeply aligned with recommendations in a 2005 report from educators representing 12 complementary and alternative healthcare and integrative medicine disciplines. These pushes for multi-disciplinary collaboration also echo recommendations from the Institute of Medicine in its report on CAM in the United States. An Integrator reader urges a campaign to urge Gerberding to continue to promote this direction to limit turf wars wars."

Marie Shanahan, RN, HN-BC sent a note to the Integrator July 17, 2007, to enlist support for a campaign she initiated. The board-certified holistic nurse and consultant on integrated care with diverse health systems had spotted what she believed was a window of opportunity to foster fundamental change in the medical system.

Shanahan, a principal with the Birchtree Center for Healthcare Transformation, opened her campaign this way: "Dr. Julie Gerberding (MD), director of the (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has made a radical statement." Shanahan referred to suggestions Gerberding reportedly made to reporters at a meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association. A Reuters article entitled "Start with Medical Training to Fix US Health Care: CDC Head" (July 16, 2007) quoted Gerberding making this blunt recommendation:

"I believe that what we really need in this country are schools of health."

What would characterize such a school? Gerberding doesn't think that merely running scores of thousands of professionals through typical medical education will create what we need. Healthcare and medical professionals need to start their education with a multidiscipinary experience which will foster both cooperation and a sense of common mission. States Gerberding:

[/size]"If we are seriously thinking about building a health system, then we need to be training professionals in a collegial and collaborative manner."

Gerberding believes that "we are at a tipping point with our health care delivery system." She believes the current system is focused too much on treating disease and on end-of-life care, with little attention paid to preventing disease and helping people lead healthier lives. Bottom line: "We cannot afford to continue going in the direction that our system is going."

Opening the Gerberding Opportunity: A Stakeholder's Campaign for Health and Collaboration

After Shanahan read the article - picked up by Medscape - she sent an impassioned notice to her list, which included the Integrator. Wrote Shanahan:

"I'm so impressed by this "out of the box" thinking that I'm asking all of you to read it and consider passing it along to nurses, physicians and others that you know. In addition, I'm asking you to send a letter of support to (Gerberding). If we as healing professionals can understand each other and support one another in our common quest to offer the people in our care the best care possible, we will have come along way in making things better and making a difference!

"Something has to change and this is an idea that has real merit and possibility. Imagine no more turf wars, and greater collegiality. It could happen. It will happen if we believe and take action."

Gerberding can be reached at: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Building 21, Mail stop D-14, Atlanta, GA 30333, or by faxing to 404-639-7111. Shanahan's sample letter is attached below.

Comment: I was struck in reading Gerberding's vision, and Shanahan's appeal, by its resonance with the vision articulated by leaders of 12 healthcare disciplines organized as the National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Creating Common Ground (NED). These educators in chiropractic, integrative medicine, massage therapy, holistic nursing, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, holistic medicine, direct-entry-midwifery, yoga therapy and others agreed to the following mission:

We envision a health care system that is multidisciplinary and enhances competence, mutual respect and collaboration across all CAM and conventional health care disciplines. This system will deliver effective care that is patient centered, focused on health creation and healing, and readily accessible to all populations.

National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Creating Common Ground (2005)

IOM Committee Chair Stuart Bondurant, MD

The consonance with Gerberding's recommendation is profound. Stuart Bondurant, MD, the chair of the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States, affirmed this consonance in a statement about the NED activity:

"Our ultimate goal should be to create a healthcare delivery system that ids comprehensive, patient-centered, evidence-based and cost-effective. What you are doing here (with the National Education Dialogue), this great collaborative work, is one of the most important things anyone can do to implement this report."

I credit Shanahan for recognizing a rare opportunity to shift the nation's debate over reforming its' medical payment system toward engaging the more fundamental questions - the nature of healthcare education, for instance - which might lead us toward health. Medscape and Shanahan are not the only individuals, newssources or blog sites that have gravitated toward this message. Gerberding's assertion that we need to work toward transformation rather than "reform" seems to have struck a chord.

My guess is that Gerberding doesn't even know how deep the alignment with her public health proposition is among many in integrative medicine and natural health care. This is a good chance to let her know. Who knows, maybe one day Gerberding will deliver her excellent message on the need for "schools of health" to the Association of Academic Health Centers rather than a gathering of those charged with the care of our Cocker Spaniel Ezzie and other non-human animals.


Submitted by MichaelS on 29 Jul, 2007

The best cut for our

The best cut for our skyrocketting healthcare co$ts is PREVENTION!! 

Through exercise, nutritious diet, and avoiding all foods and chemicals you are sensitive to, with Clinical Ecology, everyone gets much lower healthcare costs, a healthier happier life, and a much cleaner environment.

My own experience with Clinical Ecology is illustrative.  In the 1970s I stayed in Theron G. Randolph, MD’s “ecological unit” at the AmericanInternationalHospital in Zion, IL. There the air and water was filtered and every patient started out on a four day fast with only water to drink. The second day felt terrible when I was in withdrawal, but by the fourth day I felt better than when I arrived! Then each food was tested separately and checked for symptoms. Dr. Randolph with Clinical Ecology was able to finally “cure” and find the foods and/or chemicals that were the root cause for the symptoms of many international patients, many had been bounced from specialist to specialist for years taking more drugs with more side effects until Dr. Randolph located their actual sensitivities and they left him taking no drugs with no symptoms so long as they totally avoided their sensitive foods and chemicals! By finding each unique person’s food and chemical sensitivities, totally avoiding them (often the most common foods like corn, coffee, and cane sugar), and following the “rotation diet,” you avoid future sensitivities.1   Why don’t many more doctors practice Clinical Ecology? (a) It demands much more time and effort from both the doctor and the patient than simply popping a pill, and (b) huge, powerful industries – food, drug, and chemical – have a vested interest in suppressing this direct positive approach.  To get the full economic benefit from prevention, many more doctors and patients should take the extra time and effort to find the foods and chemicals they are sensitive to and avoid them.

I saw Micheal Moore - creator of "Sicko" on CNN a couple of days ago.  He reluctantly supports President Obama's new healthcare revisions. 

(1) An Alternative Approach to Allergies by Theron G. Randolph, MD and Ralph W. Moss, PhD, Lippincott & Crowell, 1980. It’s still available in paperback on

Submitted by afisher333 on 19 Mar, 2010