Our view of health has become as splintered as the medical system itself. There’s enormous expertise in specialized aspects of health and in medical care policy, but very little cogent overview.
- The health care policy debate (at least in the US) rarely considers whether the care being provided actually leads to better health.
- Those concerned with the latest in medical innovations rarely consider their impact on health care costs and access by those with limited means.
- The medical profession’s views of the human conditions are increasingly telescoped into a focus on body parts, while the functioning of the whole person and the human capacity to be healthy is left unexamined.
- Those in the "holistic" health fields often discount the gifts that western medicine have to offer, seeing only its shortcomings.
- Those in all the healing arts may have only limited awareness of the effects of their clients’ social and economic conditions on their wellness.
This issue seeks to bridge some of these gaps in our culture’s view of health by asking some larger questions like, What makes us healthy? How do other cultures view health and practice healing? How would health care providers choose to practice if they were given a choice? and What are some successful examples of health promotion that take into account the inter-related nature of health at the individual, family, and community scale?
To answer these questions, we sought out contributors who can integrate various aspects of health, medical care, and policy, and are creating the foundation for a coherent whole.
We hope you’ll find this issue to be a useful tool for empowering your own health, making sense of the political debate, or healing your community.