VA Expanding New Holistic Health Programs

meditation yoga

VA is expanding its "whole health" initiative by adding 18 Whole Health Flagship Sites to its existing network of 24 Whole Health Design Sites. 

The Whole Health Initiative

Haven't heard of the "Whole Health Initiative?" Neither had I.

According the the VA's website, the Whole Health Initiative is a new program that they say creates a personalized health plan that considers the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental needs of veterans. The VA says the Whole Health System "acknowledges that health care involves more than the physical human body." 

“VA’s Whole Health approach helps veterans live their lives to the fullest,” said VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. “By developing a personal health plan that integrates many areas of their lives, veterans can truly take charge of their well being and improve their health all around.  I’m pleased to recognize these VA facilities that are helping our veterans do just that.”

New Direction For VA Care

This new program offers things like peer support involving other veterans with similar medical conditions or military service experience; well being programs such as yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness; and whole health clinical care utilizing a holistic approach rather than just handing out pills.

The VA says they are shifting from a health care system focused primarily on treating disease to one rooted in forming continuous healing relationships and partnerships that "support you in achieving your greatest overall well being." The result is a whole health approach, which is a radical redesign of health care focused on empowering you.

This is indeed a radical departure from the way the VA (and most other doctors) have always operated. Will it be a major, lasting change; or just another short-lived attempt to reinvent the VA?

If your local VA Medical Center isn't one of the participating sites, don't worry, every VA Medical Center offers an Introduction to Whole Health learning opportunity for transitioning service members, family members and veterans.

For information about the Whole Health System, flagship facilities or design sites, visit

Will The Whole Health Initiative Succeed?

I personally haven't seen this in action at my local VA clinic, maybe some of you have.

It would be nice to have the doctor listen to you for once, but I'm not sure I want to spend an hour talking to him and other veterans in my "peer-support group" about how I want to succeed in life. I usually just want to get my meds and leave as soon as possible. I'm old school like that.

What do you folks think?


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