Word began to break mid-summer of two developments at the Veteran’s Administration related to the giant agency’s integrative whole health effort. One was that Tracy Gaudet, MD, the charismatic founding director of the VA’s Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation that birthed the initiative was moving on. The immediate response of many is concern. Yet the news came concurrently with word that the VA’s initiative is expanding from the initial 18 to 37 new sites. Even with leadership change at the top of the VA, the initiative is secure and strongly supported. I connected with Ben Kligler, MD, MPH, Gaudet’s colleague who is presently acting director for an update.
“Health care transformation is no longer optional; it is an absolute imperative.” The bold statement helps introduce a white paper Pediatric Integrative Medicine: Vision for the Future from a set of mainly academically-oriented pediatricians associated with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Rampant levels of obesity, inactivity, and prescription medications, in US children solicit ready agreement. “The field of pediatrics is at a crossroads. The health of our children—our future—is at stake. The prevalence rates of myriad chronic pediatric health conditions continue to rise at an unprecedented pace.”