While health reform is a well discussed topic these days, the focus of this discussion has mostly centered on the economic/financial issues surrounding health care. According to Leila Kozak, Saybrook alumni and faculty in the College of Mind-Body Medicine, the mass media has not yet told the story of what is already happening in today’s health care. There is an ongoing movement that is transforming the “culture of care.” People – consumers, health care providers and administrators – are all calling for a new way of doing health care. You can see evidence of this movement all over in clinical settings, medical education, as well as the organizational development realm.
The transformation of the culture of care is largely driven by consumers who are asking for an active role in their health care. A big part of this transformation involves bringing complementary therapy services into conventional western medical settings. Hospitals around the country are paying attention to this call for a new type of health care, what has come to be known as “integrative care.”
Leila has been researching the transformation of the culture of care at the Veteran’s Administration (VA) since 2009. After graduating from Saybrook’s PhD program in February 2007, she applied for a post-doctoral fellowship at Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) in Seattle, WA. HSR&D is the research arm of the Veteran’s Administration, and her’s was the first fellowship focused on the evaluation of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the VA. It was during the development of her fellowship research project that Leila became aware of the term “transformation of the culture of care” and the process of “culture transformation” at the VA. She saw how her research interest in the integration of CAM as psycho-social-spiritual support into palliative care was one important application of this culture transformation. She also came to appreciate the opportunities that we have – as humanistic psychology/mind-body medicine professionals – in working towards the creation of this emerging paradigm in health care. Leila believes that the pioneer work of Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine is supporting the building of a new medicine that is bringing together the “high-tech” with the “high-touch.”