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Humanity's Quest for Health

Solution to health-care provider shortage might exist in an unexpected place

From the January 2014 issue of The Christian Science Journal

This blog first appeared on the Hartford Faith and Values website at hartfordfavs.com on June 3, 2013.


This morning there are 1.9 million Google responses musing over a projected shortage in the health-care workforce. Considered an impending crisis, public policy institutes and think tanks, individual state commissions, media outlets, the health insurance industry, and more are included in the discussion.

Perhaps, though, the evolving patient-centered care model includes a supply of health-care providers—not previously included—to meet that demand. The Bravewell Collaborative, a foundation established to transform public health, has instituted programs to support patient care that are effective, sustainable, and focused on health. It defines patient-centered care as “a practical strategy, integrative medicine puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.”

What do we know about the complementary and alternative methods that patients are seeking and that could possibly eclipse a projected lack in our health-care provider workforce?

To begin, their services are being driven by a burgeoning public demand. These approaches to care are diverse; their numbers growing. “Americans spend about $1.5 billion annually on books on spirituality and religion, and about 40 percent have sought out complementary and alternative therapies,” according to Harvard Medical School professors John Peteet’s and Michael D’Ambra’s book, The Soul of Medicine: Spiritual Perspectives and Clinical Practice (2011).

I’m one of the millions who make up that 40 percent.

For me, a regular practice of spirituality and prayer has led to a healthy way to enjoy life. By way of an example, about five years ago I was diagnosed with a very painful condition that
required surgery. I decided to approach the problem instead through prayer. Physical transformation by focusing on the word of God was first written about several thousand years ago. For instance, the book of Proverbs tells us, “My son, attend to my words; … keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:20–23, Amplified Bible). And this is what I experienced. The pain disappeared and has not returned.

Along with a number of others, spiritual care is a solution that public policy institutes and think tanks, individual state commissions, media outlets, and the health insurance industry should consider.


Linda Ross is the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Connecticut. She’s also a Christian Science practitioner.

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