Dan Rhon, PT, DSc, says the need to treat the whole patient extends far beyond the patient's health.
"The Army's surgeon general has determined that this is a matter of national security, because if you look at current trends, by the year 2030 we will not have a fit enough society to serve in our military and all of our community positions such as police officers and fire fighters," Rhon observes. "These jobs all require some sort of physical and health component. From that perspective—and the military's a snapshot of society—it's a big problem," he says. Rhon is a clinical scientist for the Geneva Foundation, which supports innovative medical research and excellence in education in the US Department of Defense (DoD).
The concept of holistic health care—whether in the military or elsewhere—isn't new. In 2013, Vice Admiral Matthew Nathan, surgeon general of the US Navy, wrote, "the implications [of poor health] on military readiness are profound," but praised a collaborative approach that "allows us to embed within a primary care environment the psychologists, nutritionists, tobacco-cessation specialists, mind-body medicine therapists, and health educators our patients need in order to develop and maintain mindful, healthy behaviors—along with the ‘mental armor' our active duty military personnel need to increase their operational effectiveness and their resiliency in bouncing back from stressful situations."1