By: Aarika Copeland | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: November 2023
Dr. Nathan Williams, Value, Inc. photo by TG Photography
In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken significant strides in revolutionizing the way it delivers healthcare to Veterans. Recognizing that a person’s health is not limited to their physical well-being, the VA has introduced a holistic approach called VA Whole Health. By integrating traditional medicine practices with a broader focus on the whole person, the VA can provide Veterans with individualized health plans that encompass all areas of their lives. “We want to identify and address any needs our Veterans may have and support those needs in addition to traditional healthcare,” Dr. Nathan Williams, Whole Health Clinical Director for Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System, said.
Each Veteran’s health plan may involve a combination of traditional medical treatments, complementary therapies, lifestyle adjustments, and support from VA resources. By combining these elements, the VA aims to maximize the potential for positive health outcomes and overall well-being.
“We have an opportunity to offer comprehensive health care that is either difficult to find or unavailable in the private sector. Veterans are multifactorial, not just physical, and once we know what is really motivating this person in their pursuits in life, we can align our recommendations with what’s most important to them,” Dr. Williams said.
Prior to joining the VA, Dr. Williams had a remarkable experience at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he worked as a clinical research associate and as a physiologist. During his time there, he had the privilege of interacting with young lives and witnessing miracles unfold every day. “It was an honor of my life to be able to serve at St. Jude. Sometimes difficult but such a rewarding experience,” he said.
Dr. Williams found a different fulfillment within the VA. Coming from a strong military family, the VA held a familial aspect that resonated deeply with him. It allowed him to, “serve Veterans on this side of their commitment.” Dr. Williams recognized the unique challenges faced by Veterans and their families, which motivated him to pursue a career within the VA.
The transition from being the first staff chiropractor to the role of Whole Health Clinical Director for Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System was a testament to Dr. Williams’ dedication and expertise. He brought his experience and compassion from working with children at St. Jude to the Veterans he now serves.
Another way Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System shows its ongoing commitment to its Veterans is through initiatives like the Whole Health Veterans Week Walk. This annual event — slated this year for Nov 8. at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Health facility in Muskogee, Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa, and at Eastern Oklahoma CBOC locations — invites VA employees, caregivers, and Veterans to take part in a 2-kilometer walk, with keynote speakers who emphasize the importance of remembering, honoring, and supporting Veterans. Those who wish to support their local Veterans can do so by volunteering their time and skills to the VA closest to them. “It’s giving back to such a deserving population of patients,” Dr. Williams said.
VA Whole Health recognizes and focuses on several key areas that can significantly affect a veteran’s health as The Circle of Health elements:
During the initial appointment with a referring provider on the VA campus, the veteran’s journey toward Whole Health begins with the MAP question. The provider will start the conversation by asking the veteran, “What is most important to you?” This question serves as a powerful tool to understand the veteran’s priorities and goals in life.
Based on the veteran’s response, the provider will evaluate whether a Whole Health consult would be beneficial. If the veteran desires to improve their overall well-being, explore holistic approaches to healthcare, or seek support in achieving their personal health goals, the provider may recommend a Whole Health consult.
Following this initial appointment, the VA will take the steps to set up an Intro to Whole Health appointment for the veteran.
The Intro to Whole Health appointment is a vital step in the veteran’s journey toward whole-person care and well-being. This appointment typically lasts for one hour and can be conducted in person or virtually.
The session begins with an introduction to the various components of Whole Health and their significance in achieving optimum well-being. The veteran will better understand why it is important to consider and address each aspect of their health, including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
After the introductory portion, the veteran will engage in a Personal Health Inventory (PHI). This inventory is a thorough assessment that evaluates the veteran’s current state of well-being across the eight components of Whole Health and appraises where they currently stand and where they aspire to be in each category using a scale of 1 to 5.
Through this process, the veteran will gain a clearer understanding of their own aspirations and the areas they would like to focus on in their journey towards better health and well-being.
Based on the information gathered from the Personal Health Inventory (PHI), the Whole Health Provider will develop a personalized plan for the veteran that considers their individual aspirations and goals. This plan will integrate both traditional healthcare approaches and holistic approaches to provide comprehensive support for the veteran’s well-being.
The plan may include a combination of services and interventions tailored to the veteran’s specific needs and preferences. Services may include journaling, mindfulness, guided imagery, music therapy, art therapy, gardening groups, group or one-on-one life coaching, yoga, and Tai chi.
1011 Honor Heights Dr. | Muskogee, OK
8921 S Mingo Rd | Tulsa, OK
The satisfaction of seeing a well-executed plan come together is a rewarding experience, and David Harris, the owner and operator of Better Air Duct Cleaning, is no exception. ... Read more »
Save time and money on all your cabinetry and woodwork. It’s shocking how much new cabinetry, interior doors and baseboards can cost, not to mention long waits for delivery and installation. ... Read more »
As the golden hues of autumn give way to the twinkling lights of winter, Claremore transforms into a festive wonderland, reminiscent of those heartwarming scenes straight out of a holiday movie. ... Read more »
If you’ve never remodeled your home, or even just a room in your home, the project can be daunting. Where do you start? Who do you call? Better yet, who can you trust? ... Read more »
Amidst the flurry of the Medicare Annual Election Period, recipients may face a storm of notices stuffed in their mailboxes, a downpour of television ads, and a gale of persistent phone calls. ... Read more »