NYAPRS Note: In response to patient demand and the inspiring personal experience of its director Catherine Abate, a NYC health center is planning to add an array of holistic treatments, including yoga, meditation, acupuncture, energy healing and reiki.
The Downtown Health Center is planning to add these ‘alternatives’ as benefits to those they serve at a low cost, augmented by fundraising.
Downtown Health To Add Holistic Offerings
Crain’s Health Pulse October 22, 2013
The Downtown Health Center on the Lower East Side is adding holistic treatments, raising funds and training staff in such areas as nutrition, yoga and acupuncture. Part of the Community Healthcare Network, the health center may be able offer a holistic, integrative health program this winter, said Catherine Abate, CHN's president. The facility would continue to offer traditional medical services alongside alternative therapies such as yoga, healthy cooking and nutrition classes, acupuncture, energy healing and meditation. The center will evaluate the holistic programs as they are introduced.
Ms. Abate had two reasons to move toward holistic medicine. One was persistent requests from the center's patients. "We've had focus groups and have seen demand for acupuncture, yoga, herbal medicine and reiki or meditation," she said.
The other reason: her own diagnosis in May 2012 with stage-four uterine cancer that had metastasized to other parts of her body.
Ms. Abate soon started chemotherapy, changed her diet and engaged a life coach—knowing her doctor had given her 12 months to live. Sixteen months later, "I'm feeling good; I go to work every day, and I have little cancer left," she said.
She attributes her recovery in part to her dedication to her own care. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for my involvement in my own care," she said.
She hopes that by offering wellness programs alongside traditional medical treatment, the center will encourage more patient engagement. "It's about giving patients information that's useful to them, not just in the exam room, but when they go home," she said. "Improving every patient's connection and involvement in their care, we believe, will produce better health outcomes."
But the center's biggest challenge will be to fund the programs, which most insurers don't cover. CHN hopes to offer holistic services at a low cost to patients. CHN is holding a benefit today to fund the holistic program.