our practice philosophy

Health Is More than Just Being Free from Illness, It is a State of Well-Being and Wholeness.

My philosophy of good health can be summed up by the borrowed phrase, “health is not a destination, but rather a journey.”  This belief stems from the training I received in Primary Care Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City in the 1990s.

My training imparted to me a sense that health is more than just biology.  Most medical training focuses on the “biomedical model.” The biomedical model posits that disease is a deviation from the normal function by means of developmental anomalies, or by acquired conditions such as injury, infection, etc.  I believe that is only part of the story in understanding health and disease. 

Health is More than Just Biology

There are other influences on our health.  Economic, social, and psychological factors also exert influence on health. The paradigm that subscribes to this notion is called the “biopsychosocial model.”

In this paradigm, health consists of interconnected systems that interact with one another.  Whereas a blood clot may be the causative agent leading to a heart attack, many factors lead to that event.  For example, an individual with a genetic predisposition for heart disease living in a lower socio-economic class may be unable to afford healthy foods such as lean meats, whole grains, and fresh vegetables. Their subsequent high carb, high fat diet leads to earlier heart disease and death.

The Role of Psychology in Disease

Psychology plays a large part in disease. For example, it is well known that diabetics with depression can expect heart disease to progress at a faster pace than diabetics without a mood disorder. In turn, the psychology of a person is dependent not only on genetic factors but also on social ones.  Social systems affect psychological ones, and they all affect health/biology. It is well known that stress leads to poor health. A person grieving the loss of a spouse is at higher risk of adverse health outcomes.  

Local and national healthcare leaders increasingly understand that one cannot improve healthcare without engaging patient behavior.  Our choices in life determine our health.  We cannot address the nation’s health without dialogue about lifestyle choices.   Additionally, optimal patient care occurs when a team-based approach is applied.  Medicare has introduced the Medical Home concept, which stresses a team approach.  Teams include providers, office staff, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists, and others, all working together to achieve better outcomes.

Understanding Risk and Empowering Patients

At Blackburn Primary Care, we believe in addressing all the factors affecting health, including psychological and social ones.  We believe in engaging patients to learn health-promoting behaviors.  I continue to believe that patient education is a fundamental part of health maintenance. 

A person who is aware of their general and specific risks is a person who is empowered. .  Knowing and acting on the risks of genetics and personal habits are fundamental to one’s long-term health prognosis. We want to help you understand these factors and guide you to better health.  Sustaining that health is a process, and we want to be there with you on your journey.  I hope you join our team on that journey.