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From Alternative Medicine a Definitive Guide to the Wellness Inventory - An Interview with Pioneering Entrepreneur Jim Strohecker

© John Weeks

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Integrator Blog by John Weeks . View all columns in series
Summary: One of the rarely sung, significant influencers of our field is entrepreneur Jim Strohecker. Some 18 years ago he was executive editor of the 1100 page text, Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide which involved nearly 400 practitioners and organizations. In the mid-1990s, Strohecker co-founded HealthWorld Online, the first aggregator of wellness and alternative medicine-oriented content, services and professionals on the emerging web. More recently, he has not only re-purposed that site as Healthy.net, he also brought forward the work of wellness pioneer John Travis, MD, MPH. He promotes Travis' visionary Wellness Inventory through an online program for integrative medicine centers, hospitals, corporations, spas and individuals, together with a related coach certification training. In this Integrator interview, Strohecker's comments say much about the history of the integrative practice movement of the last 20 years, and its relationship with the broader wellness effort. Enjoy the learning, and for some of you, the recollections!


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Jim Strohecker: Two decades of enterpreneurial action in alternative medicine and wellness
I recently had a catch-up call with Jim Strohecker, CEO of HealthWorld Online. His internet portal (www.healthy.net) re-publishes Integrator articles and sends links to the over 100,000 individuals on his newsletter list. Our conversation shifted from particulars of our relationship to our shared interest in promoting a wellness movement in the United States. He ventured that the U.S. needs an initiative on the scale of the Manhattan project from the 1940s. We spoke of the exciting potential of the new Bravewell-IOM-AARP partnership. Our exchange led to this column: Rocket Science, Manhattan Projects and a Healthy Nation Partnership.

While we spoke, I reflected on Strohecker's many, quiet contributions to this field since he and I first met in the early 1990s. First there was the profound influence of the 1100 page, pioneering Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide for which he served as executive editor. Strohecker and his staff personally worked with nearly 400 practitioners and organizations across the alternative healthcare fields to build that massive text. ("Integrative medicine" didn''t yet exist and "complementary medicine" had not been imported from England.) Then came Strohecker''s early jump into the internet with the launch of HealthWorld Online. More recently he has focused on what he calls "bringing back a whole person perspective" on wellness. His work is centered on the promotion of the online Wellness Inventory developed by pioneer John Travis, MD, MPH after completing his residency at Johns Hopkins in the mid-1970s.

The arc of action and influence of Strohecker''s professional life led me to send him a handful of open-ended questions. I asked him to be brief, caveating this with recognition of my own shortcomings in that department. Strohecker sent back this handiwork from a good day of self-reflection and history telling. Take a breath and enjoy this read. Strohecker''s story elucidates significant aspects of our trajectory toward health and wellness.

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Integrator
: It’s been nearly 2 decades since Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide was published. Those 1100 and some pages gave the consumer movement for alternative medicine “drop value” back then - hard covered, weighty and un-deniable if not exactly legitimate. In some respect it was a first consortium effort with all those contributors. What was it like to be pulling that book together. What was it’s reception, it’s value?

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About The Author
Resumes are useful in employment decisions. I provide this background so that you may understand what informs the work which you may employ in your own. I have been involved as an organizer-writer in the emerging fields of complementary, alternative and integrative medicine since 1983. Happily, I have learned some things. I was once called an "expert in alternative medicine" by......more
 
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