Featured Plenary Speakers


Thursday, April 11

Rüdiger Krech, PhD (Bio)

Director, Department of Health Promotion
World Health Organization (WHO)

08:30 - 09:30 - Plenary 01

Whole of Society Approaches in Health Promotion - The Way Towards Well-Being Societies

Health is created, by and large, outside of the health care sector. It is created in settings in which people live, learn, work, age, play and google. Health can be promoted through decisions in policy sectors such as education, transport, finance, agriculture, trade or housing, just to mention a few. Therefore, the promotion of health requires a “whole of government” approach. At the same time, the promotion of health requires different stakeholder groups to work together: policy makers, researchers, civil society and private sector representatives. Therefore, WHO promotes a “whole of society” approach to health promotion.


The COVID 19 pandemic has shown that we need resilient societies in order to better deal with pandemics in the future. There is an urgency to create sustainable “well-being societies”, committed to achieving equitable health now and for future generations without breaching ecological limits. Well-being societies require investments that integrate planetary, societal, community and individual health and well-being, as well as changes in social structures to support people to take control of their lives and health. Fundamental redirection of societal values and action consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are needed. 


Nicole Redvers, ND, MPH, DPhilc (Bio)
Associate Professor, Director Indigenous Planetary Health
Western University

16:30 - 17:15 - Plenary 02

Traditional Indigenous Medicine: An Exploration of Healing

Indigenous Peoples are resilient peoples with deep traditional knowledge and healing traditions that span millennia. Yet, in the spirit of scientific hegemony that has pervaded most branches of Western science and clinical practice, distinctive worldviews have not been adequately honored. In this presentation, Indigenous methodologies and ‘ways of knowing’ will be discussed through the lens of Traditional Indigenous Medicine with a special focus on Land-based healing approaches.


Friday, April 12

Lama Michel Rinpoche (Bio)
Kunpen Lama Gangchen

08:30 - 09:30 - Plenary 03

Nurturing Whole-Person Well-Being through Spirituality

Spirituality: A Need, Not a Choice

Humans have long sought ways to find balance and well-being. Body and mind are deeply connected on many levels, if not two manifestations of the same entity. Everything in our emotions and thoughts impacts our body, and vice versa. Caring for every aspect of ourselves is essential for cultivating physical and mental health.


Spiritual traditions have developed methods for centuries to help us in this quest. Finding meaning in life, cultivating compassion, and establishing a strong bond of trust are just a few of the aspects that spirituality can help us develop. Spirituality is the inner process of developing our human qualities. Religion is the means used for that process. Spirituality: a need; religion: a choice.


Christina Puchalski, MD, MS, OCDS, FACP, FAAHPM (Bio)

Professor of Medicine,
Executive Director
The GW Institute for Spirituality
and Health, GWISH

Attending to Spiritual Distress: An Essential Component to Compassionate Whole-Person Care

This presentation aims to expound upon the pivotal role of spiritual health as an integral facet of comprehensive and compassionate patient care. It will systematically explore best practices and model frameworks for the seamless incorporation of spiritual care within the framework of modern healthcare systems.




Hubert Lim, PhD (Bio)

Endowed Lions Professor
University of Minnesota

09:30 - 10:15 - Plenary 04
Advancing a Whole Health Approach in Translating Neurotechnologies to Patients

There is a rapidly growing field with remarkable developments in implantable or wearable neurotechnologies for treating a range of health conditions, catalyzed by considerable investments by multiple funders across countries. These neurotechnologies traditionally target a specific physiological system or a focused set of clinical outcomes with limited opportunities for incorporating a whole health approach, which partly stems from efficacy, regulatory and business considerations in the translational process. In my talk, I will share my lab’s positive experiences and challenges in incorporating a human-centered design for translating new neurotechnologies to patients, such as for treating tinnitus and pain. I will also present recent efforts through a large NIH-funded consortium for understanding how the vagus nerve affects multiple physiological systems and clinical outcomes across the body, which can potentially open up opportunities for novel technologies and interventions to leverage the vagus nerve pathways for improving clinical care within a whole health framework.



Tyler VanderWeele, PhD (Bio)

John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

16:45 - 17:45 - Plenary 05
Flourishing in Medicine and Psychiatry

Clinical decisions sometimes affect not only the body, but also the mind, one’s relationships, one’s capacity to work, and numerous other aspects of life. Human well-being or flourishing might be understood as living in a state in which all aspects of a person’s life are good, including one’s happiness and life satisfaction, physical and mental health, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships. While it is arguably not within the purview of medicine to optimize all aspects of individual flourishing, these other aspects of well-being should nevertheless be taken into account in medical decision-making. Flourishing assessments ought often to be included in randomized trial evaluations, especially when side effects might be especially prominent, and should be considered in thinking about the lives of, and care for, both patients and clinicians. Discussion is given to the implications of a broad conception of flourishing for patient care, psychiatry, clinician well-being and burn-out, and the promotion of population health.   



Saturday, April 13

Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH
Professor of Family Medicine and Population Health
Virginia Commonwealth University


Moderated by:

Helene Langevin, MD
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health

11:00 - 12:00 - Plenary 06

Using the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Report on Whole Health Care to Inform Research and Policy

A report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, "Achieving Whole Health: A New Approach for Veterans and the Nation," presents a new way to think about health and a roadmap on how to transform our approach to delivering health care. Dr. Krist will dive in and share how the committee defined whole health as physical, behavioral, spiritual and socio-economic well-being as defined by individuals, families and communities. To achieve this, whole health care is an interprofessional, team-based approach anchored in trusted purpose. Having whole health is fundamentally different from being healthy in a biomedical model. Changing how we deliver care to a whole health approach will take seismic cultural, structural and process changes as well as multisector collaboration and investment. Findings from this report and the recommendations for clinicians, communities and policymakers will be shared. 



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