Every year, we celebrate World Health Day to increase global health awareness. The theme of this year’s World Health Day is Building a fairer, healthier world. The past year has magnified the health disparities and lack of equitable access to quality healthcare worldwide. (7) Numerous factors can negatively influence well-being and contribute to health disparities, including gender inequality and limited access to essentials, such as food, healthcare, housing, education, employment opportunities, and clean air and water. These factors can increase the risk of largely preventable illnesses and premature death while simultaneously negatively affecting global societies and economies. (7)

To celebrate World Health Day, this article outlines some exceptional organizations that have made it their mission to make integrative healthcare accessible to underserved populations at home and across the globe. By partnering with the amazing organizations outlined in this article, Fullscript is able to play a small role in building a fairer and healthier world.

 

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The quality and type of healthcare to which you have access is largely influenced by the location in which you’re born, live, or work. (7)

 

Naturopaths Without Borders

Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB) is a non-profit organization focused on closing the global health equity gap. NWB offers services such as training, education, economic development, and integrative healthcare, and provides communities with the tools they need to successfully adopt sustainable practices such as gardening and sanitation.

With a team of naturopathic doctors, students, and other healthcare providers, NWB works with communities in various underserved countries around the world, including Haiti, Mexico, and Thailand. In the United States, NWB has partnered with Peacework Medical in Phoenix, Arizona to provide a free clinic for uninsured individuals of the LGBTQIA community, with a focus on providing care to transgender people. (5)

Integrative Healers Action Network

Integrative Healers Action Network (IHAN) is an organization that provides resources and trauma-informed integrative healthcare to communities in the United States impacted by natural disasters. As a partner of the American Red Cross, IHAN also provides its services to first responders and essential workers. Their mission is to provide care to trauma-stricken communities that have been devastated by climate crises and to offer the support and resources they need to build resilience. Examples of free integrative healthcare services offered by IHAN include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Homeopathy
  • Massage therapy
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Naturopathic and functional medicine
  • Osteopathy

Founded in 2017, IHAN’s strategy and efforts have continued to evolve given the current global health crisis. Despite changes to evacuation protocols resulting from physical distancing recommendations, IHAN served over 100 individuals in person and over 1,000 virtually in 2020. In response to the global health crisis, their team of integrative practitioners have also developed a virtual collection of helpful resources available to practitioners and the public to address stress, anxiety, pain, immune health, trauma, and resilience. (2)

Integrative Medicine 4 the UnderServed

Integrative Medicine 4 the UnderServed (IM4US) consists of a team of multidisciplinary healthcare providers dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion in healthcare. Through outreach, education, research, and advocacy, IM4US supports practitioners who provide care for underserved communities. (3)

IM4US also organizes yearly conferences for healthcare practitioners to improve equity and inclusivity in integrative healthcare. This year’s theme is Decolonizing Medicine: Toward Equity and Inclusivity in Integrative Healthcare, which will cover numerous themes, including strategies to address social and structural determinants of health, environmental racism and cultural misappropriation in healthcare, and the importance of promoting trauma-informed, affordable, and culturally-safe healthcare. (4)

Institute for Natural Medicine

Institute for Natural Medicine (INM) strives to make naturopathic medicine more accessible to all and increase public awareness about natural medicine. INM’s community program, Naturally Well, features a child health and wellness class offered through community organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs and the YMCA. These classes, which are led by naturopathic doctors, teach children the basics about cooking, gardening, and the importance of establishing healthy habits to achieve lifelong health and well-being. (1)

SCNM Sage Foundation

Located in Arizona’s largest county, Maricopa County, the SCNM Sage Foundation funds a total of six community clinics staffed by licensed physicians and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM) medical students. These clinics offer free or low cost services to various populations in Arizona, including women and children experiencing or recovering from homelessness and related trauma, patients recovering from HIV/AIDS, and individuals recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Third and fourth-year medical students are trained to treat chronic and acute health conditions and help patients improve their health and lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise, and stress management. They serve a diverse patient population and provide a wide range of treatments, including nutrition counseling, botanical medicine, physical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, and prescription medications. (6)

The bottom line

Are you curious how you can do your part to improve health equity and help communities impacted by food insecurity, limited access to healthcare services, safe housing, water, or other essentials? Consider donating your time, money, or other resources to any of the organizations featured here or an organization that aligns with your values. Share this article with others in your network to help spread the word, and if you know of other organizations doing great work in the community or abroad, share them in the comments below.

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  1. Institute for Natural Medicine. (2020). Institute for Natural Medicine | Focused on whole patient health. https://naturemed.org/
  2. Integrative Healers Action Network. (2021). Integrative Healers Action Network. https://www.integrativehealersactionnetwork.org/
  3. Integrative Medicine for the Underserved. (2021a). IM4US – About us. https://im4us.org/
  4. Integrative Medicine for the Underserved. (2021b). IM4US – Conference. https://im4us.org/Conference
  5. Naturopaths Without Borders. (2021, March 16). Naturopaths Without Borders. Naturopaths Without Borders – Empowering Communities Worldwide with Naturopathic Care. https://nwb.ngo/
  6. SCNM Sage Foundation. (2021). SCNM Sage Foundation | Community clinics in AZ. SCNM. https://www.sage.scnm.edu/
  7. World Health Organization. (2021). World health day 2021. WHO. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2021