Karen Lawson, MD

Students will be different consumers and practitioners of integrative care


The future of integrative and holistic care is in the hands of students, many of whom have had exposure to therapies well before pursuing a degree. Dr. Karen Lawson discusses the importance of these young doctors to the future of medicine.

The Interview

The way that information is out there, people have access to so many more perspectives, on life, and living, and healing, than we used to have. When I get approached by 18-19-year-olds that have the self-awareness of saying, “I want to go into healing work, and work with people. And I don’t know if being a physician is the path to go. I don’t know if I want to do that really reductionistic kind of thing.” They’re already thinking about their own life experience differently, to really open up the range of how they might want to work with individuals as they move ahead.

I think this is really a great opportunity that people can expand being aware of those things, versus when I trained there were people who were already done with their medical training who were like, “Wow, I just heard about this naturopathy school. I’m going to go back and study now. I wish I’d known about that 15 years ago.” So I do think the word is spreading, it’s coming up through the grassroots.

The other cool thing is the students, kind of 18 to 25-year-olds set now; many of them come out of households where they’ve been raised with different kinds of health and healing. They have parents that are chiropractors or acupuncturists or they’ve grown up doing yoga. They were raised with macrobiotics. It’s a whole different ball game and they’re not willing to step into conventional medical training if that means giving up a life of any happiness or balance. They think there’s another way to do it, and I think they’re going to be the people that are really going to be and see change, because they are demanding new ways to learn and new ways to practice.

That’s going to help rapidly advance the field of both holistic and integrative healthcare, because they’re going to be different consumers, and they’re going to be different practitioners.

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