The Evidence Behind Whole-Person Primary Care

On April 23, 2024, the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) held a webinar about reimagining primary care to better integrate lifestyle medicine, behavioral health and non-pharmacological interventions. The webinar was part of PCC's initiative aimed at promoting whole-person primary care and lifestyle medicine. Click here to learn more.

Health care is abuzz about the importance of whole-person health.

But what exactly does “whole-person health” mean? What does the evidence show about how well it works? And how can primary care provide care adequately address the whole person?

Panelists summarized research on how interprofessional approaches to whole health—inclusive of physical, behavioral, spiritual and socioeconomic well-being—impacts outcomes, costs, and the experiences of patients and their care teams.

PCC President and CEO Ann Greiner also introduced a new Whole-Person Care and Lifestyle Medicine initiative launched by PCC late last month. 



PCC's initiative on whole-person care and lifestyle medicine is funded by:

Ardmore Institute of Health Logo
Healing Works Foundation Logo


Studies compiled by Dr. Beth Frates on the evidence behind lifestyle medicine:

  • Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, et al. Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease. JAMA. 1998;280(23):2001–2007.
  • Look AHEAD Research Group, Wing RR, Bolin P, et al. Cardiovascular effects of intensive lifestyle intervention in type 2 diabetes [published correction appears in New England Journal of Medicine. 2014 May 8;370(19):1866]. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369(2):145-154.
  • Morton D, Rankin P, Kent L, Dysinger W. The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP): History, Evaluation, and Outcomes. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2014 Apr 22;10(1):64-73. PMID: 30202259; PMCID: PMC6124862.
  • Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, et al. MIND diet slows cognitive decline with aging. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2015;11(9):1015-1022.
  • Wright, N., Wilson, L., Smith, M. et al. The BROAD study: A randomized controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes. Nutrition & Diabetes. 7, e256 (2017).
  • Yoshioka, N., Ishigami, M., Watanabe, Y. et al. Effect of weight change and lifestyle modifications on the development or remission of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: sex-specific analysis. Scientific Reports. 10, 481 (2020).
  • Rehackova L, Taylor R, Lean M, et al. Delivering the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) in primary care: Experiences of healthcare professionals. Diabetic Mediicine. 2022;39(3):e14752.
  • Panigrahi G, Goodwin SM, Staffier KL, Karlsen M.  Remission of Type 2 Diabetes After Treatment With a High-Fiber, Low-Fat, Plant-Predominant Diet Intervention: A Case Series.  American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2023;17(6).
  • Oakes-Cornellissen A, Morton D, Rankin P, Renfrew M. Efficacy of a multimodal lifestyle intervention (The Lift Project) for improving the mental health of individuals with an affective mood disorder living in South Africa. Frontiers in Psychology. 2023;14:1127068. Published 2023 Jan 25.
  • The Science Behind the DASH Eating Plan | NHLBI, NIH
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