Conscious Health and Healthcare
At Karisha, we’re redefining our common concept of health and healthcare to serve myriad unmet needs in our community. Our new model is based on something we’re calling “Conscious Health and Healthcare.” We’re creating a new framework for a health care system that takes the whole person into account, as individuals and as members of a wider community. The COVID-19 pandemic brought into even sharper focus for many people the inequities in the healthcare system that are a fact of life for Black and brown communities. At Karisha, our mission is to provide whole-person, collaborative care that is accessible to everyone. So what exactly do we mean by Conscious Health and Healthcare?
The conceptual side
Being conscious means being aware. At Karisha we strive to cultivate an awareness of our choices and actions as well as the implications and effects our actions have on others. Awareness of the environment is also a crucial part of conscious health. We believe in the importance of ownership of our health and building systems and structures that contribute to the well-being of all people and our planet.
Health is a word most of us use without thinking too much about what it means. In the United States, our understanding of health (especially in healthcare) is often limited to what’s going on in your physical body. At Karisha, we want to broaden that understanding of health. We believe that health is a state of well-being on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. If we focus all of our health resources and time on addressing purely physical symptoms, we’re missing so many of the elements that actually contribute to well being. Less than 20% of our health is determined by clinical care. The other 80% is shaped by structural factors like housing, safety, economic opportunities, access to fresh and nourishing food, connections to nature, transportation options and work-life balance. For historically under-resourced groups and racial minorities, systemic inequities and institutionalized racism impact these factors and further limit our ability to make healthy choices.
The concept of Conscious Health and Healthcare arose in direct response to a system that only sees individuals in terms of their ailments and ignores/perpetuates systemic inequities. Karisha believes that facing the truth about our individual and collective history is the only way to truly heal. We also want to empower community members to take responsibility for our own health and wellness while understanding there are systemic inequities that must be addressed. Too often, we “outsource” responsibility for our well-being, relying on specialists and medications to deal with our health issues. At Karisha, we’re fully invested in designing a model that shifts ownership of health and healthcare to the community.
The practical side
It’s easy to talk about these ideals for a new model of health and health care, but at Karisha we’re putting them into practice. At our center, we’ll focus on collaboration, not competition. Our medical doctors will work in innovative spaces alongside a range of other practitioners (i.e. acupuncturists, psychologists, chiropractors, nutritionists, health coaches, etc.).
The center itself will represent the fundamental aspects of food as medicine, community, resiliency, mind/body practices, AND medical care. We support the body’s innate capacity to heal, and we want our center to reflect that belief at every level.
Karisha is also committed to financial, cultural, structural, and logistical accessibility, which means that we’ll accept public and private insurance, offer memberships, secure non-profit support); we’ll look like who we serve; we’ll work at a systems level to change payment models and access and logistical accessibility (hours of operation).
This whole-person approach to health extends to the health of every member of the staff. We know that a commitment to practicing self-care begins with our own team. We believe in the old adage, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” We can’t expect healers to heal if they’re overwhelmed or stressed. Karisha’s philosophy promotes work-life balance and self-development to overcome any frustrations or fear of change. We believe this approach will ultimately provide the best outcomes for our communities and joy for providers who deliver care.
One of the other key elements of Karisha’s unique model is how we look at Conscious Health and Healthcare on an individual level. Whole-person healthcare takes into account all of the elements that ultimately affect an individual’s well-being. At Karisha, we believe it’s important to consider all six types of intelligence you see below. Physical intelligence is the foundation of health, but it can’t stand alone. Without motivation, empathy, social skills (emotional intelligence), the ability to have cross-cultural understanding and relationships (cultural and structural intelligence), self-awareness (spiritual intelligence), etc., health is incomplete.
Now more than ever we need to build systems that help people and their communities thrive. Karisha’s Conscious Health and Healthcare model outlines how we develop ourselves & how we interact with our team, guests, and community. It provides:
- A framework for communications, operations, and development
- A plan for self-growth
- An organizational model for our vision of the future of healthcare
It’s time to let go of our narrow understanding of health and healthcare. At Karisha, we’re ready to embrace the messy, multi-faceted, joyful, painful, and complicated parts of ourselves and our communities that ultimately determine how we feel and how we move through the world. Are you ready to join us?