C Everett Koop 1916 – had experienced homeopathy as a child, and this inspired him to become a doctor. He understands that the healing process begins with communicative interaction between patient and healer.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s drkoop.com recently staged a much-heralded initial public offering; the site includes discussion forums and general health information on all types of medicine, conventional and alternative. How refreshing! Koop runs the largest practice in the USA with over 1 million patients. He believes the best prescription is knowledge. This website has 66,000 pages and 130 chatrooms for support groups. He also organized a workshop on self-help and proclaimed that “the future of health care in these troubled times requires cooperation between organized medicine and self-help groups.” Koop also said that “a partnership between professional traditional care and the self-help movement can provide a superior service.”
In his foreword to Mark Livingstone’s Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, C. Everett Koop indicates that this is an opportune time to examine alternative treatments and that 80% of the World’s population depends on alternative health approaches, and one third of Americans and one fifth of all Canadians use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. Koop also wrote the foreword to James S Gordon’s book Holistic Medicine.
In his 1988 Report on Nutrition and Health, Koop pointed out that “dietary imbalances” are the leading preventable contributors to premature death in the U.S. and recommended the expansion of nutrition and lifestyle-modification education for all health care professionals. This was borne out by the Centers for Disease Control which state that 54% of heart disease, 37% of cancer, 50% of cerebrovascular disease and 49% of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is preventable through lifestyle modification (so much for Pharmageddon!) Koop has said that eight out of every nine diseases are preventable. (Fries et al, N.E.J.M., Reducing Health Care Costs by Reducing the Need and Demand for Medical Services. July 29, 1993).
Koop is so concerned about this that the Google Health web site is sponsored by C. Everett Koop’s Institute whose aims are to support informed individuals as they seek to take charge of their health and well-being, to continually reaffirm the physician-patient and teacher-learner relationships as the heart and soul of medicine and education, and to promote and support respect, to enable the right to adequate and accurate information, and to foster compassion for all people. His vision is to envision the day when society, including individuals and communities, employees and employers, programs and institutions, and government work together to promote the health and well-being of all people.
Koop also makes National Health Awards to outstanding projects every year.
Time Warner has produced and distributed a series of medical self-help videotapes to pharmacies, health maintenance organizations, and managed-care networks. These are the videos that have been promoted in ads on television and in popular magazines. The ads feature Koop.
“I see a new health care emerging based on a healing partnership between doctor and patient, one in which doctors welcome questions from patients and take the time to go behind the immediate symptoms.”
In 2001, the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Strategies says that:
“At the College of Physicians, our own Koop Center was established for two reasons: patients want and need to be more involved in caring for their own health” so “Our goal in the Koop Center is to help empower patients by providing them with credible knowledge and accurate information.”
“The best prescription is knowledge.”
C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States
Way to go Mr. Koop!