Our Values and Mission
We all need better education and access to information about health problems, health care systems, health care options, and the global impact of dominant health ideologies.
We need to be fluent and communicative with providers in diverse systems of health care. We need to know how trauma creates disease, and conversely, how emotional health can solve physical problems. We need to understand the health beliefs of our neighbor next door, as well as the health beliefs of our providers and policy makers. We need a better understanding of environmental health risks and the socio-economic injustices that institutionalize illness. Most importantly, we need to know how to support, advocate, and navigate health care systems for ourselves and others we care about.
U.S. health ideology tends to prioritize and even idolize individual health responsibility. This contributes to a cultural assumption that health is only an individual matter. This is not only an assumption of conventional medicine. The increasing popularity of “lifestyle” medicine further reinforces the idea that sickness and wellness are both a result of individual choices and efforts—whether that effort is expended by the patient or the practitioner.
However, we are all enmeshed in family systems, networks of health services, communities of choice, and communities of location. Though our personal choices affect our health, we need community support and community opportunities to attain wellness. When our community is weak, atomized, or a hazard in itself, our personal choices will always be undermined. In order to attain wellness, we need to co-create better communities to lift us up in our personal health journeys.
On the ground, this means advocating for safer water and air, healthier workplaces, and food sovereignty. It means that practitioners of divergent medical systems (conventional, functional, traditional) should be in communication and collaboration with one another … rather than engaging in competition for patients’ minds, bodies, and bank accounts.
We emphasize empathy first, and agency second. No one, no one, should be shamed or punished for their state of health. Even if wellness feels like a personal triumph, disease is never a moral failing. We all carry different health burdens. Every individual and community health burden is an opportunity for care, not a platform for judgment. Frankly, judgment is also inefficient. We must not let it slow our path towards global wellness.
We recognize that unequal access to health care is an ongoing problem around the world. The causes may include socio-economic and institutional injustice, dominant and destructive health care ideologies, lack of comprehensive health education, and ongoing exposure to environmental and occupational hazards. Solving these global problems is a moral imperative and will require the collaboration of diverse groups of practitioners, patients, and community members.
Health institutions are too often guilty of abusing public trust through the masking of sources of funding and revenue for health promotion, pharmaceutical development, insurance coverage, and clinical care services. At GWL, to the best of our ability, we will be transparent in discussing the sources of our income and open to feedback in every sector and stage of our organization.
GWL is not a non-profit. Rather, GWL is a start-up educational business that relies on commissions from nutraceutical sales, educational course offerings, and podcast donations by GWL members. While we need to sustain ourselves through our work, when possible, we will use a percentage of GWL sales to contribute to other organizations that further health literacy and justice. We will also provide training scholarships in GWL courses for emerging practitioners in need. Furthermore, we will do our best to give voice to innovative practitioners around the world who align with our values and mission.
Ultimately, what we earn from our services will allow us to continue offering transformative health resources and diverse training opportunities for health professionals.