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An Audio Montage on Total Health

During the opening of the Center for Total Health in April, we partnered with StoryCorps to collect conversations about health — many of which you’ll be hearing on this blog. In reviewing the recordings captured, we found ourselves inspired by the thoughtful responses given by participants when asked about their definition of the phrase, “total health.” This brief audio clip captures 11 of those responses. After the jump, check out the transcript of the recording and list of participants, in the order of the voices you hear.

Many Voices on Total Health

Audio clip produced by Kaiser Permanente with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.



John Boardman
International President
Unite Here
“Total health for me means that you get the front end, which is what helps you stay healthy, and then a comprehensive delivery system on the back end, in the event that something happens.”
Ceci Connolly
Senior Advisor
McKinsey Center for U.S. Health       System Reform
“I think it means much more than health care. I think it means things like wellness and living a quality life, being fit, being active, having not only an agile body but an agile mind. I suppose in a sense we’re talking about a holistic approach to life.”
Robert Pearl, MD
Executive Director and CEO
The Permanente Medical Group
“It’s the totality of health care, which means you have to have healthy air, you have to have healthy food, and you have to have designs of cities that facilitate exercise. It’s far more than sick care, it’s well care.”
Mark Scrimshire
Co-Editor, Web 2.0 Journal
Co-Founder, Foundation
“I think it’s about self-awareness. And on the other level, it’s really about your emotional, physical, spiritual wellbeing.”
Raymond Baxter, PhD
Senior Vice President, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy
Kaiser Permanente
“Total health, for me, it’s about me in relationship  to others, and it’s about me and my relationship to the places that I’m in.”
Susan Dentzer
Health Affairs
“The things I care about, I’m able to do, and in that sense, I have total health.”
Matthew Holt
Founder and Publisher
The Health Care Blog
“There’s an integration here, right, between what we do to people when they’re sick and people when they’re healthy, and how people act when they’re basically healthy, basically OK. And the two pieces act on each other, and they are related. And the idea is, can you bring those two pieces together?”
Richard McCarthy, MD
Physician-in-Chief, DC and Suburban Maryland Service Area
Kaiser Permanente
“I guess for me, it’s following your passion, doing your best to enjoy every day, and getting the most out of the opportunities that are presented to you.”
Winston Wong, MD
Medical Director, Community Benefit
Kaiser Permanente
“There is an aspect of connectedness. Human beings are essentially social animals. We thrive when we have relationships that are meaningful to us.”
Susan Leggett-Johnson, MD
Associate Medical Director, Human Resources
Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
“Having the spirit of wanting to help those in need; I mean, appreciating life the best that you can—to its fullest.”
Todd Park
Chief Technology Officer
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
“It’s about how you live, how you eat, how you exercise, how you think. You know, how you really live your life. And I think that optimization of your life as a whole, and your wellbeing as whole, is what, to me, total health is all about.”
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