Conventional medicine has evolved over the years to have an attitude of a “pill for an ill,” but Dr. Robert Graham of FRESH Med in Brooklyn, NY, is working to change that in favor of getting to the root cause of disease using a food-first approach. Graham sat down with WellBe to talk about FRESH Med’s unique, collaborative approach to patient care, including their five pillars of health and well-being.
Graham started out as an internal medicine doc and then got his Master’s of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health while also getting a fellowship in Integrative Medical Therapies at Harvard Medical School. After his training at Harvard, he practiced at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where he started the first education and edible rooftop garden at a hospital in a city. Both patients and employees got to enjoy the fresh produce, and the point of the garden was really to teach those giving medical care and those receiving it that food is truly the best medicine. The rooftop garden closed due to hospital politics and Dr. Graham decided to start FRESH Med, an integrative health and wellness center in 2016.
They’ve found that addressing these pillars really does the trick when it comes to avoiding a “pill for an ill,” reducing or eliminating the need for conventional medicine. Of course, as a trained doctor, Graham does integrate some conventional medicine approaches into the treatment philosophy of FRESH Med. However, he “cherry picks” only the best of conventional medicine, and only uses it when necessary. In this way, patients get the most out of both conventional and natural approaches to medicine to help them find true healing.
Watch the full WellBe interview for more from Graham, including how growing up in a multi-ethnic, multicultural setting shaped his views on food as medicine, why the food system in hospitals is terrible, his goal to bring farms to more hospitals, how to reform the healthcare system,why medical school education needs to change in order to truly change the healthcare system, why self-care is so important, how health coaching helps patients, the perks of collaborative healthcare, the importance of evidence in treatment, and how to find a legit integrative doctor — plus, Graham’s predictions for the next 20 years of health and wellness.