Dissolving the dichotomy in health and healthcare

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Integrated Primary Care; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Health Psychology | Health Services Administration | Integrative Medicine | Mental and Social Health | Primary Care | Psychiatry and Psychology


The New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst recently published an article entitled "It's Time to Treat Physical and Mental Health With Equal Intent" (Compton-Phillips and Mohta, 2018). The article describes a survey of the NEJM Catalyst Insights Council, a qualified group (n=565) of U.S. executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians who are directly involved in health care delivery. Ninety nine percent of council members responded that mental health should not only be integrated into ambulatory medical care settings but also embrace a "shared concept of mutual responsibility" (p. 11). As a long-time clinician, educator, and advocate for integrated care, Runyan was so pleased to see this dogmatic statement in a New England Journal of Medicine publication. Labeling disease as either physical or emotional has never served the individual well and may further exacerbate existing stigma and reluctance to seek the most appropriate services. Runyan argues it is time to use intentional language to avoid deconstructing physical and mental health in our discourse or be complicit when others dichotomize measurement and funding. Runyan challenges leaders and aspiring leaders in the field of integrated care to use language and advocate for measures that blur, if not dissolve, this unhelpful and artificial dichotomy.

DOI of Published Version



Fam Syst Health. 2018 Jun;36(2):261-262. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000364. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Families, systems and health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID