David Scott Jones, MD

headshot of david jones

Home Institution: Institute for Functional Medicine

Field: Functional Medicine

Current Positions:

My Driving Question

How can health care providers more effectively assess, treat and prevent chronic, complex diseases?

Scholar Project 

The practice of medicine in the 21st century needs a comprehensive and coherent approach for assessing, preventing, and treating complex, chronic diseases in the context of an effective therapeutic patient-caregiver partnership. 

In support of this, Dr. Jones’ project addressed three parallel activities:

  • Content Development and Organization: Dr. Jones devised a useful meta-system for organizing and integrating knowledge about the physiological functions of organ systems and cells into a coherent structure with practical clinical applications.
  • Achieving Therapeutic Partnerships and Healing Relationships: Dr. Jones investigated the underlying processes involved in establishing a healing relationship in the physician-patient partnership.
  • Improving Teaching and Learning: Dr. Jones investigated innovative teaching/learning methodologies appropriate to today’s continuing medical education environment to improve mastery of new clinical practices.

Dr. Jones’ three years with Nova Institute’s Scholars Program had a significant effect on all educational activities at The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), where Jones is president emeritus. The changes in content development and organization of IFM’s training programs now have the evidence-based underpinning that supports the importance of the healing partnership as a cornerstone in IFM’s educational programs. More than 100,000 practitioners from 75 countries have now been introduced to the principles and practice of functional medicine through the educational programs at IFM.

The Institute for Functional Medicine’s Functional Medicine Matrix Model™ of comprehensive care and primary prevention for complex, chronic illnesses is grounded in science (evidence about common underlying mechanisms and pathways of disease; evidence about effective approaches to the environmental and lifestyle sources of disease). On an equal footing, the IFM’s educational programs now teach the science of the art of medicine: the therapeutic partnership and the search for insight within the healing relationship. These two cornerstones of clinical medicine—science and art—have now been integrated into IFM’s teaching and clinical practice in order to achieve a more effective response to patients’ needs, rooted in ethical concerns for dignity, respect, and healing.

Without the support of Nova Institute’s Scholar program, Dr. Jones says it is doubtful that both the theoretical and research basis for these breakthroughs in understanding or the actual operationalization of these concepts into translational clinical applications would have occurred.


David Scott Jones, MD, is president emeritus and a member of the board of directors of The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), where he served as president and director of medical education from 2000 to 2013. 

His area of expertise within the IFM is the focus on the therapeutic partnership between the patient and the practitioner, and the importance of the transition within primary care to the development of healing relationships.

Dr. Jones, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, is a recognized expert in the areas of functional medicine, the science of nutrition and lifestyle changes for optimal health, and managed care, as well as the daily professional functions consistent with the modern specialty of family practice. He is the recipient of the 1997 Linus Pauling Award in Functional Medicine, and over the last two decades, has helped guide the ongoing development of the educational and clinical applications of functional medicine.

IFM provides continuing medical education for physicians and other healthcare professionals. Educational activities focus on assessment and treatment of underlying causes of illness in order to maintain and restore health and improve function using a personalized approach. Dr. Jones has presided over a continuous quality improvement process that has made IFM’s educational programs the most sought after in the field of functional integrative medicine.

He is the past president of PrimeCare, the Independent Physician Association of Southern Oregon, where he served for seven years representing the majority of the 500+ physicians in the Southern Oregon area. He also served as chief of staff at the Ashland Community Hospital and president of the Southern Oregon Society of Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Jones is editor-in-chief and co-author of the Textbook of Functional Medicine, published in 2005 and 2010, and authored Healthy Changes, a patient-centered 16-week workbook that focuses on healthy habits. He was lead author of 21st CENTURY MEDICINE: A New Model for Medical Education and Practice.

Education and Training
  • Post-graduate, University Medical Center, Sacramento, CA
  • MD, University of California at Davis, Medical School
  • Pre-med, California State University at Hayward
  • BS, English literature/linguistics, California State University at San Francisco
Selected Honors
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice 
  • Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine, 9th Annual Integrative Medicine
  • Distinguished Lectureship: “Personalized Medicine: Creating a Healing Partnership” (2011)
  • Program chair of the annual International Symposia on Functional Medicine
  • Recipient of The Linus Pauling Award for Pioneering Work in Functional Medicine (1997)
Selected Publications