In this thoughtful Q & A with Institute Founders Brian Berman and Susan Hartnoll Berman, “The Institute for Integrative Health: Igniting an epidemic of health,” they explore how the path to improving health involves not just medicine but an understanding of all the dynamic processes that contribute to wellbeing: economics, nutrition, work, relationships, the environment. The Bermans take a look at where the Institute has been and where it’s going.
We are based right in the heart of inner-city Baltimore; it’s very important to us to connect to our community, even as our work and network extends globally. Baltimore is like a microcosm of the rest of the United States, a wonderful city but with all the problems that result from years of terrible racial injustice and social inequities. We work on a ‘train the trainer’ type model to give people the tools to help themselves and then spread it to others. For example, one of the big challenges in disadvantaged neighbourhoods is the ability to eat healthy, affordable food. We invite people into our teaching kitchen, we go out into their communities, and we work with an urban farm teaching experiential cooking classes that help people prepare healthy meals on a very limited budget. It creates a community while we’re doing it, and at the same time allows us to train the people there to go forth and spread it.