Physicians of the Future
Doctor-Influencers, Patient-Consumers, and the Business of Functional Medicine
336 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 3 b&w illustrations
Sales Date: May 21, 2024
The first scholarly exploration of the forums, practice, and economics of functional medicine.
Physicians of the Future interrogates the hidden logics of inclusion and exclusion in functional medicine (FM), a holistic form of personalized medicine that targets chronic disease. Rosalynn Vega uncovers how, as “wounded healers,” some FM practitioners who are former chronic disease sufferers turn their illness narratives into a form of social capital, leveraging social media to relate to patients and build practices as “doctor-influencers.” Arguing that power and authority operate distinctly in FM when compared to conventional medicine, largely because FM services are paid for out of pocket by socioeconomically privileged “clients,” Vega studies how FM practitioners engage in entrepreneurship of their own while critiquing the profit motives of the existing healthcare system, pharmaceutical industry, and insurance industry. Using data culled from online support groups, conferences, docuseries, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, and TED Talks, as well as her own battles with chronic illness, Vega argues that FM practices prioritize the individual while inadvertently reinscribing inequities based on race and class. Ultimately, she opens avenues of possibility for FM interlocutors wrestling with their responsibility for making functional medicine accessible to all.
- Prelude. Treat the Person, Not the Disease
- Chapter 1. Is Functional Medicine Pseudoscience?
- Interlude. Mapping Out My Systems Biology
- Chapter 2. Wounded Healers
- Interlude. Taking the Reins
- Chapter 3. Relational Shifts
- Interlude. The Three Cs
- Chapter 4. Digitized Patient Communities
- Chapter 5. Doctor-Influencers
- Chapter 6. Ancient Healing Traditions
- Chapter 7. Big Pharma and Health Insurance
- Chapter 8. Group Visits
- Conclusion. Looking Forward: Opportunities for Health Justice
- Appendix: Persons Described in This Book
- Works Cited
The publication of Physicians of the Future was made possible by the support of the William and Bettye Nowlin Endowment in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere.