Gesundheit! Institute expanding Locust Creek facility
The Gesundheit! Institute is expanding its training center for medical caregivers with the addition of a new library and teaching center.
Wildman Adams, institute land manager, said a 40,000 volume research library would be finished before spring, when construction of a new 25,000 square-feet teaching center would begin.
The Gesundheit! complex currently includes: a three-story arts and performance center; a 20-person dormitory, known as the Dacha, designed by world renowned architect Dave Sellers; a farmhouse used as a social and dining area; and a blacksmith shop in a garage next to the arts center.
The library is now under construction adjacent to the art center. The teaching center will be located next to the Dacha - excavation for which is already complete.
Throughout the year, the institute hosts about 125 students and volunteers for a variety of training programs. When the teaching center is complete, Gesundheit! hopes to increase that number to about 200.
The institute's ultimate goal is construction of a 40-bed clinic at the Locust Creek complex - which Adams said will be a model for changing the health care system and society. Care will be free of charge and based on friendship and compassion.
Adams said the new teaching center's infrastructure, including an industrial kitchen, was a necessary step toward construction of the clinic.
The institute teaches holistic medical care, a concept that takes into account all aspects of a patient's psychological, physical, social and mental needs. The Gesundheit! Institute website describes the organization as "a project in holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the world, and the health care system itself."
Adams said the institute was working to improve the well-being of care providers, as well as patients.
"The routine that doctors go through is torturous," he said. "You could stay up for three days if you have emergencies all the time. Residencies are anti-people. The whole medical profession is designed not-for-people. We're designing a health care delivery that will not only benefit the health of the care receiver, but it will benefit the health caregiver, as well."
Adams said many doctors quit the profession.
"Many, if not most, doctors burn out after 10 years and do something else - once they pay off their loans," he said.
Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams, Wildman's older brother, started the Gesundheit! Institute in 1971 with a group of friends. Between 1971 - 1983, institute doctors provided free medical care to an estimated 15,000 patients at a house in Northern Virginia. The institute moved to Pocahontas County in 1983 as a training center, with the ultimate goal of construction of a free clinic.
Over the course of 40 years, the institute has provided care to tens of thousands and built and supported clinics, schools, and orphanages across the globe. For more information, see www.patchadams.org.