A Dream Come True
Total Health Physician Group started as a dream in the mind of Dr. Robert Spady, a Loma Linda University medical school graduate. Spady had become frustrated with the limitations of his practice in a fast-paced, high-volume clinic. He felt medicine should be a ministry, and he longed to take more time to help his patients as whole people—physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. He took to heart the words of Ellen White, who wrote of a physician’s unique opportunity for outreach, “… you are qualified to do tenfold more good as a missionary for God than if you were to go forth merely as a preacher of the word.”
Early in his life, as an aspiring teenage athlete, Dr. Spady discovered the critical role lifestyle, disease prevention and spirituality play in overall wellness, and it soon became a personal passion. He ran across a book in his home library, White’s Counsels on Diets and Foods, and it changed his perspective. “I discovered that if I put those health principles into practice I could jump higher and play basketball better,” he recalls. “That realization was such a gift to me that I’ve always wanted to share it.”
From there, Spady learned that if he wanted good physical health, he needed good spiritual health. And in the process of pursuing this goal, he fell in love with God. And this experience became so life-changing, he found he wanted to pass it on to others.
Through college and medical school, the dream lingered in the back of his mind, but Dr. Spady was unsure how to fulfill it. It took a conversation with his local pastor and prayerful guidance from the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for the dream to finally take tangible form.
“I’m looking for something more than what I have in my practice,” he told them. “I want to combine physical and spiritual healing in a new way, and I need help from the church.” Conference leaders quickly expressed their support and commitment, and in 2000 an experiment called Community Health Care of the Palouse began.
Total Health Physician Group Today
Since we opened, that “experiment” has grown to include two clinics in Moscow, ID, and Pullman, WA. As Dr. Spady ministers to his patients each day, he keeps an eye to the future and phase two of his dream: a refined clinic model so easy to set up that every Seventh-day Adventist church could have one.
“For too long we’ve separated physical health from spiritual health,” he says. “When we combine them, we believe it will change the lives of our patients and revitalize our churches with a new kind of ministry and service. And while it’s a journey we’re only beginning, it’s one we believe is worth taking. ”You can read more about our clinics in an article published in the Adventist Review.