The People's Perspective on Medicine

904 Community-Centered Medical Practice

Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:

Health care today is in flux, with fewer and fewer physicians feeling they have enough time to spend with their patients, and few patients feeling that they are getting real personal attention and care from their doctors. Years ago, Dr. Pamela Wible decided she was through with factory medicine and asked her community what they wanted from her as their family physician. She implemented their suggestions in her Eugene, Oregon, clinic and advocates for other clinicians who want to invite their communities to help design their practices.

How can patients help teach the new generation of doctors to be healers? To do that, we have to move away from a vicious cycle based in fear and approach each other as human beings. Seeing health care as a partnership between patients and doctors can lead to greater satisfaction for both parties.

Warning: Some language in this show refers to sex workers and sex organs.

Guest: Pamela Wible, MD, is a family physician practicing in Eugene, Oregon. Her book is Pet Goats & Pap Smears: 101 Medical Adventures to Open Your Heart & Mind. In addition to her practice and her advocacy for community-designed health care, Dr. Wible offers biannual retreats to help prevent physician burnout, depression and suicide. Her website is

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.




Rate this article
0- 0 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Get the latest health news right in your inbox

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

Screenshots of The People's Pharmacy website on mobile devices of various sizes
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 17 comments
Add your comment

Nice job Dr. Wible.
Change may take a long time but at some point it must happen, makes no sense to continue the way were’re going.

I am also a patient of Dr. Wible (chapter 38 in her book). This interview shows clearly that she has a gift for healing not only the body, but the soul. The skillful way she was able to bring my husband and me in touch with how our bodies work and the type of foods we needed to remove changed our lives! We are both healthier AND happier since we started seeing Pamela several years ago. Her caring approach gives a person time to discover the root of the problem, not just a quick in-and-out.
I hope her book changes the way physicians relate to their patients by opening up their hearts! It needs to be required reading for all doctors and doctors-in-training. I am truly blessed to have found Dr. Wible!

Hi btc ~ So glad that your husband’s condition was discovered and treated early. To clarify, I do believe in individualized physicals (not necessarily yearly – depends on age and a variety of factors). I always practice medicine face to face and not by phone. It is crucial to see the person sitting in front of me. That is often when the whole story comes out. They say the majority of communication is nonverbal. For me, virtual visits can never take the place of a real in-person encounter. I need to see the big picture.

Dr. Wible is a rare human being who combines keen intelligence, humor, compassion and great storytelling to articulate her mission: changing how physicians “heal” in this country. Kudos to her for taking on such a controversial and taboo task!

You asked if there was anything Like Dr. Wible in your area. Check out for locations information.

Excellent radio program. I had to chuckle over the warning about sex parts and workers!
Because of Dr Wible’s work, I have been able to find a like minded physician in Portland, OR. I have NEVER felt so validated and listened to. My doctor actually remembered that I don’t like to take pain medication. I had only seen her twice in a 5 month period. That was a first in over 60 years of receiving medical care.
I appreciate Dr. Wible’s acknowledgement that this approach is not for everyone. It underlines her premise that “one size does not fit all”. My hope is that all physicians and patients have positive experiences with each other.
Cudos to her courage, sense of humor and professionalism.

Dr. Wible is a healer for both her patients and her fellow physicians, as I am a physician from CA who reached out to her via email.
I have been overwhelmed by burnout and frustration with “the system” in which we practice and this resulted in unhappy patients and doctor. Pamela sees the important issues so clearly and has provided a literal life-line to pull me out of this flood of negativity.
Her warmth, humor, and compassion is so real it can be experienced through emails and the radio broadcast. As a physician who wants to be a better healer, she is a lifesaver!

I have always been a huge fan of The People’s Pharmacy. However, I am quite dismayed and disappointed with Dr. Wible’s statement that it is not always necessary to have a traditional annual physical, and that in some cases one could have a “check-in” by phone as opposed to a “check-up” (I believe those were her words).
My husband went for his annual physical, as he always does, last year, feeling fit as a fiddle. He had the usual standard lab work done, as he does every year. His lab work came back showing elevated protein. Fast forward several months later, after visits and tests with various specialists at Duke, he was diagnosed with a rare disease – Amyloidosis. Had it not been for the traditional annual physical and routine lab work, and an astute primary care doc who was paying attention, my husband would have become quite sick and would have eventually developed this disease in multiple organs.
As it was, they were able to diagnose him while he was still asymptomatic, and successfully treat the disease with a chemo cocktail over the next 7 seven months, and he is now in remission (for how long, we don’t know since it’s incurable). We are always telling people of the importance of getting that annual physical and lab work, using the discovery of my husband’s disease as an example.

Hi Courtenay ~ Here is a map of “ideal” practices. Not all docs have the same personality obviousy, but I know these physicians are striving to have relationship-driven practices.
I can recommend Helen Yang in Chapel Hill. She is a “virtual” friend of mine.
Try her first! Let me know how she works out.
Pamela Wible MD

do we have anyone like Dr. Wible practicing in the triad/triange area? please advise.

Beyond Amazing, I am one of Dr. Wible’s patients and have never felt happier with a health care visit before her. She is one of a kind, exactly what’s always been missing in my doctor’s visit- humor, health and happiness all within a single visit. Pamela Wible is the perfect combination of a skilled mental health therapist, spiritual guidance counselor, best friend and well informed health care provider. She will be my primary care provider for the rest of my life. I hope everyone can eventually experience health care like this! Truly healing and healthful! Thank you Pamela Wible.
Jenny Russell

Great step toward removing the mutual fear and suspicion and creating health care rather than sick care. Dr. Wible shows by example how, in this day and age of cold clinicians and litigious patients, a return and further development of the “family doctor” era, where the doctor is part of the extended patient family, is more healthy and satisfying for both the patient and the physician. We all need this to thrive!

I think Dr Wible addresses a very important issue concerning patient and provider satisfaction. What her model does lack however is accountablility and research based practice.
Physicians have been practicing in these solo models through most of the history of medicine. They may offer a caring relationship and friendship but we also want our physicians practicing the most proven and successful care. In the end, we need to have both time for “care” and the best care.

Yes! I thought the warning was funny. Good to have informed consent before listening! Thank you all for listening and for your support of a new approach to deliver health care. I am happy to send listeners free copies of my book. Please just contact me with your mailing address and I will get one out to you. :)
Spread the love . . . Pamela

One of the best programs I have heard on the Peoples Pharmacy. It gives me great hope that not everything is lost in the Obama illness care wreck. A fresh approach is what the Doctor is providing and it will work. I have been following this course of action for over 10 years and am happy to learn I am not crazy or alone. Bless You.

Dr. Wible definitely has identified the problem and found a solution. I agree with her approach. It works for her but would not work for everyone. Not every physician nor every patient. And she recognizes all that. Thank you, Dr. Wible; we need more physicians like you. More nurse practitioners. Et cetera.
I’d like to respect the AMA and ADA, but the current system makes that difficult. “Fear and profit” rule. Your health care should be between you and your doctor (so goes the hackneyed expression)…and your accountant, I would add.

“Warning: Some language in this show refers to sex workers and sex organs.”
Well, with that warning you can be assured none of us will miss the show. Might even have a few new folks show up. I always heard that your part of the state is more progressive than here in the Charlotte metropolis! 8)
Kidding aside, thanks for all you do. And congratz on your part in spurring a closer review of generics.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^