Person-Centered Health

Main Article Content

Gary Christopherson


“Person-centered health”, in its entirety, is really different than almost any care provided today by any health provider or health system.  But if “health” is really what we want to achieve, then we suggest that “person-centered health” is how we need to operate.  While many providing health care today believe they are providing “person-centered health,” many of them and many others, in the true sense of the term, are not.  We would suggest that person-centered health is “The person a) is supported as a unique and whole person who changes over time, b) is at the center of self care, formal health care and informal health support, b) has, receives and provides necessary health-related information, c) has health care/support coordinated via an effective person and clinician partnership, and d) achieves good health outcomes and high health status.  We suggest there are a series of actions that, if successfully carried out, will help bring about a person-centered health system.  These actions are shown in the HealthePeople strategy.  By weaving together these actions into the HealthePeople strategy and delivering on that strategy, we can increase the probability that we will achieve a person-centered health system and the many benefits such a system should provide.

Article Details

Person-centered care: general aspects
Author Biography

Gary Christopherson, HealthePeople

GARY (CHRIS) CHRISTOPHERSON has worked on national issues on health and human service strategy, policy, systems, models, performance, reform and management and on reducing vulnerability. Currently, he is independently developing strategy, management, policy and performance models and tools for creating, managing and sustaining large scale change and building a better and preferably thriving future. (  This draws from 30+ years of experience in creating, managing, evaluating and sustaining large scale change at national and local levels in public and private sectors.  Over his career, he has served in many senior leadership, management and policymaking positions, including with organizations with multi-billion dollar budgets and thousands of employees.  His experience includes: Fellow, National Academy for Public Administration; Senior Advisor to Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director for the Quality Improvement Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, DHHS; Senior Advisor to Under Secretary, Veterans Health Administration, VA; Senior Fellow and Scholar-In-Residence, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; Chief Information Officer, Veterans Health Administration, VA; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Senior Advisor to Assistant Secretaries for Health and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense; Associate Director, Presidential Personnel, Executive Office of the President, White House; Director of Health Legislation, House Select Committee on Aging, U.S. House of Representatives; and Deputy Director, Municipal Health Services Program (funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and based at John Hopkins Medical Institutions); and Special Projects Director, City of Milwaukee Health Department. He is a sculptor of abstract art, focusing on mobile and stabile sculptures and having created over 150 sculptures. ( He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and his master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and did doctoral work in health policy and management at the John Hopkins University School of Public Health.


. Miles, A. & Mezzich. J.E. (2011). The care of the patient and the soul of the clinic: person-centered medicine as an emergent model of modern clinical practice. International Journal of Person Centered Medicine 1 (2), 207-222.

. Miles, A. (2009). On a Medicine of the Whole Person: away from scientistic reductionism and towards the embrace of the complex in clinical practice. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 15, 941-949.