The need for a trans-disciplinary, global health framework

J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Feb;17(2):179-84. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0149. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Background: Health research consists of multiple disciplines that conceptualize and operationalize health in different ways, making integration of knowledge difficult. To help researchers and practitioners study and intervene on complex health processes, comprehensive integrative frameworks linking multiple disciplines and bodies of knowledge must be developed.

Aim: This research article presents a conceptual framework of health integrating multiple elements from biomedical, psychosocial, behavioral, and spiritual research. We integrate different perspectives using a trans-disciplinary approach.

Methods: The framework includes discipline-specific constructs and domains, outlines their interactions, and links them to a global or holistic concept of health. In this context, health is an emergent individual experience transcending objective and subjective classifications of health and disease.

Conclusions: Integration of evidence and knowledge from multiple sources should enhance our understanding of health processes and should yield new means of improving human health in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Global Health*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Research Design*