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Ahead of the 2021 Concordia Annual Summit, we recently sat down with Dr. Mehmet Oz, Professor of Surgery at Columbia University, Dan Macuga, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer of USANA, and Matthew Swift, Co-Founder & CEO of Concordia. One of Concordia’s 2021 Lead Programming Sponsors, USANA Health Sciences is empowering people around the world to live healthy and rewarding lives. We discussed the main themes of this year’s collaboration and the much-anticipated new book from Dr. Oz, which will be officially released at the upcoming Annual Summit. 

The health and wellness landscape is continually evolving. In your opinion, Dan, what role does the private sector play in changing the narrative around health approaches and ultimately driving progress? 

The private sector plays a massive role in the narrative around health. At USANA, we continuously support and expand our customers’ approach for a healthy life. As a private sector business, we are in constant competition to find the best ways to help people improve and maintain their health. Without this competitiveness, the health and wellness landscape would be nowhere near what it is today. In the last several years, cellular health has seen numerous breakthroughs tied to mental and mood support, immune health, sleep support, and digestive health—many driven by companies like USANA with extraordinary R&D teams working year round on new formulas and clinical trials. 

The private sector also keeps a symbiotic relationship with the public sector and research institutions, with the goal of working together to improve the health landscape. USANA invests a significant amount of money in clinical studies with research institutions and universities all over the world. This results in concrete data for product efficacy and formulations to benefit sectors as well as the consumer.

Does embracing a more holistic approach to health really have the potential to address deep-rooted societal disparities, Dan? 

At USANA, we believe a holistic approach is the way forward when addressing health and health disparities. Holistic health looks at how the body, mind, and spirit work together—with a single-focused treatment of all three. Most modern medicine effectively treats the body. To optimize health, we should include the mind and spirit in the equation. 

For most people in the world, receiving high-quality modern medical treatment is challenging, due to the cost and availability of care. Taking a holistic approach to health, people from all walks of life can build up their body’s defenses to improve their natural healing abilities. Obviously, holistic medicine isn’t a cure-all. There is a great need for better access to modern medicine across the globe. But when it comes to basic health needs and improving the body’s ability to defend and fight off injury or disease, holistic medicine can offer an additional layer of protection for much of the world. 

The most important step is educating people on the power of holistic medicine and how they can use it to their advantage. Whether it’s supplements formulated with traditional and natural ingredients, thoughtful dietary choices, daily exercise, or meditation, all can be easily taught and accessed by anyone. It’s up to companies like USANA—with expertise in both modern and traditional medicine—to help educate people around the world to build their foundation of holistic health with the goal of staying healthy without having to always access expensive, modern care for preventable crises. 

Dr. Oz, in your opinion, what are the most beneficial elements of both traditional and modern medicine that should be drawn upon? How would this work in practice? 

As a practicing surgeon, I have seen all the amazing benefits that modern medicine can bring to the world. Through lifesaving drugs and surgery, our ability to treat ailments has never been better. Especially important are the technological advancements that drive increased efficacy. Modern medicine is always evolving, and the technology is improving along with it. The modern medical advancements over the past decade have been astounding to witness first-hand. One of my experiences with these advancements came when I worked with my New York Presbyterian Columbia University team to develop a patent for a minimally-invasive mitral valve repair that helped in revolutionizing protocols for heart failure. But these advancements require highly-trained specialists in a high-tech setting. What can we do in lower tech environments?

With traditional medicine, you have ideas and practices that have been around for centuries, and there’s a reason for that—they work. Traditional medicine takes these seemingly complex ideas about the body, mind, and spirit and turns it into something that can be utilized by anyone. The primary benefit of traditional medicine is its ability to treat the whole body, revealing deeper root causes for issues that might not be found in modern medicine. Where modern medicine will sometimes only look to treat symptoms, traditional medicine takes a different approach, with a focus on finding and treating the underlying cause of those symptoms. This not only helps abate present symptoms, but may also stop them from returning in the future. 

I believe we can combine the best of both to create a practice that takes advantage of the modern technology at our disposal while also integrating the essence of traditional medicine for treating ailments. If you look at companies like USANA, with high-tech labs and R&D teams filled with Western medicine experts, you can see for yourself how these two elements work together—they’re making substantial investments to investigate how traditional medicine and its elements work within a modern scientific method. Such approaches help to advance the use of modern scientific methods to show the effectiveness of traditional medicines, forging a path for Eastern and Western practitioners to make traditional medicine recommendations grounded by clinical research. This serves to create a richer, more science-based holistic standard for total body wellness throughout the world.

Dr. Oz, you’re going to be releasing your new book at the 2021 Annual Summit. You worked closely with the President of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Dr. Anlong Xu, to create this groundbreaking guide. What can we expect from it? 

Yin Yang You brings readers a unique and powerful literary and scientific collaboration. Nowhere before have such forces joined to take on the momentous task of building the bridge between Eastern and Western medicine in this way. It takes you on a digestible and entertaining journey of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to introduce a new way of thinking—and new ways to speak to and listen to your body. We demystify the basic principles of TCM and the techniques that have served millions of people for thousands of years.

Perhaps modern medical solutions you’ve tried haven’t really worked. Or maybe you’re just not progressing the way you hoped. TCM brings options to complement current health and wellness approaches using age-old techniques. TCM practitioners treat the body holistically—interconnections and relationships between body parts (and their energy) matter. You’ll learn the differences between how the East and West approach medicine, and even more importantly, how the two can work together to better your health. Both approaches have tremendous strengths, and by keeping the best of each and overcoming the inefficiencies we open the possibilities to expand services to more people, keep medical costs down, and improve health outcomes.

Specific TCM approaches, including common treatments and foods with healing effects, are also explained. Dive deep into some of the toughest topics in Western wellness—fatigue, insomnia, cold, depression, low libido, cosmetic issues, and common gastrointestinal problems—and how to holistically approach prevention and treatment. Uncover why these conditions are so difficult to solve and how a TCM mindset can help you feel better and live healthier. Yin Yang You is about helping to integrate each approach within the realm of personal beliefs and practices. By doing so, we hope to help societies also close the gap, so practitioners in East and West methods can work better together. Page after page, readers will discover ways holistic medicine can improve health, strength, wellness, and longevity. 

Matt, what are your goals for Concordia’s collaboration with USANA, and what can we expect to see at this year’s Annual Summit? 

I’m thrilled to welcome USANA to the Concordia community for a much-needed discussion around the intersection of Eastern and Western medicine. To gain a true understanding of the health challenges facing the international community, we must address the roles of both traditional and new medicine. Embracing a more holistic approach that honors the benefits of ancient medicinal philosophies as well as the advances of modern medical progress can be appealing for practitioners grappling with healing our health systems, but can they truly benefit our systems and solve for deep-rooted disparities? What are the risks of the current prescriptive model of modern Western medicine? How can blended approaches and socially-sensitive care be incentivized in service of full societal wellness? These are just a handful of the questions that will be answered through Concordia’s collaboration with USANA at the 2021 Annual Summit. 

Our Main Stage will address the different ways in which we can advance societal health and wellness. We’ll hear from high-level speakers, including Dr. Oz, who will explore the benefits of alternative healing, the future of healthcare, and more, as well as launching one of the most highly-anticipated books of 2021. I hope you’ll join us!