Healing is to be a loving human interchange not a business transaction.
We reframe ‘hospital’ as an integration of learning and caring nested within an intentional community. Healing is to be a loving human interchange not a business transaction.
As a hospital project—a hospital without walls–we have been active all over the world since 1971. We offer caring and healing (humanitarian clowning, global outreach), teaching and lecturing (Teaching Center, educational curriculum, Patch Adams’ lecturing).
As a hospital building—a hospital with walls—we are fundraising for a 44 bed community hospital building on our land in rural West Virginia. The Gesundheit hospital will embody our activist philosophy: a free, communal style hospital, nested in a community ecovillage, with a Teaching Center. The hospital will deliver care in a context that models our ideal design. The Teaching Center will educate visiting practitioners to create their ideal design.
The Teaching Center will be committed to teaching change in ‘care systems’, particularly focused on health care, but also on education care, justice care, and environmental care. It will serve the global community, working with participants to find a language for their own desires in care and their own designs for implementation as well as build care systems that are socially responsible and financially just.
The Teaching Center building is planned in 25,000 square feet and in three stories with passive solar construction and green roof features. It is built over the Pocahontas Creek. The center will also have a performance hall, black box theater, housing for up to 50 students, a kitchen and a cafe to serve 100 people.
“In my last year at the Medical College of Virginia, I began working on a line of thought about my dreams to improve health care that would shape the rest of my life.
I drew up a grandiose plan—having no idea how grandiose at the time—that I felt ready to commit myself to. Titled ‘Positive Thinking’, the plan was about providing health care in the best interests of patient and staff alike. A group-communal situation seemed the most promising approach. But I knew of no models in America for a therapeutic medical community that put humanism first. It was clear I would need to plan it out.
The plan reflected my realization that the systems in which people live—capitalist, patriarchal, militaristic systems—effected not only their finances, choice of work, housing, education etc, but also effected their health. So I envisioned a model of holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the society and the world.
The Gesundheit hospital would be a health care community based on friendship and mutual interdependence, with a staff that lives in the facility with their families in a collective atmosphere of happiness, silliness, love, creativity and cooperation. The atmosphere would enhance healing and relieve suffering.
The plan is to create a model that addressed all the problems of health care in one model.