We live in a rapidly changing world; one where existing models for and approaches to health appear to deliver diminishing returns, whilst new public health challenges emerge. This paper outlines an integrative approach to such challenges. Integral theory suggests that key dimensions of human experience, frequently presented in opposition to each other (e.g. subjective-objective; individual-collective), need to be understood as integral to the whole. This is relevant to the public health community because powerful forces within neglected dimensions can undermine or destroy our efforts in other dimensions. This is illustrated in this paper by focusing on the issue of well-being, which illustrates the interconnected ways in which people in affluent societies can suffer from particular problems arising in such society and contribute to broader, global problems. The integral framework is used to show how a more integrative approach to such challenges can transcend some neglected blind-spots within public health. It is argued that public health leaders and practitioners need to apply integrative forms of thinking to their own practice in order to respond more effectively to the complexity of contemporary public health problems.
- emerging public health challenges
- integral theory
- integrative public health
- loss of well-being