Gryt Health Involvement with a World Health Organization Initiative

~Liz Hiles

“What I admire about the World Health Organization (WHO), is that it has tackled some of the most important issues in humanity before society was collectively ready to do it. …  I hope that the challenges that we identify through this work, we are a part of solving globally and individually,” Gryt Health CEO, David Craig said to team member Katie DeRaddo in a one-on-one conversation about Dave’s involvement in one of the World Health Organization’s latest initiatives. 

In 2020, Dave was invited to join in on the WHO’s Rehabilitation 2030 Initiative. According to the WHO website, the Rehabilitation 2030 initiative draws attention to the profound unmet need for rehabilitation worldwide and highlights the importance of strengthening health systems to provide rehabilitation. The initiative marks a new strategic approach for the global rehabilitation community by emphasizing that:

  • Rehabilitation should be available for all the population and through all stages of the life course.
  • Efforts to strengthen rehabilitation should be directed towards supporting the health system as a whole and integrating rehabilitation into all levels of health care.
  • Rehabilitation is an essential health service and crucial for achieving universal health coverage.

With aging populations and an increase in the number of people living with chronic disease, rehabilitation is a priority health strategy for the 21st century that uniquely contributes to optimizing the functioning of the population.

An image from one of the WHO’s Rehabilitation 2030 videos on their website.

The Rehabilitation 2030 Initiative is needed because globally, 1 in 3 people are living with a health condition that would benefit from rehabilitation. The needs are diverse and sometimes span lifetimes. These needs will continue to grow as the global population continues to age, living longer than ever before, and the number of people living with chronic conditions continues to increase. 

Many countries are already ill-equipped to respond to existing rehabilitation needs, let alone the forecasted rehabilitation needs. Rehabilitation is not prioritized and is continuously under-resourced. More than 50% of people currently do not receive the rehabilitation services they need.

Gryt Health has always been about making positive, systematic changes for patients. Historically, we have kept our focus in the oncology realm. However, with our new mission, vision, and inclusion statements, we consider it one of the highest honors to have our CEO invited to this prestigious table of humans coming together to initiate a global change for the betterment of healthcare and the humans needing those special services. 

Dave says, “One of the things that I believe, both as a researcher and a survivor, is that our ability to change a situation is directly proportionate to how much we understand about it. … So being a part of things in different areas, is the only way to create system-level change. [T]his initiative, is truly a gathering of people that wants to be together to listen and share and identify the gaps. So that together we can think holistically about what are we trying to improve? How do we do that? Who do we need to be involved with? [I]t is very much that type of holistic approach to change how rehabilitation after a diagnosis happens.”

Gryt Health CEO as pictured in January 2022 at an award ceremony recognizing Gryt Health’s cornerstone event, GVCC.

“Being a part of this initiative with leaders from around the world and across medical treatment and care and patient perspectives, gives me hope for our future” he said. “And I believe that the interventions and support that we identify through this work, we are a part of improving health globally and individually. “

Since the launch of the Rehabilitation 2030 Initiative, the World Health Organization has undertaken activities to accelerate action and support progress, including technical support to countries, recommendations for rehabilitation in health systems, action guides to help health systems identify priorities and develop comprehensive strategic plans while monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for rehabilitation and releasing a framework for a competency-based approach to strengthening the rehabilitation workforce.

What Dave hopes to accomplish with his involvement with this initiative is change. He shares that “the change that obsesses me every second of my life, and that is that being a researcher inside the industry and also being cancer survivor, in the patient community, I get to see both worlds. [H]istorically, medicine and healthcare advanced without including the people that were living the disease as decision-makers. This committee makes me fall a part of the system and of systemic change, as a researcher and as a cancer survivor. So that by including the people who have gone through the experiences, we can create positive change. [T]hose are the really special places because it is industry and individuals working together.”

You can read more about the World Health Organization’s  Rehabilitation 2030 Initiative here.

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