Prevention-Oriented Approach to Medicine
Following the publication of Stroke-Free for Life in 2001, Wiebers spoke widely in the general public about increasing stroke awareness and about the need for a more prevention-oriented approach to the various forms of stroke. He subsequently began speaking more ardently within the medical community about the need for a more prevention-oriented approach to all of medicine and about the need to emphasize the prevention of risk factors that lead to various diseases long before signs of the disease develop. He talked at prominent academic medical institutions such as Mayo Clinic and Harvard in the United States and at other academic meetings and institutions in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. He also presented these concepts at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2004.
In the years that followed, it became more and more apparent that a crisis was occurring related to healthcare in many industrialized countries. It became clear that the large majority of chronic diseases are preventable by lifestyle changes in the areas of nutrition; fitness; resilience; and smoking, alcohol and drug dependence.
Approximately 75-80% of healthcare spending in the United States and Canada was related to patients with chronic diseases and very little attention was given to true primary prevention (before the onset of symptoms) of diseases or risk factors. Numerous efforts were launched and implemented within governments and private industry in many countries to attempt to rectify this imbalance. Over the past two years, Wiebers has been part of an international coalition supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Health that developed and validated a phone app-based approach for primary prevention of cerebrovascular diseases. The app is endorsed by the World Stroke Organization, The World Federation of Neurology and the International Association of Neurology and Epidemiology and downloaded in over 70 countries to date. The app has been translated into the 11 most commonly spoken languages (Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Malay, French, German, Japanese) covering over 160 countries (approximately 5.6 billion people). This app, and others to follow, offers unprecedented access to supporting and studying health and healthy living goals for people around the world (refs #348, 349, 350).
From 2007-2010, Wiebers served as the Chairman and Chief Medical Officer of Preventive Medicine, LLC, a healthcare informatics company dedicated to maximizing each person's potential to achieve optimal health and wellbeing as a part of everyday life. Wiebers and colleagues designed and developed a new scientifically-based Lifestyle/Health Behavior Change Model that incorporates positive psychology and human resilience principles to assist people in implementing and sustaining lifestyle behavior changes. Wiebers co-authored a 56-page white paper delineating the neuropsychological science underlying this innovative approach to behavior change for the primary prevention of chronic diseases. He and co-creator, Michael W. Allen, Ph.D., presented the Behavioral Change Model in Toronto, Ontario, at the Medicine 2.0 International Conference. Subsequently, the concepts and technologies of this web-based approach have been widely adapted and utilized within the field of preventive medicine.