From floor to ceiling, every bit of the new space for the Cleveland Clinic's Celia Scott Weatherhead Center for Functional Medicine is very intentional: Carpets to unify the space; fine art and light wood in reference to nature; noise reduction tools; hidden charting alcoves; soothing natural light; air and water filtration systems.
"When you talk about thinking about the holistic approach and really looking at the entire body and looking at optimal health, you have to think about all of these features that affect that, so that's what we did in this space," said Tawny Jones, the center's administrator and designer of the new space
The Center for Functional Medicine, which the Clinic has said is the first of its kind at an academic medical center, focuses on a holistic treatment of the root causes of health problems. Functional medicine is based on the evidence that lifestyle factors, such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress, relationships and genetics, contribute to disease.
The new 17,000-square-foot space, located in the heart of the Clinic's main campus in the Q building, aims to evoke a sense of healing for the thousands of patients the center expects to see in 2017. In December, providers began seeing patients in the new location, which is more than double the size of its previous space.
In its first two years, the center has seen explosive growth. Despite little advertising, it was full on its first day in September 2014 and only went up from there, quickly outgrowing the six exam rooms dedicated to it.
Thanks in large part to the added efficiencies and space of the new location, as well as the providers they began adding in preparation for the move, officials with the center expect to more than triple the number of physician and nurse practitioner visits in 2017 — which should come as good news to the roughly 3,000 patients currently on the waiting list.
Last year, there were 4,200 visits. This year, they anticipate 14,000.
"I think people are understanding that there are limits to drugs and surgery for treating chronic diseases," said Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the center and a well-known wellness expert. "People are understanding there are causes that are really driving the chronic illness that we need to deal with.