Viewpoint: Is the functional medicine model the future of general practice?

Dr Rangan Chatterjee explains how he became interested in functional medicine and what it brings to his practise as a GP.

Do you, as I did, find yourself wondering if there is a better way to utilise your skills to practise medicine? Are you willing to think about medicine in a different way? Have you wanted to explore approaches that address most chronic illnesses by really understanding the root causes of the disease? Maybe you have even wondered if polypharmacy is reversible or avoidable in patients with complex intersecting health conditions?

For over 20 years a clinically-orientated training programme has been developed in the USA and UK in which a structured, science-based approach to chronic illness pulls together interconnected strands from different disciplines to present a safe, effective and rewarding strategy to the resolution and prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice

Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice is a comprehensive, patient-centred educational programme, run by the Institite for Functional Medicine and Clinical Education, that helps you deepen your clinical understanding and practical application of the functional medicine model. Click here for more details.

This article has been provided by the Institite for Functional Medicine in collaboration with Clinical Education for GP Connect

In this patient-centred approach physicians spend time listening to patients’ histories, mapping their personal timeline, and looking at the interactions among genetic, metabolomic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex chronic disease.

As a result of this interaction physicians and health care practitioners are able to support the healing process by viewing health and illness as part of a cycle in which all components of the human biological system interact dynamically with the environment.

This process helps to seek and identify genetic, metabolic, nutritional, lifestyle, and environmental factors that may be changed to then shift a person from illness to well-being.

Functional medicine, as this approach is called, has recently established a rapidly expanding collaboration with the highly respected Cleveland Clinic in the USA and at numerous medical colleges and research centres. When following these approaches patients and clinicians recover their enthusiasm for medicine and personal responsibility, resulting in partnerships and group plans that generate excellent outcomes.

If you are interested in a ground breaking, science-based approach to health (which is not complementary or alternative medicine), then visit

I took this basic training course in 2012 and have not looked back since.

  • Dr Rangan Chatterjee MBChB, BSc (Hons), MRCGP, MRCP is a GP in Manchester and leader and educator for UK-based Functional Medicine Doctors.

More information

Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice is running 30 March–3 April 2017 in London. Visit for more information.

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