No matter how many times our careers (and our lives) change direction, we can usually see themes running through the choices we make and the successes we have. Problem-solving, caregiving, efficiency-finding, innovating, and on and on—whatever your personal themes are, identifying them in your own life can help align your skills and contributions with the meaning and fulfillment that make it all worthwhile.
For FMCA alumnus Jason Tate of the July 2016 class, the theme of innovative health education has long been a feature of his career path.
As an experienced high school science teacher with degrees in biology and life sciences, Jason has been reimagining how we teach health since before he ever discovered Functional Medicine. Drawing on his passion for wellness education, he was inspired to create a Health & Wellness Academy at his high school, and it was through this process that he first connected with integrative and holistic medicine.
Jason dove into the subject, learning as much as he could about the future of healthcare. He thought if he could anticipate what our system would need in twenty years, then he could design a pre-med program to prepare students to meet the needs of that future system.
Through the process of deepening his knowledge of integrative medicine, mindfulness, and nutrition, Jason discovered Functional Medicine. It was while attending his first Functional Medicine event that Jason had a realization. “‘There’s a name for what I’ve been trying to create in my health academy,” he reflects, “AND there’s a huge community of people who support this way of healing!’” Through Functional Medicine, he had found another important facet of health education innovation.
As luck would have it, it was at this very conference that Jason spoke with FMCA alumna Gabrielle Grandell and was himself introduced to FMCA, at our booth at the event. Though he had been considering going to medical school at the time, in talking with and learning about FMCA, he realized that his learning goals could be better met by becoming a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach.
“FMCA was the perfect choice! I like to think that I didn’t choose FMCA, rather, FMCA chose me. There was no hesitation in my mind, nor did I feel the need to compare or shop around to other coaching schools. FMCA was the choice for me from the moment I took the brochure at the booth.” He applied, enrolled, and started the next step in his innovative learning journey.
His time at FMCA was one of growth and reflection. As an educator himself, Jason was particularly impressed by the richness of the material he was learning as part of the course. “I know how much it takes to develop and deliver high quality content, and FMCA’s content and delivery is exceptional. The teachers and lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable, and they know how to engage their audiences.” And he noticed the concepts he was learning start to influence his life outside the virtual classroom as well. “You can’t help but take each lesson to heart and apply it to your own life…It inevitably impacts you in a massively transformational and positive way. You end up moving towards a better version of yourself.
“It’s only after you’ve gone through the healing that we all need to go through,” Jason says, “that you realize you must heal within before you can offer healing to others. I offer my deepest and most sincere gratitude to the entire FMCA staff for the gift of being one of their students. I’m a much better version of myself because I was an FMCA student.”
Now that he’s completed the program, Jason’s drive to innovate health education continues to lead him to exciting places. He’s the creator and director of Indio High School’s Health & Nutrition Sciences (HANS) Academy, a four-year health and wellness pre-med program. HANS teaches over 200 students the skills and concepts needed for the twenty-first century of healthcare, focusing on movement, nutrition, and mental and behavioral health. This innovative program is helping prepare future healthcare providers to think holistically. In addition, Jason is designing a Campus Wellness Center for his school, with a goal of creating a model that can be replicated at schools across the country. The Wellness Center would provide services to the staff and student body as well as internship opportunities for HANS Academy students, working alongside local volunteer healthcare providers.
Outside of his role as a high school educator, Jason is Founder & President of the Human Health Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and reversal of global chronic diseases through education and awareness. He’s also a Health Coach and Mindfulness Practitioner. As his career moves him toward shifting the health education paradigm on a larger scale, he plans to continue to work one-on-one with clients because it’s a uniquely rewarding part of his skill set.
For Jason, training as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach was a necessary next step in his journey to transform health education, but it’s been personally transformative as well. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t utilize a myriad of skills I’ve learned from FMCA, whether it is being a father and “health coach” to my 10-year-old daughter or providing inspiration, purpose, and education for my students. Like Functional Medicine heals the entire body, the training I’ve received from FMCA has permeated every fiber of who I am and what I do daily.”
What advice does Jason have for anyone considering enrolling with FMCA? “Do it. Find a way. Everyone can achieve a higher level of awareness of oneself and the world. Upon completion of the program, you realize that everything you do for others in your life lives on forever. Your family, your friends, and you will all benefit from what you learn.”
You can learn more about Jason’s work with Human Health Initiative here.