Starting July 3, VA clinics in Brainerd, Montevideo and Alexandria now offer Introduction to Whole Health educational classes 2-4 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month, excluding federal holidays.

Veterans and family members desiring to attend can contact their care teams to register.

The course is conducted live at the Brainerd VA Clinic, and Veterans at the Montevideo VA Clinic and Max J. Beilke VA Clinic in Alexandria participate via videoconference.

The Introduction to Whole Health class is also taught at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center at 2 p.m. on the first Friday and third Monday of each month, in the Patriot Café.

Introduction to Whole Health is an education class that equips veterans to take charge of their health by emphasizing a self-focus on body, mind, spirit and soul, surroundings and other factors that help each veteran create a personal system of life care to help live their lives to the fullest. This introduction encourages self-exploration of what really matters in one's life.

Whole Health is the term applied to the VA approach to health care, and it's most easily described as a move away from a system designed around appointments primarily focused on disease management, to one that is based in a partnership over time focused on the patient's overall health and well-being. Clinical appointments are just part of this approach; the VA system of care includes self-empowerment, self-healing and self-care. In the VA's Whole Health system of care, veterans are empowered to explore what matters most-to determine why their health is important. Veterans are then equipped with self-care, skill building and support to their personal health plans. Supporting services are offered and include proactive, complementary approaches such as stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, nutrition, acupuncture and health coaching. Veterans are provided with clinical care that supports the veteran's personal health plan.