About David Rakel

I started my career near the Teton Mountains in Driggs, Idaho where I was in rural private practice for five years (1994-1999). This is where my patients taught me about the importance of going deeper into the context of one’s life to uncover the path towards health. I then wanted to learn more about this mind-body connection and subsequently completed a two-year residential fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (1999-2001).

Wanting to start an Integrative Medicine program at a medical school, my family and I were lucky enough to have an opportunity at the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison. There I was able to grow and direct the UW Health Integrative Medicine Program for 16 years (2001-2016). During this time, I was promoted to a tenured professor in the department on family medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

In 2016, my wife and I moved to Albuquerque, NM where I was the Professor and Chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. It was an honor to be able to work with a dedicated faculty and staff that had a core mission to facilitating health across diverse cultures.

In 2021, I had the opportunity to return to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I accepted the Esther Millard endowed chair of Family Medicine & Community Health.

A core goal at UNM and UW-Madison is to create a better balance of our medical culture between treating disease and stimulating health and resiliency. This Salutogenic Science (Exploring the origins of health) is needed now, more than ever. The Compassionate Connection provides the foundation from which these healthy patterns become more clear. 

Editorial Work

Founder and editor: Integrative Medicine (1st through 5th editions)
Co-editor: Textbook of Family Medicine (8th and 9th editions)
Co-editor: Conn’s Current Therapy (published annually)
Editor-in-chief: Primary Care on PracticeUpdate


Baldwin E. Lloyd Clinical Teacher Award
The UW Department of Family Medicine Faculty Excellence Award
The UW Department of Family Medicine Marc Hansen Lecture Award
The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Resident Teacher-of-the-Year Award
University of New Mexico Health System, Distinguished Keynote Speaker Award
The American Academy of Family Physicians President’s Award
The Leonard Tow Award for Compassionate Care
Accepted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society
President’s Award, New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians