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 (2001-2017). 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 2017, my wife and I moved to Albuquerque, NM where I am now the Professor and Chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. It is an honor to be able to work with at an institution with dedicated faculty and staff that have a core mission to facilitate the health of all humans despite their ability to pay. This can make supporting salaries a challenge, but we all sleep good at night!

A core goal at the University of New Mexico is to create an skill in saludogenesis (the genesis of health) to balance our current expertise in pathogenesis (the genesis of disease and suffering). The origins of health require a different focus which I hope, The Compassionate Connection provides insight.

Editorial Work

Founder and editor: Integrative Medicine (1st through 4th 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