Rakel, David PDepartment Chairperson
(608) 287-5899
610 N Whitney Way (Madison)

Learn more about Dr. Rakel’s work with UW Health »

Dave Rakel is Professor & Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the faculty of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in 2001 as an assistant professor of family medicine. During his time at UW–Madison he founded the Integrative Medicine Program (now known as the Integrative Health Program) and received the Gold Foundation’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, the school’s highest honor for excellence and compassion in care. His team worked with more than 50 clinical systems within the Veterans Health Administration to implement changes to make care more personalized, proactive, and patient driven.

An author of both academic and popular writings, Rakel says one of his missions is to communicate medical information in a way that is accessible to people of all backgrounds. He has published 11 books, including the Textbook of Family Medicine, Current Therapy, and Integrative Medicine, as well as peer-reviewed research on the impact of measures such as mindfulness meditation and the power of the therapeutic encounter. He serves as editor-in-chief of Practice Update, a website devoted to commentaries on primary medical care research. His 2018 book The Compassionate Connection focuses on how relationship-building can influence health outcomes.

Rakel obtained his undergraduate degree from Colorado College and graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 1991. After residency training in family medicine in Colorado, he worked in private practice in rural Idaho. His burgeoning interest in the relationships between health, the human experience, and the environment led to a fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona.

  • Fortney L, Luchterhand C, Zakletskaia L, Zgierska A, Rakel D. Abbreviated mindfulness intervention for job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion in primary care clinicians: a pilot study. Annals of family medicine. 24019272
  • Rakel D, Mundt M, Ewers T, Fortney L, Zgierska A, Gassman M, Barrett B. Value associated with mindfulness meditation and moderate exercise intervention in acute respiratory infection: the MEPARI Study. Family practice. 23515373
  • Barrett B, Hayney MS, Muller D, Rakel D, Ward A, Obasi CN, Brown R, Zhang Z, Zgierska A, Gern J, West R, Ewers T, Barlow S, Gassman M, Coe CL. Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection: a randomized controlled trial. Annals of family medicine. 22778122
  • Rakel D, Barrett B, Zhang Z, Hoeft T, Chewning B, Marchand L, Scheder J. Perception of empathy in the therapeutic encounter: effects on the common cold. Patient education and counseling. 21300514
  • Rakel D, Fortney L, Sierpina VS, Kreitzer MJ. Mindfulness in medicine. Explore (New York, N.Y.). 21397875
  • Podein RJ, Hernke MT, Fortney LW, Rakel DP. Sustainability, synthetic chemicals, and human exposure. Explore (New York, N.Y.). 20451154
  • Rakel D. Show health the money. WMJ : official publication of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin. 19813496
  • Rakel DP, Hoeft TJ, Barrett BP, Chewning BA, Craig BM, Niu M. Practitioner empathy and the duration of the common cold. Family medicine. 19582635
  • Rakel DP. Number 406, “standard”. Family medicine. 19343561
  • Wald A, Rakel D. Behavioral and complementary approaches for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 18595861
  • Rakel D. The salutogenesis-oriented session: creating space and time for healing in primary care. Explore (New York, N.Y.). 18194791
  • Rakel DP, Guerrera MP, Bayles BP, Desai GJ, Ferrara E. CAM education: promoting a salutogenic focus in health care. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 18199018
  • Rakel DP, Hedgecock J. Healing the healer: a tool to encourage student reflection towards health. Medical teacher. 18677663
  • Barrett B, Muller D, Rakel D, Rabago D, Marchand L, Scheder JC. Placebo, meaning, and health. Perspectives in biology and medicine. 16702703
  • Rakel DP, Rindfleisch A. Inflammation: nutritional, botanical, and mind-body influences. Southern medical journal. 15813157
  • Barrett B, Marchand L, Scheder J, Plane MB, Maberry R, Appelbaum D, Rakel D, Rabago D. Themes of holism, empowerment, access, and legitimacy define complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine in relation to conventional biomedicine. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 14736364

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