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John W. Travis, MD, MPH

John W. Travis, MD, MPH, is the creator of the Wellness Inventory and a recognized pioneer of the wellness movement. He is the founder and co-director of Wellness Associates, a consulting and publishing group whose mission is to transform the culture from its current focus on authoritarianism/domination into one of partnership/cooperation.

John W. Travis, MD, Wellness Inventory, Wellness

He completed his medical degree at Tufts University and his preventive medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University. He began his career in wellness by developing one of the first computerized health risk appraisals while serving with the U.S. Public Health Service's Division of Health Services Research.

He created his seminal Illness-Wellness Continuum in 1972 while completing his residency. His continuum became a hallmark of the wellness movement and continues to appear in numerous nursing and health promotion textbooks over 45 year later.

Influenced by the pioneering work of Halbert Dunn, MD, PhD, the grandfather of the wellness movement and author of High-Level Wellness (1961), he chose to focus his work on supporting people in creating wellness in their lives rather than treating patients.

He opened the world's first wellness center in 1975 (Wellness Resource Center, Mill Valley, CA) and created the first wellness assessment (Wellness Inventory) as a whole person intake for the center's clients. The facilitation model for working with clients at the center was a forerunner of the coaching model, and has informed our coaching process of the Wellness Inventory Certification Training.

His work at the Wellness Resource Center drew widespread attention leading Dan Rather and 60 Minutes to visit the Center and interview Dr. Travis in 1979.

He closed the Wellness Resource Center in 1979 and created Wellness Associates, a nonprofit educational corporation, to carry his work forward in lectures and trainings throughout the world.

Dr. Travis' pioneering work at the Wellness Resource Center and during the 1980s in working with helping professionals to help prevent or alleviate caregiver burnout, was later shared in his co-authored book Wellness for Helping Professionals: Creating Compassionate Cultures.

His publications include:

  • "Wellness Inventory" (Wellness Assoc. Publications, 1975, 1981, 1988);
  • Wellness Workbook, coauthored with Regina Ryan (Ten Speed Press, 1981, 1988, 2004);
  • Simply Well: Choices for a Healthy Life, coauthored with Regina Ryan (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1990, 2001);
  • Wellness For Helping Professionals, Creating Compassionate Cultures, coauthored with Meryn Callander (Wellness Assoc. Publications, 1990); A Change of Heart: The Global Wellness Inventory, coauthored with Meryn Callander (Arcus Press, 1993);
  • The Society of Prospective Medicine's SPM Handbook of Health Assessment Tools, with 5 co-editors (SPM Press, 1999).

More recently, he and his former wife have written a new book Why Dads Leave: Keeping Your Family Together, a wakeup call to the culture—to focus on fostering individual and planetary wellness through changing the norms of how babies are born and treated in their early years—the cause of why so many boys are unable to be good fathers. He is also a co-founder of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children.

Learn more about Dr. Travis' wellness philosophy - A New Vision of Wellness?



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University program based on the Wellness Inventory receives American College Health Association award for innovation in student Wellness.
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Stanford Research Institute

What is the new vision?

  • Illness-Wellness Continuum
  • Iceberg Model of Health
  • Wellness Energy System

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