John W. Travis, M.D., M.P.H., became one of the leading figures in the wellness movement when he opened the world’s first wellness center, the Wellness Resource Center, in Mill Valley, California in 1975. His televised interview by Dan Rather on 60 Minutes in 1979 made him a national figure and was one of many appearances in national media.
He earned his BA from The College of Wooster, followed by a medical degree from Tufts University in 1969. He then spent six years in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) where he helped develop one of the first computerized health risk appraisal instruments (HRA). During his service in the USPHS, he completed a residency in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins University, which included a Masters in Public Health degree awarded in 1973.
Influenced by Halbert L. Dunn’s 1961 book, High-Level Wellness, he founded the Wellness Resource Center in 1975, believed to be the first wellness center in the US. That same year, he developed the first wellness assessment, the Wellness Inventory, which utilized a whole-person model based on the 12 dimensions of his Wellness Energy System. Dr. Travis wrote The Wellness Workbook, which he first self-published in 1977, and then published in an expanded edition in collaboration with Regina Ryan in 1979 as a trade paperback (Ten Speed Press, 1981, 1988). It was revised and republished in 2004 by Celestial Arts.
In 1979, after achieving national renown, he closed the Wellness Resource Center and established Wellness Associates, a non-profit educational corporation dedicated to transforming the medical culture from its physician-centered focus into a partnership between healers and those seeking health. More recently, its mission has been redefined and broadened to the transformation of the entire culture from its current focus on authoritarianism/domination into one of partnership/cooperation and is supported by its website, thewellspring.com.
Dr. Travis’ Wellness Inventory is now available online as part of an integrated wellness program (http://www.wellpeople.com/) developed by Healthworld Online (healthy.net). The online Wellness Inventory program is widely used as the foundation for wellness programs in both corporate and healthcare environments and by wellness coaches.
Since 2008 he has been an adjunct professor in the Master of Wellness Program at RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Since 1991 Dr. Travis and his wife, Meryn Callander, have focused their efforts on attachment parenting, connection parenting, and infant wellness. In 1999 he co-founded the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC.org), which has a mission of fostering individual and planetary wellness through changing how babies are born and treated in their early years. In 2000 he and Meryn, along with their daughter, Siena, moved to Meryn’s homeland of Australia where they continue their work in both adult and infant wellness, and along with global, cultural and environmental issues, they have integrated these aspects of wellness with the term “full-spectrum wellness.”