I am a physician, trained as a pediatrician and as a psychiatrist through completely conventional programs, who has discovered the amazing power of functional medicine. I am quite certain this approach is the one true hope we have in reclaiming our power to determine our fates. Our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren depend upon it. These are strong words, I know, but the evidence is too strong that our current systems are producing only more suffering in the form of more obesity, more diabetes, more dementia, more depression and more ADHD. These conditions are increasing in our society, and the suffering they cause is immense. Few people understand that most of these conditions can be prevented and the outcome diverted through changes in lifestyle.
I grew up in a somewhat nontraditional family. It was unusual because both of my parents were physicians. They met in medical school and started their family while still in training. Our family grew to include 7 children.
It might have been nice to grow up with two parents who were successful doctors. As it happened, my father died of a heart attack when I was only 7 years old. One of my brothers died in a car accident only a few years later. No one in my family knew what to do about these difficult events, so nothing was done, little was said.
This backdrop of traumatic loss influenced the choices I made regarding a career. I was interested in medicine because I watched my mother use her knowledge to help support our community and even guide health policy throughout the state. On a more personal level, medicine seemed to offer the security I craved after losing my father. I completed residency training in pediatrics right after completing medical school but later was drawn to psychiatry because I was so hungry to understand how our minds work and how to support those who are in distress.
Long before I even applied to medical school, I was interested in nutrition and how what we eat or don’t eat can influence our bodies. This was an area completely ignored during my years of medical training (as it is for most doctors), so my understanding of nutrition was very incomplete when I finally was done with years of study and began treating children and teens suffering from mental illness. Like most psychiatrists, I mostly used medications to target their symptoms. I could have gone on doing this, quite comfortably I might add, for years if I had not come across other information that led me to doubt what I was doing.
I left my comfortable job as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at a community mental health center late in 2005 as I was exposed to a different understanding of trauma and its impact on development and behavior. I could no longer be content to prescribe when I felt those patients and their families were not receiving the scope of care they really needed.
About one year later, I learned about orthomolecular medicine through a seemingly random event. I quickly found myself visiting an orthomolecular clinic in Wichita, Kansas. It’s not a stretch to say I was blown away with what I saw there, and I was definitely needing to learn more.
Thus began my journey into alternative medicine. I was given the incredible opportunity to learn at the Riordan Clinic in Wichita and went there monthly for 2 ½ years. Meanwhile, I took courses through the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and the Autism Research Institute. I took the foundational course of the Institute for Functional Medicine in 2008. When they developed their certification program, I enrolled and began taking the other required courses. I completed this program in 2014, part of the second class to do so. There are about 350 health providers who have completed this certification. There are only about a dozen psychiatrists who have done so.
As a certified functional medicine provider, I offer a radically different approach to preventing and addressing chronic conditions that is nothing short of ground-breaking. My personal experiences and my professional training allow me to provide a sensitivity and awareness to the things that can get in one’s way as they begin to make changes in their priorities, their habits and their self-appreciation. Let me be your partner and guide to your own transformation. Please contact me, so you can get started on your own journey to a healthier you.