On this episode, I am interviewing Dr. Matthew Zimmerman of Sage Family Practice. He is a second-generation osteopathic family physician who has been in practice for 10 years. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Zimmerman is trained to emphasize a whole-person approach to treatment and care. He focuses on prevention and considers factors like lifestyle and environment when treating a patient. Dr. Zimmerman listens closely to his patients and creates partnerships that help them get healthy and stay well.
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Hello, and welcome to STL Active St. Louis’s premier health and wellness podcast. STL active aims to give listeners in the St. Louis area the information they need to succeed and progress with their health and fitness. This podcast is brought to you by stlouispt.com and hosted by Doctor of Physical Therapy, Greg, Judice.
Hey everyone, it’s Dr. Greg, owner, and physical therapist Judice Sports & Rehab. On this episode of the show, I’m interviewing Dr. Matt Zimmerman, owner at Sage Family Practice. Dr. Matthew Zimmerman is a second-generation osteopathic family physician who has been in practice for 10 years. On this episode, we talk about his practice the healthcare system as a whole, and even a little bit about a shared hobby of ours. Without further ado, let’s get into the interview with Dr. Matt Zimmerman. All right, welcome to the show. Dr. Matt Zimmerman from Sage Family Practice.
Yes, go. Good afternoon. Thank you.
Happy to have you here.
Me too. I’m excited to be here.
Awesome. So let’s start with you telling the listeners a little bit about you.
Oh, boy, me. So I’m a family physician. But I think more about me is that I am a dad. I’m a husband. I guess I’m a son of that aspect too. But I am a Michigan native. I grew up in northern Michigan. I went to school at Michigan State. I ended up doing my medical school also at Michigan State University in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. I have been in practice of medicine for over a decade now, which seems like a really long time, but learned a whole lot of things. I have been in practice for myself for last six months with my own practice Sage Family Practice and this is a whole new venture. But yeah, I do a little bit of everything. I like being a doctor. I like being a dad. I love family time. I’m an amateur woodworker,
too, right. Okay. Yeah, happy to talk about how about this,
I’m better at being a hobbyist. And I like being a maker. I’d love if I was a better woodworker. But that’s where I’m at. I get that. But yeah,
I’m really good at watching YouTube videos and woodworking. Exactly and wishing that I had the tools.
Oh, my guess I have. I have a few tools. I have a few things that you know, there’s that one tool that you need for that one project. I’m kind of that guy. But then I’m not sure when I’m ever going to use that tool again. Or I found like recently, I got a multi-tool. And those are the best and most fun tools isolating. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And I didn’t know that. I needed it all the time. And I there’s They’re awesome. You can use it for everything. Since we moved into our new house. Here in St. Louis. I think I got that as like a Father’s Day gift. I’ve used it like 20 times burnt out like two blades already. Yeah. So.
Okay, well, we’re gonna have to revisit that. So go back. Alright. So you have your own practice now? Yes. And we’re gonna talk about that. Yeah, I want to know, kind of your background with medicine.
Oh, sure. So I’m a second-generation physician. My mom was an osteopathic physician in northern Michigan. She’s been in practice, gosh, I think for like 35 years. She’s just amazing. So I grew up learning, you know, that, you know, I was the kid on the playground when somebody skinny I ran and said, Hey, I know what to do. And that’s kind of who I’ve always been, is taking care of people. I, I knew what family practice was, for a long time before I even thought about medical school. Went into college. I have psychology as my background and my bachelor’s degree, but I always kind of did pre med work. And I did a Bachelor of Science for psychology, but all my curricular stuff that worked for my degree happened to be pre med. So it’s like, oh, it’s just a nice little insurance plan going in. And then sure enough, it’s like yeah, I really want to do med school. And, you know, during the first like, few months, I was like, What do I want to do? Do I want to be like, you know, going to anesthesia or something crazy. And I just kept going back like now I think I want to do family. And I did get sign up for the National Health Service scholarship was in school. So by doing that, I kind of you have to be primary care. And if you if you skip and decide to do something else, you owe them a lot of money very quickly. And so I didn’t know that I didn’t want to change anyways, I knew from a long time ago, anytime I talked with a doctor or listen, I loved every specialty. You know, when I was on surgery, love surgery when I was an internal medicine, loved it. OB GYN, loved it, pediatrics loved it. In one place, I found that I can do all of that as family practice. And I can do I can see and do just about anything within my scope. Obviously, I’m not a surgeon, but I do small surgery. And so yeah, so I’m a deal family physician, so osteopathic physician, and I get to use my hands to diagnose I get to use traditional medicine the way we all understand that. And then yeah, I think I’ve lost sight of the question. For a second, but I’ve grown up doing this practice for a long time, and I kind of fell into family practice knowing like, this is where I fit. I love building relationships with people I like, you know, being, you know, someone’s resource for things I I’m not an expert in my field, but I know quite a bit of what I’m doing. You know, I think the same thing goes like when you take your car to the mechanic, I’m not mechanical, I don’t know how to fix a car. I love it when people come to me that they’re knowledgeable about their health, but they want to learn more. And that’s kind of my goal with things is to, to, to bring people in, but also to, you know, learn and listen with what they’re doing and how they do it. And then how can I help with what I know. And so I think I take that to my practice, too.
Yeah, I think that’s admirable is you’re the quarterback of the situation, right? You have to know enough that you can direct people to where they need to go in each individual situation. Know Exactly, yeah. And I think being a generalist is a good thing. Right. And you know, these days, it’s so specialist driven. That it, it gets to be a hassle, right? Because if you’re, if your nephrologist, doesn’t talk to your pulmonologist doesn’t talk to your cardiologist, then those systems that all work together, yeah, aren’t getting addressed together.
Right. And, you know, I’ve heard the fun metaphors, you know, you said, quarterback, I like that one I’ve heard, you know, you got to be the captain of the ship. You know, I want you to take the lead on this. And I like all those roles. I like being the guy that, you know, can sit and look at the information and go, Well, it’s, you know, this med didn’t get changed when you went to this one, because like you just said, you know, if you if you have two specialists, you know, they get two different med lists, if they’re in different health systems. They don’t have that piece of information when you’re in the hospital two years ago, because it was a different hospital, you know, and then you follow up with your primary, your generalist, your family doctor, and I get to sort that information. Sometimes it seems like it’s hectic, and it’s like, oh, gosh, I have more paperwork. But it’s also like, I get to learn and live those things with people.
That’s awesome. Yeah. So when you finished up med school, is there a residency for family practice? How does that work?
So sure, so yeah, you do four years of medical school. And then so family practice is three years of residency. So a lot of people see the stuff of like intern and versus resident. Well, the way it is now is that your internship years, your first year of residency, so I was in Lansing, Michigan, for my residency, and I did family practice is three or four years, and I was chief resident with my co chief resident the last year, so that was really fun being, you know, leading the other residents teaching as I’m still learning and the student I mean, we’re still learning in the student always. But, you know, being in in different levels of that hierarchy of stuff was really great. It’s a good program. And then yeah, after that, so that was seven, eight years ago, something like that. Launched into working here in Missouri after that, so Okay, worked for a bigger health organization, but in a rural critical access hospital doing outpatient family medicine for last seven, eight years, learned a whole lot, especially jumping right into practice. I felt like I was really ready to be, you know, working probably from my first or second year of of residency, because I did some moonlighting when I was trim training, I did some filling in for doctors that were sick and things like that in the community. So I’ve been working actually, before I finished residency, I’ve been seeing patients and that that was the good thing about our residency program was we had our own patient panels. So I’ve been independently seeing patients with supervision for a long time. Sure, before I even did my own. And so yeah, I learned all kinds of things on how I want to practice. And then I learned a lot of things on how I don’t want to practice. And that was a big change over probably the last probably four or five years ago, I really started seeing the things I wanted to change. And that’s what kind of brought me to where I am now. But yeah, so and then been in St. Louis now in the St. Louis area since April, doing my own practice. And, yeah,
so what were the things in your previous job that you didn’t love?
So I didn’t love you know, I heard this really good. And I think I even heard you, you you speak to it recently. But I heard it again, in a lecture I was at at the Chamber of Commerce meeting a few weeks ago, this transactional versus transformational kind of relationship with the people and I don’t think I had any transformational realizations or anything like that. But I was getting really bogged down with the idea of these, you know, 15 minute appointments, these quick visits. You know, trying to fit somebody in a week or two weeks out fully knowing that my schedule is really busy. And I like like I said, I love spending time with my patients. I built it into my schedule eventually that I wanted 30 minute appointments and so I could spend some time but even then I still knew to fit somebody in was going to take away that time it was going to take away my time and then it meant more time for me to do charting afterwards. And so I could feel the strain on myself. I don’t like the phrase burnout but I do think that that was relevant. And I think a lot of It had to do with that time. You know, I slowly and it wasn’t even that slow. But once I realized it, I had a patient panel of greater than 4000 patients. And yeah, and I had a couple nurse practitioners that helped out with that. And where we work face all patients kind of like as as primary care Doc’s and we did supervision, we talked a lot, they’re wonderful. But when you you’re over 4000 patients, and you know that really, in my mind decreases access, when you have a physician that wants to spend time with patients. I really did not like the 5-10 minute appointments where you don’t get enough time to spend and figure out what you did. Or if you feel like he left the room and you’re like, I really didn’t get the answer that I was even trying to figure out how to help somebody or you space, you probably felt that too. I hope not, but I would assume somebody did. And then you also refer a lot more. And there’s a lot that like I said, I’m I loved all the specialties that I grew up learning in medicine, and I love doing some of those things. I love procedures. I love hands on medicine, I love trying to figure out the cardiac stuff that I can do their stuff I can’t do I can’t do a Cath, I know that. But I can definitely manage someone’s AFib I can manage someone’s heart failure. But when you know you’re rushed for time, it’s not safe. And it’s not as easy to do. But in a different setting. It could be and so I think it really came down to you know, the balance of, you know, how busy things were, how decreased access, and I could see the the dissatisfaction with patients because we had a great relationship, but they couldn’t see me. And you know, like I come back from the weekend like, Well, we tried to get in, and we called Two weeks ago, and like, I didn’t know you called Two weeks ago, if I would have known I would have tried to see you and I worried about that. And then I worry about when I see somebody on the schedule, I’m like, oh, gosh, two, they have something happened, because I haven’t seen them in a while. And so that always made me nervous. And I think those were the things that continue to strain. There’s other things to the bureaucracy of big medicine. And I learned that over time. And I think some people it’s it’s great to be an employed setting where you don’t have to worry about the overhead, you don’t have to worry about hiring in an acquisition of patients and things like that. And there’s just different ways to do that. And some people that’s a blessing, because it’s it’s much easier. And I think for me, it was something that bothered me, it just didn’t fit with the way I want to do things.
It sounds like you value the quality time that you can spend with people now.
Yeah, and I think whether it’s patience, or like things like this is where you can share the space of you know, healthcare happens to be my aspect of what I can share with people. And I like talking about it. And so but but sharing that space, being able to, you know, be there for when a person has those questions and be, you know, a resource in authority on something, or at least, you know, a trusted person that you can ask a question to, and you’re going to get a straight answer. And then you have a conversation about what to do with that answer. Right. So
I think one of the things I like most about what I’m doing is that I get to joke around with people, right? Like, I get to know my people well enough to know that the lady with the really expensive car likes to go to White Castle for coffee. Like that’s hilarious to me. Right? Like, getting to know them as people not just a shoulder injury or not just a heart failure. Right? That’s what’s so rewarding.
Oh, yeah. Well, it helps to I think, you know, it’s it, it’s, it helps on different levels, because I think you, you know, you break down some barriers, when you do those things, when you can have, you know, better communication with people, you usually, you know, I found this with a couple of, of med students and nurse practitioner students that, and we all have this, but there’s certain personalities that can break down information with people faster, you get that extra piece of information that, you know, if you interviewed somebody with the same questions, you’re going to get an answer. And I’m going to get different answers just on how we deliver and how we say those things. And so, you’re completely right, is trying to find those cool shared spaces with people in those, you know, like, how is your daughter doing? Or if someone brings their spouse or their kid or their, their, their, you know, adult parent with him. You know, you learn about people and you learn behaviors of people, but you also learn Yeah, those those things that make you know, a relationship, kind of this wonderful thing where you can, you’re literally spending time with them. It’s not so much that like I said, that transactional piece where yes, you know, I’m your doctor, there’s a payment model, there’s all those things that you know, I went to school, we all pay for the services we do. But there’s also that, again, you’re finding someone that you trust to give that information to you in in a setting that’s safe and comfortable, and that you can give all the information because you probably know this if you didn’t get all the information, you know about an injury or about something that hurts or doesn’t hurt. You’re gonna maybe not know all the things as you do a treatment for somebody or as a plan for somebody you might miss out or you might do too much. Even it’s
You know, at the end of the day for me, like tomorrow, I’ve got seven patients. And that’s, that’s pretty much as many as I can possibly see in a day. Yes, we do a full hour every single time. Right? So with time in between, that’s about as many as I can do. I know for a fact, tomorrow when I’m done, I’m gonna be exhausted. Yeah. Right, because I am thinking about every single thing that I do with every single client. And I think that’s a good thing. Right? If I am not on my game and trying to problem solve 90% of the day, we’re missing something. Yeah. And I think that in a different setting where you may only have 5-10 minutes, yes, you’re problem solving. But you’re also kind of just running around, right? There’s just a lot of logistics, in that not as much critical thinking when it comes to patient care. And I’m not saying that that, you know, was a detriment to your clients, but it may have been a detriment to you. And I would think that having a happier, healthier Doc is probably a good thing for your clients.
I do think so there’s lots of things out there. But like I said, that mindfulness that burnout, though, was a moral injury. I know that that’s a phrase that goes on there, too. And I think that time is so interesting, because, you know, if you look at traditional schedules for physicians, you know, I think I don’t know the average, but I’ve heard roughly about 20, some patients a day is the average, that’s a lot of patients, I was at one time seeing 30 people a day. And, you know, I’ve trained with some doctors that they see upwards of 40 patients a day, but they have, you know, one to two students and one to two residents with them, while they’re doing that, and seeing four people at a time, basically. And they enjoy it. And it works for them because of the pace of things. And because he you know, he knew his patients super well, he had built relationships for 3040 years. So I think that was easier for him to do. But for me, and the way to spend time with people, even 20 patients, you know, because there’s phone calls, there’s faxes, there’s signatures, there’s insurance, phone calls you have to make and then, you know, did you really eat lunch today? Or did you do charts for 45 minutes, you know, your administration time, and I have air quotes about administration time. Is that? Because those are times for you? Like you just said, Did you? Did you have that time to decompress to think about what you want to do for that next patient? You know, and there’s all these models for physician wellness, about what take five minutes in between each patient like, well, if I’ve got, you know, a patient scheduled every 15 minutes, and I’ve got to take five minutes in between each eye, that’s where my sarcastic thing comes in really big when when I’ve been in those conferences with people I’m like, okay, so you know, please do the math with me, right? And where do you want me because in traditional model, medicine, that fee for service thing is, if I don’t see you and do something to you, we don’t, I don’t want to talk too much about money, but it comes down to we don’t get paid. And then that corresponds to poor outcomes with patients. And so it just never worked. For me, I love being able to spend time and like you said, having a full day is awesome. Being able to use those skills in your mind critical think, I think that’s amazing. And having that time that you’ve got a little bit of time in between. So you decompress you wait for the next one. And yeah, if you have a full day, it’s mentally exhausting, but you got to do the things you want to do. I think that is, like you said, a much better fit for a clinician, a health professional, if you will, then someone who’s at the end of the day, doesn’t remember how the day ended, is, you know, 15 charts behind and has 10 phone calls to make and you know, has to answer like, all the scripts that didn’t get sent yet. And so it it changes how your perspective at time,
right? So I don’t know why that reminded me. But I’m, I’m in the process of training a new therapist. And when I say new therapist, she’s new to this business. She has more experience than I do as a PT. But she’s not worked in this type of setting before. Yeah. So day one, you know, showed her all the computer stuff and the software and all that. But I wanted to run her through just kind of a roleplay evaluation, see how it went. And I was using an old injury of mine. And she took eight to 12 minutes or so doing like a subjective history. And we didn’t do objective, but then we did more of like the plan side. I spend probably 25 to 35 minutes on subjective. And when I told her that she was like, how do you do that? I was like, because we have plenty of time you have an hour, right? Like, use it. Yeah, get to know them as a person. Because for us, we’re working on specific functional tasks most of the time, right? If I have knee pain, that doesn’t mean I’d have knee pain. That means I can’t go to the gym. I can’t run I can’t compete. I can’t play kickball with my kids. I can’t. There’s all the stuff that goes along with it. If I just know, knee pain. That doesn’t mean anything that is not emotionally moving. What would you use the word transformation? Yeah, right. Transformational versus transactional. Yeah, knee pain is transactional. Yeah. Being able to play kickball with your kids as their high school senior, something whether that’s transformational, like, you may never get that opportunity again, I want you to be able to do that in six weeks.
Yeah, no, I think that’s great. I think you’re right. I think when you when you try to, you know, we’ve said all these things, breaking down barriers, but finding the cause holistic type of, of healthcare and things, I think those those all come in. And you’re right, when you can sit and you find one, you know, I used to say this thing, you know, I tried to be very stark and objective when it came to people that came in for pain specifically, you know, I wanted to say, you know, I did, we did a bunch of stuff in residency about, you know, opioids and all these things, and trying to block that. But that, Mike, my phrase, in the beginning was Why don’t care about pain of like, Oh, that’s not a good thing to say that you shouldn’t say it like that. And I stopped, because I think I always qualified it. But it was, it was always rude. And so I stopped saying it. But I always said, you know, we have to look at what do you want to do? Like you just said, What do you want to do functionally? Because pain is going to be there and we got to augment it, we got to get through it. Sometimes you treat it sometimes you you go through it. Sometimes you do therapy, or you do whatever. But what does that functional goal? What is it? Like? You just said what is it you’re doing now that’s limiting you from getting that function. And so there’s those pieces, you’re not going to find that information, you’re not going to be able to get those goals with somebody, or get that treatment plan that encourages people to keep coming back to you to keep using you as their person when they need that. You’re not going to get those relationships. If it’s like, okay, you have knee pain. Well, I know this treats knee pain, and I’ve got to see the other person. And so the ear right that’s that takes transaction versus transformation. I love this phrase, I’m I have to go back to the Kirkwood high school track coach, she’s an amazing speaker. And she’s been doing it for like, I think she said 34 years and her whole method, you should call her. Her whole methodology of how she takes on relationships with people. And she does it with high schoolers. is amazing. And then she I stole this phrase from her. So I credit her so but it was a wonderful speech. But I took that to heart. And I’ve heard it other places in different pieces, but
maybe not those exact words. But the sentence the same, right? That’s cool. Yeah, I like it. I know. So we’ve kind of been skirting around this, this question that I’ve wanted to ask you is about building relationships. Yeah, right. Basically, what we’re saying is spending more time with people typically will assist in building relationships. But I’d love to kind of hear your perspective on a why is that important when it comes to dealing with clients? And B, how do you do that?
Well, you know, we talked about time, and I think time is important, because time is is you get to spend doing it because you have to put in time to learn people’s trust. And to get people’s trust, you need respect, and you have to value what someone is saying and the information they’re giving, you have to listen with intention. And those are all going to happen with time, you can’t just do that, you know, on a quick questionnaire or you know, one to two questions and pop out, you’re not going to get the whole history, not that gonna get the whole picture. But I think also building the relationship is how people get to you how so so I’m talking specifically about my practice and why I’ve made the changes I do. And I have my little things that I you know, I have three little pillars of sage family practice, and it’s, you know, I’m accessible, I’m affordable, and I’m personal. And the idea is personal is the really big one is because I want people to feel comfortable with who their doctor is. I want people to be able to reach me when they need to that’s a little bit of the access, but it’s still personal. And then the affordability, you know, I don’t want to break people’s bank, but I want to also make this approachable for people. And I think when you you know, have very transparent pricing, I think when you have a high value, high value health care, but low cost, you meet people where they’re at. And I think that’s that’s an important thing, whether it’s time or whether it’s due, you know, access. So do they need to do maybe they don’t need an hour appointment, you know, not everybody needs or wants to sit. You know, I had one patient this a couple weeks ago. It was the first time that he actually looked at his watch after about 45 minutes and said, Am I taking up too much of your time? I said, No, we’ve got all kinds of time and I felt like super excited about that moment. And, but then again, it’s that access again, I have somebody else who I’ve gotten a couple text messages today. And we talked last week. I’ve only seen him once in the last month but communication wise and access wise, he has my you know, the office text message line, he’s got an email to me. He knows how to call me we do video visits, we do you know all the ways on which you can communicate with somebody. So communication and access for people I think is just as important as building those relationships. And so, like we said before, I want to make sure that for me healthcare is like a conversation. You know, when I give somebody information that they should do based on what we we talked about in terms of what the concern is. I don’t be you know, I give the information. You have to go out there and do the thing. So whether it’s exercise Is that a pill? Is it a fish is a physical therapy, you’re the one that has to go do those things. So I want to make sure that what we recommend and talk about what you’re going to be able to do, you are motivated to do it. And then is this going to be something realistic that we can continue to work on to reach whatever that goal is. And so those are like, I think that’s a big blow up picture of like, a relationship with somebody, like, you can’t do all those things. Without communication, you can’t do it without people being able to access you. You know, in healthcare, there has to be an affordability price piece to it. And then, you know, it has to be a personal approach, because, you know, if I just walk in, say, Wait, you got to go to therapy, and they don’t, they don’t understand or their person, it’s really been bogged by PT before. And you’re like, Yeah, but you didn’t do therapy the right way. You know, and I know, that’s gonna light you up. But I said it for purposely, but you know, the same thing with pills, like, you know, everyone, no one wants to be on a medicine, right? But you know, from from, from personal experience with blood pressure issues myself, I hated the thought, and I’m a doctor, I hated the thought of taking a pill, I resisted it for a little while. And then it’s like, this is silly, you know, I’m putting myself at risk. And I say the same thing to patients, when they come in, like, well, it’s only 148 over 92. And it’s like, okay, that that’s high, you know, and it’s documented, it’s been that way for a while, and then you start, you know, telling the realistic things, you know, it’s like, well, that that’s a risk factor for this, this and this, and it can lead to really bad things. You know, not everything’s that severe. But if you don’t have that relationship with someone, they’re either going to be turned off and move on to another provider that gives them exactly what they want, which may be in their cases, nothing. Or they’re going to listen, and they’re going to say, Well, is there another way to do it? Is there something to do that doesn’t involve this, and we can, we can try different methods. And so I love that bit relationship piece, that conversation piece that you can have with someone to really get to know who they are, how you can help them. And then what can we do to keep this moving forward? For sure.
I think most people are going to be somewhat resistant and somewhat stubborn until they trust you. Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s part of it. It’s not just saying, Oh, well, I went to such and such school, and I’m this smart, and I pass this test. It’s, here’s why I care about you. And this is what I know, that could help you. Right. And I think building that trust with people is crucial. And that’s done through building a relationship. Yeah, I think they go hand in hand. Yeah, I
think so too. I think you got to put in time with people, and you got to be able to listen. And yeah.
I don’t think I’ve asked this question on the show before. What is a DO versus an MD? Yeah, I see them both. Yeah, I’m not 100% sure exactly. What the difference is, is there a difference? Yeah, I know, school is different
school is a little different. So Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine do versus medical doctor MD. So yep, I might do. deals have been around, I think the first schools like 152 years ago, or something like that. So started in Missouri, actually. So at still, in Kirksville, he was actually an MD and a chiropractor, I will maybe do a fact check later, but I’m pretty sure about that. But at the time, when he was practicing medicine, most of the culture of medicine was based on there was a lot of bloodletting. There was a lot of exploratory things are non looking, not looking at ways that the body can take care of itself. So when we talk 150 years ago, we’re saying, bloodletting versus trying to do things that allow the body to heal naturally. So we fast forward, you know, decades and century later, Andes and do is I really think anymore, it’s, it’s a little bit of a school of thought. And then it’s, it’s just a different medical school. And so, there’s, there’s two ways to think about I know, you know, MDs that are super holistic, that think about all kinds of things outside the box. Typically, you know, kind of what we were just talking about, for that transactional piece. A long time ago, my explanation that was given to me is when I was starting school, and again, I grew up with a deal mom, I didn’t know what an MD was for a long time. So I was like, Oh, it’s just a deal. That’s a doctor. And so but, you know, the thought was, is that, you know, I have knee pain? Well, we’re going to treat that symptom with something that takes Rid of Knee pain, whereas the older holistic approach would be, is that okay? In osteopathic approach, is that what causes that pain? You know, is it that you know, are we talking about an injury? Are we talking about you know, do you do you have a problem with your foot, you know, is there swelling? Why do you have swelling, you know, it taking into account all the factors, is there a weight issues? Is there a back issue that’s causing you to favor a knee, you know, all the little things that might contribute in that bigger picture? And then the other thing with osteopathic medicine is we’re all trained in osteopathic manipulative medicine, or medic manipulative therapy. So OMT, or OMM, depending where you went, and some people call opp that’s a different phrase, but it all means using our hands to diagnose and so there’s, there’s ways in which to treat the body and the best way I explained to patients what is OMT what is hands on medicine means that you can use your hands to help diagnose, prevent, and treat things. And probably similar to some techniques you use, and probably they’re, they’re probably named even the same, they’re probably the same technique is, you know, muscle energy, you know, having the patient give you a little resistance while you hold certain isometric or isotonic positions. You know, myofascial trying to loosen up tissue, without trying to give a massage or massage is actually a form of this therapy. Also, there’s some overlap a little bit with chiropractic things, my experience, and there’s some excellent chiropractors that I’ve worked with, is that, you know, not everything is cracking and popping, there’s a lot of other things too. And so the idea is that there’s a lot more holistic approach to health care is what is what my always foundation for osteopathy was. And again, that being said, is modern medicine, you have to have take a holistic approach and everything we’ve just talked about, I don’t think we you really get to take care of people and have the respect of people if you’re not taking some of those approaches. So I think more and more than more than any more today, a do is a practicing physician went through all the same credentialing training that a medical doctor does. The schools of thought are a little bit different. And then
has the same ability to prescribe. Oh, yeah, surgeries and neurosurgeons that
are DOs. There’s yeah, there’s neuro there’s DEOs in every field of medicine. I think we’re up to like 37 medical schools now. But now we make up like 25% of the population of physicians.
So it’s for all basically the the facts, the data, the research, the same. Yeah, philosophies, a little bit different
philosophies a little different. And then there’s that that aspect of hands on medicine also cool. Yeah, not everybody uses that. But it is taught when you when you start school?
Absolutely. So tell me a little bit about your practice. I know we’ve kind of touched on a few different things. Right. You You said accessible, affordable, personable, right? Yeah. So those are kind of the principles that you use or that you promote? Thrive? I’m not sure when the right
we’re gonna go with my scripting from my website. So is it those are the values? I think that that’s that so my practice is sage family practice? Those are the values that I want to make sure that I stick to with people values can always change. But those are what, when I was thinking of how to create this DPC or direct primary care practice for myself, what are the things that I would look for, to one to be a patient of, but also, what would I look for and want somebody else to if they were going to take care of me? How would I want that to look, and so I would want to make sure that the things that frustrated movement with my prior prior position is that access, I want people to be able to get in with me. So in this direct primary care model from a three stage family practice, my patient panel is not going to be 4000, I’m looking somewhere between three and 400, I don’t have a final number, I think it’s going to be what that looks like at the time, but to not be bogged down with 1000s and 1000s. of patient. And because it’s a monthly membership, that continues, that’s a little bit easier to do for for myself and for people. But you know, so that’s that accessible, affordable piece, my rate is for adults is 65 a month, every month, kids are 30 bucks a month. You know, there’s some Doc’s that make that much higher, there’s concierge physicians that you can spend a lot more. But my biggest thing is I don’t bill insurance. And so because of that, you know, you can take your doctor with you, you know, I’m not in network, I’m not out of network, I’m not in anybody’s network, so that again, drives my access is that I’m available if you want a doctor that’s willing to take time and be personal with you. And that will make sure that you have access to your physician when you need it. Because you know, it’s very typical, you know, we’re calling you call for an appointment for someone. And well, next appointments, you know, in November, where it’s it’s not even October yet. We got October at the end of the week and the next first appointments November, well, you may not need something, or it might be too late November and things can get worse. And so I’d rather if you’re established, we may be able to see you now and take care of things as they’re happening and be a resource now. But yeah, so sage family practices is built on the direct primary care model. I know you’ve had some other DPC Doc’s on. But I just fell in love with this model. I think it’s great way to take care of people.
So you’ve been doing the DPC model with sage for six months, you said six months like that. So I know you’d kind of mentioned earlier that some of the things that prompted you to do your own thing. Were just the frustrations of the typical model. Yeah. So what and you’ve certainly touched on this already, but like what sets sage apart?
Right? So, so definitely so I think those pillars that we talked about again, so that accessibility the affordability of personal healthcare And I think, you know, I love like we’ve talked about getting to know people. I love the idea of kind of like what everyone thinks is what is sick. I only ever saw one episode but isn’t Marcus Welby? It’s like, or like your community, Norman Rockwell, like community doctor, like the doc, I don’t do house calls, but the doctor that, you know, you go to their office and you know, there, it’s comfortable, you know, people come in and we sit in regular chairs. And by the end, we do the exam, you know, but for the most part, it’s it’s a conversation that we sit and talk and we figure out what we’re doing. And then we still do the traditional stuff, you know, I take vitals, you know, I do my exam when it’s pertinent for people and stuff. But a lot of times it’s trying to, you know, letting the patient talk to figuring out how and where I can help. And what is it that we need to address? Is it screening stuff? Do we need to maybe just go down the list and say, you know, are we checking all the boxes for screening? Or is it a specific thing that we have to cover? And what I love in the in this model is that I’m able to do those things that frustrated me, I’m able to take that time, I’m able to say, You know what? I don’t have anybody for another half hour, do you want to keep talking? You know, or, you know, I’m going to check in with you tomorrow. You know, and I know that tomorrow, I have time to check in on somebody. And I know that, you know, when somebody calls me at Friday, at like two o’clock, I know that if I need to I could see somebody I could fit somebody in right away. And that’s really important to me is to is to make sure that again, that’s that’s my role, right. I want to be able to fulfill that reset
accessibility piece. Yeah. Very cool. So DPC. Yeah, right. And and you’re right. We’ve had some other DPC folks on the podcast here. So maybe, well, let me preface this. Each of them has had a slightly different definition of what is DPC? Sure. And how does it different from concierge? Sure. And what what’s the difference? So I’m going to I would love to hear your philosophy on Yeah, DPC in general. But then how is it different?
Yeah, so I won’t lie. I think I probably had the same questions a long time ago, I thought it was, you know, I at one point, I thought it was only occupational medicine. For some reason. I don’t know why I thought that I thought it was just the entrepreneur, people who, you know, are about to retire and want to kind of, you know, figure out a way to do medicine still. That when it boils down to it, my understanding is that it is it’s a membership based service. So think about it kind of like a gym membership, is that you know, you sign up for it, you’re only going to get out of it, what you put into it, and but it’s there when you need it. So when you want to go to the gym, when you want to come see me, I’m available. And but you know, if you don’t use it, because you don’t need it, or you’re healthier this month, really good. It’s still there. And so I’m still here, and that’s that provided providing that access piece for people. And the bigger the big thing that separates it from other health care models is the no insurance piece. So a true DPC is one that doesn’t take insurance. So it’s just a membership fee patients should have or keep whatever they’re comfortable insurance. And I, I stress that whether it’s us health shares, whether you have like that really high deductible plan or like a catastrophic plan, or if you just have regular coverage your employer provides, but you just want that different level of personal care. This is on top of that, or this is this is beyond that. But I put my price point at 65 and 30. adults and kids, because I want it to be affordable for people that do want to use it in whatever situation they’re in whether it’s uninsured or under insured, or even if they’re over insured, and I just want that aspect. But again, I don’t bill insurance. I don’t you can’t turn my bill into insurance. And the difference between that in my mind is in concierge is I do think DPC was kind of born out of what concierge purpose was. But concierge is where you do bill insurance still. And then there’s more of like a retainer fee is the way I’ve always thought about it. So typically the concierge practices I’ve talked to or read about it somewhere between two and $5,000 a year plus your insurance gets billed every visit. So there’s a copay every visit. There’s, you know, when you go to the office, and it’s still fee for service, they just happen to collect a little extra for me too. And I just think healthcare is already really expensive. You know, and that’s the the niche for DPC is it’s not expensive. There’s ways to look at, you know, we offer let I have some special contracts with a couple local labs, that I can get loud pricing much cheaper than someone’s insurance. Same thing with medications. There’s just other ways to keep the costs of healthcare low. And I think that’s what DPC and that’s what I want to do through sage is to keep healthcare available for people because it is really important for people. And then if you can find those avenues with all the things we’ve talked about, I think that’s the difference with DPC, especially with concierge and then definitely different than traditional medicine, you know, where you like, as we said before, is if you go there and to, you know, for the office to make money, they have to see you and do something to you. It’s very different.
Interesting. So I think that definitely sums it up. And I think the and this may have been touched on before but I think the way you described the yes, they’re gonna bill insurance. Also there’s a retainer, right. I think the way you describe that makes it make more sense to me. cuz I’ve, I’ve asked other people like, what’s the difference? Like? Well, one’s more expensive? Well, yeah. Why? Why is it different? I don’t know. Well, you’re
when you when you do that also, you know, and I’ve never done seen a concierge doctor and I have not dove too deep into what they what they do and don’t do. But they have to also figure out how to so if you’re going to bill insurances, how are you taking money also for this is where we’re getting some legal stuff that I know a little bit but not enough, is that if you’re taking money on top of the insurance, you have to be able to provide a service that goes beyond the regular things that the insurance carrier would pay for. So
in my world, that’s what’s the difference in wellness and physical therapy, right. And it’s such a gray line, right? There’s no definition of wellness
until I see typical practices. And indeed, sometimes there weren’t, but like, the different genetic testing that can be done the super cholesterol, cardiac profiles, you know, stress tests that have like extra bells and whistles to them. And sometimes they’re necessary, sometimes they’re not. And sometimes they have really great validation for a patient with their appropriate risk score for those things. And sometimes they don’t. And to be honest, if you want to do that, that’s great. But that’s just not what I’m looking to do.
Understand. So one of the things that we were talking about before we started the recording here was work life balance. Yeah. Right. You had mentioned that in previous positions you’d had often you’re taking your chart home, or you’re not necessarily taking your work home, but there’s stuff right, that admin stuff. Yeah. When you’re clocking in for eight hours, it’s, well, more than eight hours. Yeah. So I’d love to kind of hear your philosophy on work life balance, but also, what’s the difference for you these days?
Yeah, so you know, and I honestly can’t complain, I’m an outpatient physician, you know, I don’t have inpatient responsibilities or anything like that. So my work life balance in the traditional sense of that word was, was probably okay. But when you you know, your work your eight or nine hours a day, five days a week. And you know, the, you have to have so many patient facing hours every week to meet your protocol for the salary that you do. And then yeah, having between at the end there, I was doing 16 to 22 patients a day. And, you know, revolving door notes don’t get done every day, there’s phone calls you I hated leaving phone calls that at least an answer that just bothered me, if someone didn’t get their question answered. You know, at the end of the day, when it’s like 4:30-5 o’clock, you’re like, Okay, well, that question can wait till tomorrow. But what if I answered it right now, and didn’t have to do it tomorrow, because then it just keeps building. And then you go home with some stress, and you go home, with sometimes you go home and do charts. And sometimes that carried over, I think a lot into, you know, the only time I had for free time or for doing things was Saturday and Sunday, or, you know, after we, you know, had dinner, or we put the kids to bed, we had a little bit of, you know, time with my wife to chat and do those things, some personal time there. And then it’s bedtime, you know, and I’m not I can’t I try to I can’t stay up late. And I like getting up early, so it doesn’t work to stay up too late. And so there’s not a lot of time for the woodworking that we can talk about, and all those other things in, you know, that lifestyle piece. And I think today, you know, I still am doing charts in the evening, I’m still making phone calls in the afternoon. But this model of care is it leaves so much more time for, you know, the best thing is, so So one of the other people you’ve had on Dr. Otto, who’s a close friend and colleague with his, with his practice is that, you know, it leaves more time for even medical knowledge, curiosity, like I’d love to in the future to take you know, an ultrasound course for for for medicine, I’d love to take a classical, yeah, but the point of care ultrasound and acupuncture and, and things that have always made me curious, but I’ve never been able to spend time on them, let alone hobbies, and I love being so much more present for my family over the last few months is that, you know, being able to run and pick up the kids without having to juggle like seven patients left at the end of the day to try to schedule and basically saying, Well, I can’t. And so there’s all those little things that always come up. But I think before it was more of like a work work balance. It was like, I did my work there. I thought about my work all day when I was at home. Now it’s there really is a separation. And I really noticed I think patients notice it, you know, and I had some patients that followed me, which is super a super good blessing, very humbling. But they notice it, which was fun. They’re like, there’s something different about this. And I was like I just keep trying, I wish I could just sit with me every day and see like this is totally different. And there’s just, it’s a lot more rewarding. Doing it this way. And even like we said, All this time I spend with patients and I feel like there’s a couple patients that I had when I was in my previous spot and I see them still now. I feel like I know him better in the last couple months than I did for like seven years. And it’s just it’s just, it blows my mind and it’s so hard it the biggest thing with DPC and especially how sage family practice I feel like I’m doing it is it’s simple. And that’s the hardest part to wrap my head around is that it’s not complex, right? And I can even
just like insurance codes, like there’s 25,000 of them, like, how could you possibly keep that in some sort of simple way, there’s a big
book they give you every year from the administration department ash, they say you should probably look at this and it sits in stops the door over in the corner, until
it’s stuff like that. I mean, that’s one aspect of the complexities of the typical model, right, you know, and then and then productivity standards, and then this, and then
you have your metrics, and then you have it, you know, but and I love metrics, because most of the metrics are based on what patients do. It’s not, you know, I give them like we talked about, I give them all the information, and I try to help them with motivationally things. But there at the end of the day, the ones that have to go do it, but yet, we’re out there the administration’s that some of these places, they’re, you know, I use the wording or penalize or, you know, bring down numbers or scores for doctors and healthcare providers, because someone’s a one see with their diabetes wasn’t a goal. Well, I tried really hard to do that. I got them in several times in the last month. But it didn’t happen. And it and maybe we’ll get it next quarter. But then that reflects poorly on the physicians like, that just doesn’t make sense. Like, I get that we want to get that goal. I want to get that down because it creates better health for everybody. And someone has less risks, but that’s just not the way to do it.
Right. Yeah. So with work life balance, we got to talk about some woodworking. Sure. So I kind of rotate hobbies. Right. So like I get super into woodworking for like a year. Yeah. And then I do this huge project that kind of burns me out. And air quotes burns me out. Sure. And then I kind of switch to a new priority. So I’ll admit, over the last year, year and a half, I’ve been super into Disc Golf, frisbee golf, too. So woodworking has kind of been like, Oh, I’ll design something. But I haven’t quite pulled the trigger on buying them. We’re doing the project, right. My last big project, I rebuilt our deck. Whoa. So we we got a quote on getting our deck finished. Yeah, the week before COVID. Right, when all of my patients couldn’t come in, and my wife was furloughed. Oh, no. So needless to say, that was not a priority to spend 15 grand on a deck, no necessity for the right way. Right, right. So I’m thinking okay, well, if this is two weeks, I could I could probably build a deck in two weeks. So it didn’t take two weeks. It took four weeks, but the point is over 80 to 100 hours. I rebuilt our deck that’s more, you know, a sixth of the price. That’s amazing. But I had the ability because it’s a real life skill. Mm hmm. But I learned on YouTube. Yeah, well, I learned on YouTube if you can do anything for Right, I’ve never actually had a lesson or no learn from a person how to do any woodworking.
I would love that. I’ve looked into that actually. Right. So there’s a woodworkers guild. Okay, that’s it. I have met with somebody like Well, the best thing to do is to find a guild. I’m like, Okay, well then, like as we said before, before, I would like when do I have time to go drive and sit in the guild meeting? In fluster? Sounds fun when you keep saying the word guild? That’s an awesome a deck. Wow, that’s a big thing. Right?
It was not quite fine woodworking by any means. But I think I mean, I it’s still challenging. It still requires a lot of planning and measuring. And, yeah, it’s not something I’d ever done before.
That’s, I mean, that’s a big undertaking. So yes, I think that counts. I will give you a green light that that counts. Excellent. Yeah, I’ve I haven’t you have like a favorite project that you’ve done? So I think I’ve got lots of projects. Oh, my, my wife’s a graphic designer. And I think she’d probably still listen to this eventually. I think that she’d probably labeled herself as a maker and a creative person. So she comes up with amazing designs. I’m halfway decent with tools. Except I have no like, I love to say that my creative abilities gotten better. But my like crafty like really polished is is it’s lacking in some areas for my woodworking but my favorite projects are I’ve done some really fun cutting boards. They’re kind of the entryway I think for most people to get into woodworking, but I’ve done some fun shapes. I’ve done some foam cutouts. I’ve done some fun, you know you put a different wood mixed in with it a little bit. I built in our previous home, it was more in the country. I built the furniture for under firepit so a three seater pieces to a chair a love seat and then it’s like the love seat with a little table in the middle. So two chairs that I’ve built. I built a light fixture for a friend of mine it was mostly That was a weird project. I kind of did like a very Asian culture like block wood with like a little Edison bulb on it and I like electrical things too. I’m currently our big project right now. So I just finished the Scotia which is a fun word underneath the treads are wood steps. Okay, so it’s the little fancy tiny quarter half inch piece of like trimmed wood underneath, okay, just cut it and put it in. I didn’t route it or anything like that. But I am we are going to tackle we have all the parts, we only have like a five run stair way up to the upper level, I am tackling a newel post a railing and balusters and it is really daunting.
Yes, lots of angles. Yeah.
I don’t Yeah, yes. I just want to like put it in place. And then I promise you can’t waste too much.
Because what is crazy expensive right now, it’s less than it was three months ago, it’s still
pretty expensive. But this and this is all red oak isn’t super expensive. It’s the cheaper of most of them. But it’s like the newel post like it has to be the right height from the start. And I got to trim it down to start and then have to drill a hole in the bottom and then like the two holes have to meet a perpendicular to each other. It’s really a cool thing. I’m more nervous over that than I think of some of my practice things at the moment which aren’t the best. But that’s good. I’m worried about woodworking. I’m not worried about my medical practice.
That is a good thing. I think my next project is a dollhouse inspired bookcase for my nice. Whoa. Yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see. That’s intense. This is like a project where I can’t paint it to cover up any mistakes. So this is going to have to be kind of a big one. So anyway, yeah, that’s later we could have a different podcast. Yeah, commissioned for my for my sister in law. That’s awesome. We’ll get there. Alright, so one of the other things we talked about before starting this was, you mentioned sharing space. Yeah, right. And there’s multiple ways to describe or define sharing space. But you mentioned, especially within medicine, being uplifting rather than competitive, right? I see that so much, right? Like, there are a lot of PT’S in St. Louis, there’s three big PT schools here. Now, we are so bad at competing with each other. We’re so bad at competing with chiropractors, rather than living in that mindset of abundance, and I want to help the people with x. And if they know that I’m great at that, then they’ll come to me. Rather than like, oh, well, I could do that better than them. Right. So I’d love to kind of hear your perspective.
Well, I think mine stems from a couple of things. One, you know, being in the traditional health care, you know, being employed by a large health organization, you kind of look at everybody’s competition, and you don’t share information with the other big health system, you know, you don’t you reach out to your colleagues and talk about things, but you’re not really supposed to share the payment model you’re supposed to share, you know, how you got your patients or what their marketing teams doing, or, you know, being on the recruitment board for things and the executive board for things, you know, you just keep some things, you know, close to your chest. And, well, that’s good. I get the model of business. I didn’t go to business school, like I said, I’m a psychology major, and I went to medical school. So I’m very much in the category of like this. This is in and we talked about YouTube videos of people sharing content, people sharing information, I think that space has is opened my mind up to how I want to do medicine, and meeting doctors like Dr. Otto and Dr. Allen and Dr. Fox, and there’s another Dr. Helen, and Dr. Hicks. And those are just a few people in the category of this space. And I’m finding more people that do PT that do they do wellness? Or they do women’s health? Or they do Oh, who else did I meet? They do a very specific fertility type of medicine. We’re all we all do something a tiny bit different. Like you said, we do the same thing, but maybe differently. And there’s enough patience to go around. We all have you. I’d rather have a patient choose me because they want to choose me not because I forced them to choose me. And so I think also in you know, like you were talking with me before I said, you know, we I’d love to share every patient that needs physical therapy with you that just might not fit for everybody. Absolutely. But I also can say to my colleague that hasn’t met you, like why have you met Dr. Greg yet? You know, cuz he does this a little differently. And they might know somebody, you know, it’s his his connections and networking. And this is not something I’ve ever done before. And being in this space where, like you said it, I don’t feel any competition with us. And I think the direct primary care world too is like that this or direct model of healthcare, whether it’s PT or primary care. You know, I’m not looking to fill up my patient panel with 4000 patients so I can hoard all these people so that they’re just mine. I want a small niche of that. I’d love the people stay with me. Yes, that’s my own ego and there, but I’m not going to try to take care of everybody. So there’s other people out there and I want, you know, if somebody else came to me, just like I’ve had the really great experience with some of these other doctors. Somebody came to me and they’re like, I want to learn how to start a DPC practice. I’m going to give them all this information. There’s no reason to hide it. Because if they’re doing well in the rest of they’re doing well, too, right? And it’s it’s just as cool space. And I think joining things that do networking, I’d like I said, I’d never did that before. And plus, I never had time to do it Sure. I never kind of needed to do it, right. But I also probably didn’t want to do it before. And now I do kind of have to do it. But when I go there, you know, you build yourself up and you do it. And you know, you’re handing out cards, which is a new thing for me. And, you know, you’re you’re sharing information. How do you do this? And, you know, I’ve explained what DPC or what sage is, hundreds of times at this point now, and, and I get better at it every time. And it’s it’s so fun, because you’re, I’m really sharing I think, you know, Sage family practice, that’s what I’m promoting, but I’m sharing myself, I’m sharing what I want to do and how I want to do it. Right.
I love that. So we’re getting close on time. Okay. You mentioned that you have an offer for listeners, I’d love to have you share that.
Yeah, so I am accepting patients. I’d love some new patients. But if if you if you heard me on this, if you’re a new patient joining me, I’d love to give you half off your first month. That way, we can start things off on a discount, but also start off on trying to build that relationship and see how things go. Very cool. I think I said that correctly. Yes, definitely. That’s fantastic.
Anything else that you’d like to share with the audit? Let me start over. Let’s, let’s get you your your contact info on the recording. So let me have you shot with Sure. So
say to me, practice We’re located at 111 Prospect Avenue, in suite 202. I share the practice some other people but sweet 202 the office phone number is 314-530-6525. And the website is sagefamilypractice.com. That’s…. And I’m also on Facebook and Instagram. I haven’t really jumped other social medias. But those are the ones I’m on. Happy to communicate with you I have on my website a link, you can click for a 15 minute get to know if you’re not really sure what this is happy to chat with you happy to do that in person too. If it works out, we can schedule something. Or if you’re really excited about it, there’s an Enroll button and people can kind of jump right on the website that sends information to me, and then we just get started.
Very cool. Yeah. Anything else you’d like to share with the audience? For we hop off the microphones here?
No, thank you so much. This is so fun. And again, I think this is help your listeners know. And I think they do that this shared space I think that people you talk to is exactly what I was talking about before. It’s just it’s so neat to define this atmosphere and find this place.
Yeah, you know, I think you watch me prepare for this. Right? Did Yeah, you got here 25 minutes early. It’s not a big deal. But I used to be so nervous about talking to people and like, what is how do I talk to a doctor? And how do I talk to such and such? It’s like, do I did I ask the right questions? Right? It’s like, you’re just a person. Yep. You’re just a person like, yes, you might have gone to school for longer than I did. But
you’re not. No, like, a different type of person. Right? Yeah, I think that’s,
that’s important. We’re all people. We’re all going through the same crap, right? We’re all here for similar things, hopefully, to make the world a little bit better. We have
a purpose to be doing some right. And this is it. Whatever we’re doing right now is the right thing. And I love that you said it that way. Because I actually had a mentor that whenever he introduced himself, he was a physician. And when he met a new patient, he introduced himself with his first name. He never said Dr. So and so he said his first name. And I’ve done that for a long time. And you know, I think it I think it breaks some things down. It makes things more approachable. But just like you said, still a person. I just happened to went to medical school. That’s really the big difference.
For sure. Yeah.
So you know, it’s it’s one of those things. I’m glad I’m doing this. Yeah. It’s been fun. Like, I don’t remember exactly which episode this is 35-36 Something like that. But anyway, this is fun. This is great. I appreciate you being here. Thanks again. Thank you. Any last parting words?
No. I hope everybody has a great day. And yeah, thank you so much.
Absolutely. This has been STL Active.
Thank you for listening to the STL Active podcasts from stlouispt.com. If you enjoyed the show, please spread the word. Thanks again and see you next time.
On this episode of the show, I am interviewing Dr. Emily Hudson, a naturopathic doctor and mental health counselor. Dr. Hudson attended Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington then made her way back to her hometown of St. Louis where she opened up her practice in 2018. Dr. Hudson strives to bring all aspects of health (mind, body, and spirit) into each visit with her clients. Dr. Hudson tends to see complex cases that have been otherwise dismissed by the conventional medical world.
Dr. Hudson she understands that each person is unique and has their own story to share. When her patients see her, they know their story will be heard and used to guide them through an individualized healing journey.
PH: (314) 626-0271
Hello, and welcome to STL Active St. Louis is premier health and wellness podcast. STL active aims to give listeners in the St. Louis area the information they need to succeed and progress with their health and fitness. This podcast is brought to you by stlouispt.com and hosted by Doctor of Physical Therapy, Greg, Judice.
Hey everyone, its Dr. Greg, owner and physical therapist at Judice Sports and Rehab. On this episode of the show, I’m interviewing Dr. Emily Hudson. Dr. Emily Hudson is a naturopathic doctor and mental health counselor who loves hearing people’s stories. She attended Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, then made her way back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she opened up a practice in 2018. She strives to bring all aspects of health and each visit with her clients, mind, body and spirit. She tends to see complex cases that have been otherwise dismissed by the conventional medical world. As a former respiratory therapist at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Dr. Hudson saw the great capacity of conventional medicine. She also saw its limitations though, through her diverse All right, welcome to the show. We’ve got Dr. Emily Hudson. She’s a naturopathic doctor, and she is in private practice here in St. Louis. Welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
Absolutely. Happy to have you. So let’s introduce you to the listeners. Yeah. Tell us a bit about your background.
Sure. So I’m a naturopathic doctor, like you said, and I’m originally from St. Louis, that’s my hometown. And ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. So I think that’s really, really underlying very important to know about me, it started with pediatrician and I wanted to be a veterinarian. And then I wanted to be a surgeon as I got older, and just always really interested in medicine and the human body, and just how people work, how the body works. And then also just wanting to help people feel better was something that was, I think, looking back on it, something that I always really liked to do as a kid and still do. So as I got older, I got more and more involved in the conventional side of things. So I did a lot of programs through high school where I would, you know, go to, you know, Wash U for like young adult, you know, medicine programs, and really gearing up to go to medical school. And then as a stepping stone in my education and process just as I was making that final decision, I decided to become a respiratory therapist to really be able to see medicine from the inside out. I knew I didn’t want to be a nurse necessarily nothing against nurses, but just knew that was not your call for me. But I was really fascinated by respiratory therapy. And so I decided to go down that path first, as I continued to just kind of think through my next big life steps. And I worked as an RT at Barnes Jewish Hospital for about three years. And the reason this is important to my background is because I did just that I saw medicine from the inside. And while there were a lot of amazing magic miracles, you know, you know, just really incredible stuff, I worked in the ER amazing stories, and just you know, the life saving treatment and intelligently, amazing people that work to help people get better. It was also a bit disappointing, there was just really something missing. And I knew that I wanted something different, but I still wanted to be a doctor. So I was kind of a little bit lost at that point. And honestly just did some more digging, like what are my options here. And I really just sort of fell into this idea of naturopathic medicine. And from the very beginning, I was like, Oh my gosh, if this is a thing, like this is my thing. This is absolutely what I want to do. And I just didn’t even know it before now because I didn’t know what it was. And it really was just downhill from there. As far as momentum goes. I got my prereqs and started school in 2000. I guess 12 2012 And you’re in the program. Yeah. Yeah, up in Seattle. Washington was where I had to go for that. Because is that a four year program? So it is a four year program.
I did it in five because while I was there, I also decided to get a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. Okay. So really melding that idea of how do I help People best, how do I personally help people best. And I learned very quickly in the naturopathic medical program, that mental health was something that I needed to incorporate more of, because I felt like that’s how I could better help the holistic approach to someone’s health. So I also got my Master’s in that. And so total it was about five years. Hmm, very cool. Yeah.
So how did you know at such a young age that you wanted to be a doctor? Oh, my gosh, I have no I was experienced or a family member that inspired you or encouraged you?
That’s such a good question. I you know what? No, I there is there’s a couple of doctors in my family, medical doctors, but I didn’t live around them. I can’t say that they were particularly influential. I think it was just the idea of helping people. I can’t give you a real pinpoint reason, it just feels good to help people. Like, I know that sounds so corny, but it must have been something that I experienced on an emotional level. And I just connected with it. And I think also we just, I think certain people just tend to have a stomach for for for growth or things. And I think to be a doctor, and to be a respiratory therapist, you really have to have that kind of stronger stomach and
I can tolerate phlegm that you can tolerate a lot. Yeah, I mean, it’s gross. So gross. But I just I think I’ve always been able to do that. And so, you know, blood and more, you know, high intensity situations have had just always called to me in that way. And so maybe putting those two things together, just sort of the perfect storm of like, I think it’s just personality at you know, at that point, like, what are you good at? What are you? What are you passionate about? And what can you handle? And I, it just I was so lucky to know, from such a young age what that was, and it didn’t really obviously form into what I am today. But just that idea of helping people. Yeah, very cool, huh? So you mentioned that when you were working as an respiratory therapist, that you were in the inside, you saw some amazing things of the traditional medical system, but you also saw some things that were probably just disappointed. Yeah. Right. So I’d love to kind of hear, you know, some examples, or is it more of a, some examples, I’ve got some examples for sure. I think the most visceral one that stands out to me, and like, I’ll never forget the image was I was it was nighttime, because I worked night shift. And so I was just sitting between my rounds, you know, sitting in the, the little bay, they call them the nurse’s station, I was sitting in the nurse’s station, just just kind of chillin, maybe reading something and I saw a doctor enter one of the ICU bed rooms. And he walked in and I saw the conversation and I saw him walk out baby two minutes later. And I happened to be a patient that I needed to go do a breathing treatment on soon. And so I went in a little while later, and the guy was pretty distraught. And I just was asking him what happened, like what’s going on. And he said, That doctor just came in and told me I needed a pacemaker and said everything would be fine and just walked right out. And I ummm just don’t know what to think. And I’m, I’m really upset. And I wish she had stayed and told me more about it. But I am scared. You know? And I’m like, Of course you are. That’s, that’s a really big deal. You know, not only to be in an ICU and to be surrounded by lots of loud noises and scary things, and people rushing around, but a doctor coming in and probably the one you don’t even know, telling you need a pretty significant intervention. And then just walking right out. So I think it’s a perfect example of the life saving ability that that medicine has, but such a glaring, short coming, if you will, that that that there’s just not the time and there’s not the education and there’s not the empathy that there’s so often should be that that might even make that patient more compliant and more understanding and and you know, the whole process a little bit easier on him and and actually make the outcomes better for his health, but they just weren’t there. Sure. And so I could go on and on about example, examples I’ve seen, but I think that that one is such an image to me that I’ll never forget.
And that seems like more of a systemic issue, right? It’s not just that Dr. It’s not just that hospital, right? It’s it’s, if we asked 1000, respiratory therapists, I’m sure most of them have seen something like, oh, which is sad. I mean, that shouldn’t be. Yeah. That shouldn’t be the the answer. That’s right.
I totally agree with you. And I think that that might differentiate me from some people, some naturopathic doctors, and a lot of people in general, because I don’t think that the medical system is evil, or that there’s, you know, individuals out to get you out, are there short, maybe, you know, I’ve heard stories, but in general, I think that it’s a systemic problem. And like I said, Before, the time is just not there, the system is not built for that the system is built to get things going and get procedures happening and save people’s lives. Right.
And that, and that is happening, right? But had that person had the doctor spent, what, five extra minutes, much longer? Right, right, five extra minutes with that person to tell them, This is what we found, you know, such and such will be in later to explain more. Yeah, this would have pacemaker does. This is why you need it. Yeah, I promise we’ll take good care of you. Yeah, here’s my phone number, leave a message. And we cannot, it does not take much just listening and being empathetic process this for a day, and let’s chat in the morning. Like, that didn’t happen.
No, no, it didn’t. I wasn’t there. But just from, you know, really, what matters is the experience. So whatever did happen, kind of doesn’t matter. Because it’s the it’s the experience and the what the patient remembers, that matters. And that’s true for so many things.
Absolutely. So the other thing that you mentioned that I wanted to ask about was the mental health side of things. So you got your Master’s in Counseling Psychology. I know that you said that. That was maybe part of the MD curriculum that focused on psychology a lot. But was there any motivation before your program started? That would have ever made you think I want to do counseling?
No, no, really, there wasn’t, I don’t ever recall thinking that that was a profession that I wanted to get into. My parents had both talked about their therapy in in the past, you know, I think when I was little, they both had therapists for one reason or another. And they had talked openly about that, but really, other than then them, I hadn’t ever been exposed to that profession before. I think I should have been as a child, you know, I think a lot of people should probably should have had some extra help as children for this or that reason. So I wish I had been exposed to a therapist prior. But it wasn’t until my program started. And we started getting really basic classes and motivational interviewing, and just simply empathy and how healing that is, you know, like, just the idea of being a doctor comes with a lot of power. And, you know, you can really use that power to help your patients in the form of listening and in the frame of a healing presence and empathy. And, you know, so that in conjunction with those types of motivational interviewing more evidence based practices that we learned, was really powerful for me, I felt the power and I felt that sense of responsibility and also passion at the same time. So no, I hadn’t thought about it before. But once I learned about it, I’m like, Yes, this goes together so well.
But you didn’t know that you didn’t know it, going into it. Right. And I think that is so important to be curious. Yeah. As a health care provider, just being passionate and curious and caring that extra little bit more, right. Yeah. So my example for that. Yeah. When I first got out of school. I don’t know if it was the setting that I was in, or the people that I was around, but chronic pain was kind of laughed at, right? It’s like, oh, fibromyalgia, they’re making it up. Yes. You know, it’s not a real thing. Yes, you know, chronic pains all in their head. Right. And that was kind of how I felt for the first little bit of me being a practicing therapist. And then when I went back to school for my residency program, like, mindset shift in about two months, it was like, holy cow. Why have I been treating this way for so long? I need to know more. And now chronic pain is one of my favorite things to treat because it’s like, I get to educate people that no one has ever taught them about chronic pain. No one has explained pain to them like that is so rewarding.
You’re really speaking to this idea of ignorance. And you know, you’ve mentioned it now a couple of times in this was that was the Good example to, you know, and not an ignorance in a bad way, just in the sense of the word you don’t know what you don’t know. And when you fuse that with maybe some pride issues, ego issues, which we all have just that vulnerability of being in a place where you don’t know something that doesn’t ever feel good, it never feels good to be in that place, you know, I don’t care who you are. But if you can tolerate that, and move through it, and learn something, then you’re going to better be able to help people. But when you sort of refuse that and are scared off by that vulnerability in that place of learning, then you don’t have the ability to help someone further.
And you don’t grow as a person, you don’t get better as a therapist or as a doctor or as a human. You know, you stay in the same spot forever.
Yes. And that’s so dangerous. Right? And that does not make good clinicians that does not know healers at all right.
And, you know, some people will say, Oh, I like that guy. He He’s old school. Is that, is that a good thing? I mean, I don’t ever hear that.
Right. I don’t hear that about me either. Which I think is I mean, I don’t ever hear people say I like that guy. He’s old school, like I’ve maybe heard about other.
Yeah, maybe physicians who come to me tend not to want to be in the old school, because then maybe that’s true old school, I think I have a pretty unique population in that sense, because there are so many people that are helped by the medical system. And they don’t, they don’t, they’re not suffering from it. They’re only helped, right? Sure. Those aren’t typically the people that I see, I wish I could see more of them. But that’s not who usually comes into my practice. It’s usually the people that have been failed by the by the conventional medical system, for whatever reason, and I think the the fibromyalgia population is just a small subset of the broader type of person that might come in to see me someone who has been told, it’s, you know, probably a lot of anxiety, it’s probably, you know, why don’t you just go to see a counselor, it’s all in your head, you know, or we don’t know what else there is, and so sorry, you know, but no more investigating no more believing when symptoms come up, they become a nuisance to their doctors. And that is a traumatic experience in and of itself. So that’s really who I see mostly. So it might be kind of a, I forget the word, but you know, a group that isn’t necessarily representative. Yeah, yeah. That isn’t necessarily representative of everybody. And that’s okay with me. Right.
Very cool. So we’ve not quite explained what a naturopathic doctor is, right? Yeah. No, you did it four year degree to get your MD. And then you started your practice shortly after? Yeah. Because you? Are you finished in 16? Yeah. 2017. Yes.
That’s right. That’s right. Because I just I knew I wanted to get right into private practice. And I moved back to St. Louis, which was the plan all along, and just excited to get started. So started that up. So what is an ND?
So let’s see. It’s always so hard to put this into a few words, because you’re always going to be compared to an MD I know. Right? And that’s, it’s actually, the letters are close. And it’s the same.
Yeah. But um, yeah, I always appreciate the opportunity to kind of re explain this, because it can mean so many things. And I think, you know, not one nd is exactly the same, but we all have kind of core principles that we’re taught and follow. And I think the most important being, that the body has an innate ability to heal itself. And that can mean a lot of different things. That’s a pretty broad statement. But basically, we we put trust in the body that when given what it what it needs, it can achieve more optimal health. And so that doesn’t mean to me that people don’t need medicines sometimes, right, or that people don’t need higher force interventions. I think sometimes it’s misinterpreted. In that way, I agree
with you. I think a lot of people will say, Well, you have to pick one, right? You’re either gonna go the typical medicine and you you do chemo when you have cancer route, or you avoid everything and you have whatever, right. Yeah, and it seems like so black and white, when people explain it. Yes. But after talking to you, that’s why we’re recording this. Yeah. Because I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that there is a huge overlap for how you’re able to help these people alongside Yeah, a typical and quotations here, a typical diagnosis,
right? Yeah. So wouldn’t it be nice if there was a world in which you could seek medical health and the provider would help you create a better environment for your body and your health, to achieve how you want to feel. And also take into consideration the tools that we have as a modern society to keep you alive longer, right, or to help you live a more optimal life as long as possible if that’s needed, right? And use those within ethical standards and use those within reason, right and, and safety. And so by always balancing that risk benefit ratio, right. So it’s complex, it’s hard to do that. But so I do trust the body. And I you know, as a naturopathic doctor, I know that there’s so much that we can do before we maybe move to drugs or procedures, or something of a higher force intervention. But that does not mean that we don’t need those sometimes, right? It’s, it’s about exploring other options First, if that’s something somebody wants to do, right, it’s always up to the individual what they want to do. So anyway, a little bit of a digression. But that’s a pretty core principle of naturopathic medicine. And what I just explained was kind of how I interpret it to be true for me. So I think in general, though, we, we, as naturopathic doctors look to get to the root cause of something. So if someone comes in with headaches, oh my gosh, there’s so many reasons why someone might have a headache. And instead of diagnosing them with migraines, and giving them a migraine pill, which is very life changing for many people, by the way, we look and see what other triggers, there might be, you know, what other things might be in their routine that could be contributing to headaches, as well. So that’s my job as a detective, to not say, Oh, I know what’s going on the very first time I meet somebody, but say, You know what, I don’t know what’s going on. This is complex. This is really hard. But we’re gonna figure it out. And if we don’t, we will, I’ll do my darndest to try to figure that out. And those words like, oh, you should see the relief that people have when I just, I didn’t tell them, I’m going to cure them. But I said, I’m just going to try, I’m going to try really hard to do that. And we’re going to do it together. Like that’s healing in and of itself for people. And, you know, this, this trust and power that they start to, to take back into themselves this control. Trust, again, to write that they
have to take some ownership of their own health, right. You’re educating them and teaching them about how it works, what you think is going on, but they’re the ones that has to put in the work. Yeah, same thing with our people. Yeah, right, that I can know all the right exercises, and I can show them to them, but if they don’t do the stuff, yeah, doesn’t matter. Yeah. And if I just assume that back pain needs X. I might be totally off. Yeah. Right. So you have to dig deeper. Yes. The right questions. You mentioned the motivational interviewing. Yeah. That’s most of the benefit of me being in private practice. Right, right. I mean, I had 30-40 minutes for an eval before. Now I have an hour. Like that. 20 extra minutes is drastic. It’s big. It’s drastic.
My first appointment with people is 90 minutes long. And when I started out, I thought, well, I’m fairly new. Maybe I can get this down. You know, in a few years, and here I am Three years later, I’m like, No, I don’t want I don’t want to I don’t think that I should. This is always valuable for people. And I don’t want to it’s not necessary, and it’s the time that is. Yeah, it’s just the time necessary so often, for people to have the whole, the whole package. Like, yeah, I don’t know if I answered the whole question of what a naturopathic doctor is, but I think I’ve hit on like,
Sure. I mean, pretty important point if we if we went into it forever. You know,
I think I think also what people are curious about that I’ll just briefly mention, like, when someone calls my office, it says, What do you do? How do I know if I need you or not? You know, we just sort of list the things that I do those, you know, quote unquote, services because it’s like, well, what what do you do? Like, what?
You are better than me at segways? Because my next question was, tell us about your business. Like how do people know that they need you? How do people know that when they search XYZ and you come up on Google or they hear about you through the podcast or whatever, how do they know that you’re the right fit?
Yeah. Well, that’s a really hard question for me to answer because I think it’s different for everybody. Mostly, what I hear is just like, I needed something different. And you fit that. I had someone today that I was like, I always start out are, you know, I’m meeting with someone, especially if I’ve never talked to them before? Have you know, before we dive in, what other questions can I answer for you about naturopathic medicine, since you’ve not likely ever encountered a naturopathic doctor before? What can I help you understand more of to help make this process go smoother for you and for you to be more comfortable? And this person just said, I don’t know, I just need something different. And and that was really it. And I like, Okay,
that’s a good answer.
That’s a great answer, just just something different. And so I think that was a good way of voicing what a lot of people feel when they search for, for me, and when they ultimately choose to seek me out is just needing something different. So and then, you know, of course, if they’re interested in nutraceuticals, you know, I use supplements like vitamins, minerals, herbs, so herbs, and herbal medicine is something that I love to work with, and had a lot of training on at school, a part of my naturopathic medical training. So I make my own teas and office, I use a local apothecary to help me make individualized formulas for people. So I find that to be very, very beneficial for the success and just noticing people getting better using plants using nature as as allies for them. So obviously, mental health counseling is, you know, something that I incorporate into most most of my visits. And I find that people really respond well to that. They want that aspect of it to that most people don’t shy away from that or feel weird about that, like, yes, please help me feel like my mental health matters also.
So is do they do they have to choose? Like, when someone finds you? Yeah, they do the 90 Minute evaluation? Yeah. Are you gonna like, have them work on different types of things? Like, we’re gonna have a session, that’s only mental health, and we’re gonna have a session? That’s only?
It’s a good question. So I have I work for a counseling company, I’m still under supervision. Okay. So I cannot take someone on as strictly counseling clients in my business. But I can’t take my brain off. You know, I can’t I can’t remove
you basically become a coach within your Yes, yes, exactly.
And so, but what I do, and I noticed that someone is really benefiting from that, and that would probably benefit from ongoing and regular counseling appointments. I refer them to my favorite counselors in the area. And I’ve got some great people that I work with. So. So yes, that is sort of a separate thing. And then if someone wants to see me as a counselor, they would go through a separate organization got Yeah, very cool. Yeah.
So say someone comes, you do your 90 Minute assessment? Where do they go from there? Like, how do you? What do you recommend? How do they work with you one going?
It’s different for everybody? Of course, that’s an annoying answer that we have to give, though, because it’s just true. But we did kind of crunched the numbers recently. And so I can say that, on average, people need come back for like three or four appointments after that initial appointment. And so that wildly varies, but on average, that’s what we’re seeing. And so that’s something that people can kind of take into consideration when they start seeing me as to like, what to prepare for. But I also have people that I see monthly, just ongoing, because it’s just that helpful for them. And I have people that I see a couple times, and then that’s it. So and then everything in between, but we it’s always a collaborative effort. I always ask people at the end, what do you think what would be a beneficial follow up for you? And if they ask, I’ll say, Well, I, I think this would be helpful. And that also depends if it’s like an acute issue. I’m going to say I need to see you back in two weeks, right. But typically, it’s a it’s a very collaborative effort, what’s helpful for them, along with what I think would be what would be useful, and then we kind of figure out a time together.
Very cool. So when we were talking before this recording, you mentioned that building the relationships with your clients is one of the most important things you’ve done and obviously you taking the time to get to know them as people and get to know their goals like we’ve been Earlier, that’s huge, but how did you either come to know that that was important or learn that within your practice? You know, I’ll let you kind of run with me have a follow up.
I mean, that is, what you’re describing is just me, like my personality in general. You know, I think it was hard at first, for me to see myself as, okay, I’m a doctor in this setting. And I’m a, and I’m Emily, outside this setting, and that was feeling really bad. That was just not, it just didn’t feel good. And in the counseling world to, you know, to be a counselor in the setting in a real person in a different setting. It just doesn’t work for me. And so that doesn’t mean that I tell people all about my personal life, you know, when I’m in the counseling role or in the doctor role, but you don’t have to be a genuine person and to be yourself. And to, you know, maybe have a vulnerable moment, if, if that’s going to be helpful for the person sitting across from you to overcome something, you know, to speak about your own struggles. If, if that’s going to be helpful for the person who’s also going through maybe a similar struggle that they feel alone in, right. So bringing in that connection, and bringing in your, your genuine self humor, cursing sometimes, right, like, being you just a real person, you’re just a real person. And like, that, as soon as I kind of sunk into that, and just went with that. I felt like, people were getting better, and people were coming back, and people were enjoying the process more than you’re comfortable. Yeah, probably a better doctor. I definitely. I
mean, that’s yeah, that just makes sense. Just for you. Yeah. Well, if you’re better than they get better.
Yes. Yes. And, you know, I think just to your general question, it’s it is, you know, in connection is when we heal, were harmed in relationships, and we’re healed in relationships. And I hold that concept really dear to why I do what I do. Because I truly feel that simply a relationship can heal a part of something.
Yeah, that’s kind of interesting. It made me think of a couple of different examples, like, people that put only the positive stuff on like, social media, right? You don’t actually know them. You only know, the best parts of them. They’re not a real person on social media. Like, I feel like if people talked about their positives and their negatives, you could trust that you know who they are. Yeah. And if you’re able to make that connection, yeah, like you said, Be vulnerable. Yeah. that those people are more strongly connected to you. That’s right. And when they’re connected to you, they trust you, and they trust you. They’re gonna listen, and they get better. It just makes sense. Yep. But I’ve seen so many other healthcare practitioners that just are such a, like surface level. They’re almost fake, right? They’re trying to be the perfect version of themselves. There’s, you know, they’re trying to be the flawless version of themselves. It’s kind of hard. It is you don’t really get to know them. That’s
right. Yeah. I mean, this is silly for me to bring up but a perfect example. I had anxiety before I started this podcast, right? You were there, Greg. I was like, hey, I need to stop. I can’t breathe. I’m having trouble. It came up, we had to stop and start over. And I didn’t used to be able to talk about that after the fact, right. But now when I’m with someone with social anxiety, like, hey, I really struggle with that, too. It affects my life. And to make that connection with somebody like Oh, my God, that feels really good to know that someone who’s trying to help me understands what I’m going through,
rather than faking it for years and years, right. Just makes more sense to be the worst. Yeah, I don’t get it. No. So is this the first time you’ve been recording a podcast?
I have done one podcast before, but it was a virtual Gotcha.
Well, to make you feel a little bit better about yourself here, in the very first time, I was recording a podcast. I was in like a radio studio. I was ready. I had my notes. I was like, let’s do this, right. Within 20 seconds of the play button getting hit a nap flew into my throat. And I’m like, Ah, and we had to like stop the recording. And I’m like, incredibly embarrassed, right? And like, it was like a whole thing but like, it’s never gonna be perfect. Hey,
no, doesn’t have to be perfect. No. So no, thank you for that story that shows make me feel better.
So one of the other things we talked about was the difficulty Well, let me start over. One of the other things you talked about was your passion about bringing naturopathic medicine to St. Louis. Right. Seattle and St. Louis, culturally are drastically different. Right? So I’m sure part of it is culture. Part of it is just west versus I mean, everything. Yes. Right. Yeah. So I’d love to kind of hear why you were passionate about that. And what the differences?
Well, you know, what, you know, how you’re just passionate about a sports team, because you’re from the city that the sports team happens to be? And how kind of silly that is, but also just how strong that that feeling can be, you know, I’m trying to think of any other example, you know,
like, I just, I feel very connected to LSU. Yeah, I didn’t go to LSU. Okay. I grew up in Baton Rouge. Why do I care about a school? I never went to tell me, why do you? That’s what I’m saying. Okay, it doesn’t make sense. But those are things that you feel very connected to for? yes, sometimes
no reason. Reason. It’s like, it’s sort of just an energetic like, Yeah, sure. You decide, yeah, I like that school, or I like I like that sports team. But you know, pretty quickly, it becomes a part of your identity. And so So I think a really big part, honestly, answer to this question is that St. Louis is just part of my identity. I’m very proud of it. And I’m very proud that I’m from St. Louis. I’m proud of, you know, the high school I went to, I’m proud of, you know, just the experiences that I had growing up, I’m proud of the neighborhood growing up and the, you know, my work ethic from working at all the places around the city and getting on the, you know, by state bus to get there working, you know, just just this like, person that I am that that St. Louis built, is so important to me and part of my identity. So, a lot of it is just that, really, because, because when you look at the grander scheme of who I am, now, it doesn’t really make sense that I’m here because naturopathic medicine is not really known about, nor is it regulated, or even a licensable. Career here, right. And that’s a vulnerable thing to talk about, because I don’t have the ability to hold a license as a naturopathic doctor here. And that’s not by choice. We just don’t recognize the profession. Whereas 22 states do and, and Washington is certainly one of them, they go back the longest, and have the, you know, one of the most expansive scopes of practice, meaning we can act as primary care physicians do minor office procedures, which I did learn in school, prescribe medications, which I did learn in school, you know, gynecological exams, just all of these exams and procedures,
it’s the same degree with a different mindset in Washington to an extent that’s right.
That’s right. So there’s the scope is greater. And that’s what I was trained to do. And I come here, and my hands are tied behind my back. And I’m basically just an over edge, educated health coach. And so it’s hard, it’s hard to be here. But when you have that energy, and that love for a place, I just knew the entire time that there was no other option. Maybe part of that is you know, doesn’t make sense or something, but it’s just how it was. And my husband felt the same way. And he came back with me and started his own business. And so we’ve just never really looked back. So yeah, that’s why
I’m here. And sometimes that’s, you know, a level of stubbornness, which is a good thing.
I think that’s the
word I was looking for. Yeah. Right. Because Missouri and Texas are the only two states where a physical therapist needs a prescription to be able to treat you have how damaging ours is not quite as restrictive as yours. Yeah, but yeah. Why? Why Missouri? I don’t know. I have felt somewhat attached to St. Louis. Because I grew up a Cardinals fan. Yeah, so I moved here and then fell in love with it. Right? But
you know, for me to just to speak to that is it’s not just because I love it. There’s it’s more complex obviously, like I I want to make it better because I love it so much. And I see the the the downfalls or shortcomings of this area, of which there are many, in my opinion, you know, it just doesn’t work very cohesively as a city as well as Seattle did. And that’s just my opinion. I’m coming from a place of love of course, and, and I want to help it I want to help. I want to help the community here. There’s a lot of community that needs help in this area. And there’s a lot of people that don’t have the health care care that they need. And if I can just be even a little bit more helpful to that to those people, then then great, that’s that will have accomplished. My I mean, kind of my life goal not to be too dramatic about it, but one of my life, better the area and help people in the world, right? And then why not, you know, do this in the place that I love. Because if I can help the community that helped build me, then that’s all I need. Really
very cool. So stepping back, just a hair, I wanted to comment on your statement of feel like my hands are tied behind my back glorified healthcare. I would argue that having your hands behind your back sometimes forces you to be more creative and be better. Yeah. You got to think outside the box. Right? You can’t just rely on the full toolbox that you would have had in Washington. Yeah. I think it makes you better.
I think you’re right. I think I kind of like it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
I think there’s there’s certainly a part of, of me, that’s like, you know, it was nice having two treadmills at the office and a full set of stairs, and, you know, the, the huge number of equipment and well, I can be better than that. Yeah. With no equip. Yep. And I don’t know, there’s a bit of a like a, it’s a swagger Fisher. Yeah, like, yeah, I can still do it.
Yes, I do agree with you. And I don’t have a chip on my shoulder honestly about it. I don’t feel like, Oh, God, I’m just not living up to you know, I used to feel that way a little bit. But I don’t, I don’t feel super negative about it at all, I really do have a positive spin on it. Just like what you said, of, you know, what can I do anyway? And you know, if I really do have this idea that that the body has a great capacity, more so than we’re given then then it’s given the opportunity for this really allows me to expand that possibility of of opportunity for people to say like, you know, what, we don’t need. I don’t I don’t even want to give an example. Because whatever. But it’s, you know, we don’t need to go to that right now. Why don’t we try this first, within, you know, within your doctor’s comfortability and within your comfortability and? So
very cool. Yeah. So changing gears here a little bit. One of the things that we have talked about is that you are starting something new within your business. You’re starting what a monthly class, is that right? on women’s health and fertility?
Yeah, so probably pretty soon, it’s still in the works. But hopefully, pretty soon, we will be launching kind of a, like a short course. Or class, I don’t know exactly what I want to call it, but it will, it will focus on hormones, and specifically focus on fertility. It’s something people see me a lot for. And so I just think there’s a lot to teach. And so rather than focus on an individual, only, I think, bringing in a group of people who could probably use support around that as well. Could be could be a great thing. So probably a monthly class, to just speak to the idea of hormones and what to expect with your body as you prepare for possible pregnancy.
Okay, cool. So, why, why are you doing that?
I will tell you that I didn’t expect to necessarily, quote unquote, specialize in women’s health or hormones. But I kind of have to, because of what has presented itself to me in my office is a barrage of young women coming in saying, I don’t know what’s going on with my hormones, but something is going on, something is off. I don’t have a period, I have irregular periods. I have very painful periods. I can’t get pregnant. I don’t know why I’m like, suicidal before my period every month. That’s not okay. You know, it’s just this this thing, and it’s not just that, it’s that they’re not getting help from their doctors. So is it they they’re being prescribed oral contraception only. And
it’s just understanding what the side effects are.
And no, no one tries to help them like, again, figure out what’s actually going on. And so all of that conversation can be really nicely like, presented in the form of, let’s understand your body. Let’s understand what’s going on. Because when They’re not you want to get pregnant, you kind of have to know how to get pregnant to really even understand what’s going on on a monthly basis and what might be off. And so, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of necessary because of what I’ve seen and people are really, really hurting. For more information about women’s health, and there’s been just
do you think it’s because the obese are like overworked and don’t have the time to educate and
gets a lot of things, I think historically, we have a great under representation of women’s health and research. Which is just very unfortunate, obviously, seeing as we make up half of the population, we just don’t know a whole lot from from like an evidence based standpoint. And it is, it is lengthy, time consuming and energetically difficult work to understand women’s hormones. It’s not 100% straightforward. It’s complex, you have to test at certain times of the month, you have to understand when they ovulated in order to understand when to test and, you know, sometimes people don’t ovulate and so it just becomes kind of a mess. And I’m willing to just work through the mess with people, which is just not true for sure for their OBS abilities to take the time to do that. And oh my gosh, how unfortunate, you know, is that that women just can’t get like, the, the attention that they need with all of this. So I feel really passionate about it right now. And I didn’t before I started, but I didn’t know that it was gonna make people willing to come to me, it’s just one after the other. I was like, Okay, here we go. Yeah.
Very cool. Well, it seems like such an underserved area, generally, but especially here in St. Louis, like, as a physical therapist, occasionally, when I’m working with a woman, they may experience leaking, or they say that they’re, they’re hurting. And it’s more than just back pain. It’s something else, right? Yeah. And it’s not super often that I am attracting those people to my office. Right. But occasionally, I need to refer those folks out. Yeah, well, what I’m hearing is, Oh, they’ve got a six week waitlist for the pelvic health PT, or they’ve got, you know, a four week waitlist. And they don’t necessarily agree with that person’s philosophy. Right? And it’s like, there’s got to be something else. Right. Yeah. So, UK, if I, what did you promote? My Yes, yes. Tell me all about it. Perfect. So I had a physical therapist contact me about three months ago. Yeah. And we talked for quite a while, but what we’re doing is we’re bringing on another physical therapist, to my practice, yes, this is super exciting. So she is a pelvic floor, women’s health physical therapist, and so we’re going to have someone in house that will be able to help these folks. Because like I said, it is an underserved area. So there’s obviously a need for it, and I’m happy to be able to provide it at our clinic.
You know, it’s so cool that you’re doing that because you are also contributing to exactly what I’m seeing as a need in the world right now. And you know, you’re putting time and effort and energy and money into helping the women that so desperately need this type of help. So thank you for doing that. And I think it’s really important to, to let women know that there’s, you know, there’s specialists, there’s people that can help you with with pelvic pain. And that’s actually something I see a lot in my practice interstitial cystitis pelvic pain in general chronic pelvic pain, you know, there’s so much to that. And so often people are just given kind of a, here’s an antibiotic or, you know, whatever. And not all of the options and all of the, you know, reasons why it might be happening. So, the pelvic floor physical therapist is a huge part of that.
Absolutely. And it’s so disappointing hearing her story. I got to tell this part to you, because the company that she’s been working for, she’s still working for them. She was continue working for them part time right now. She got all of her credentials in women’s health, and they have not allowed her to treatment and sell stuff, because they want her to continue on with orthopedics.
Oh, my gosh,
it is that’s terrible. It is a goldmine to provide that to a therapist. Why would you not take advantage of it and help the people that need the help I get? It blows my mind. So needless to say she wanted a way that she could practice what she’s actually passionate about.
It doesn’t make sense doesn’t make sense. I don’t get it. None of the things that we started talking about for the last 10 minutes really make sense? Tell me, because there’s so many people that need help and why, like, why aren’t we giving them the help that they really need? Is just a question that I’m still searching for. And I’m just happy that you know, we’re talking about it, because hopefully someone listening to this is feeling seen right now and feeling right. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah, not alone. Exactly. And
I’m excited to be able to talk about this more on the podcast, right? Because I can have her as a co host. And they can have their, yeah, Men’s Health chat I had,
I have a friend, a good friend who has pelvic pain. And until we started talking, you know, she just didn’t acknowledge it. She just was like, I just thought that was normal. And then as soon as she started talking about it, she started realizing that this is not normal. And so part of this is just normalizing for women. What is normal? And if you’re not within that, you deserve to figure out why and you deserve to feel better.
I feel like it’s maybe part of our generations mission is to normalize things that have been stigmatized forever, right. So true. Pelvic pain and mental health, right? Like, those are becoming very normalized, especially in our generation. Maybe not so much others. But I think in the future, it will be much more No, say these things out loud. Right. All right, you’re running out of time. So we need to move on. Move on, just to hear here. So we’ve talked about this, but I want to explicitly say it, what is your specialty or specialties? Hmm.
I don’t have you know, a outward specialty, if you will, as you can tell, just from our conversation, we’ve touched on a lot of different things. And so my areas of greatest interest are obviously mental health, specifically, anxiety, OCD, depression, you know, just things like grief and loss. And so those are kind of the things that I enjoy most within that realm. And then Hormonal Health, specifically women’s Hormonal Health within the reproductive years and age range. Not that I haven’t helped people, you know, through menopause issues and things like that, that’s certainly something that I do a lot of as well. So women’s hormones in general, digestive health. So that’s probably something that we could go on and on and on about, but I will just say briefly, that digestive health is probably tied with the, you know, the number of people I get, I’ll say it this way, the number of patients I get that come in with a digestive health complaint is probably about the same as Hormonal Health complaints. So I think that they probably are tied for first, if not a close second, gas, bloating SIBO just not understanding why someone has certain bowel habits right I talk about bowel habits all day every day it’s just something that I’m used to doing and so I won’t go into detail here on the podcast but I can tell you if you come in to see me as a patient we will be talking about your it’s it’s just such a window into what’s going on in your body and what’s going on in your in your digestive tract is a very clear and important indicator into the rest of your health. And so whether it’s a direct talk about digestive health or indirect, we usually will talk about digestive health so that that those three things mental health hormones, and digestive health are are sort of my my biggest three.
Yeah, got it. Very cool. So along with the you know, pelvic floor stuff, that’s pretty good. Pretty good variety. Yeah. interests.
I love thing, right? I think really a cap to this question would be I’m a generalist, sure, sure. I won’t, I will see pretty much anything. I will limit myself if I just don’t know what someone is coming to me for I will be honest with them, you know what, I don’t do a lot of X, Y or Z, you may be better served by this doctor and I’ll give a referral so I will stay within reason of my experience in my you know, capacity, but I really enjoy seeing so many things, chronic health conditions, blood sugar, diabetes, you know, those types of things as well. I really enjoy.
Very cool. Are we getting close to the end here? I know you had an offer that you wanted to extend for the listeners so I’ll let you do your thing there.
Yeah, so I don’t know when the fifth going out but I was I was gonna offer like a 25% off of first office call with me, which is 90 minutes in length and So, you know, extending that through through the month of November. If you just kind of mentioned that you heard me or are your interests interested, you know, we would be happy to give you that discount, because your referrals mean a ton to me. And it would be, it would be great to meet anyone that that comes through this platform.
Very cool. So your information will be in the show notes. But for those who don’t know how to get there, how do they get in contact with you?
You can email, you could call, you could do social media. So I’ll give you all those pieces of information. If you’re old school, and you want to call my office number is 314-626-0271, you’ll likely reach my assistant, Jasmine, she’s lovely. If you want to go online, you could do that is just my name www.emilyhudson.com the normal way spelled the normal way. And then let’s see what else did I say social media? My social media Instagram is dremilyhudsonnd. So kind of a long one. But Dr. Emily Hudson, MD is my instagram handle. And so you can contact me any of those ways. I’d be happy to hear from you.
Perfect. Anything else that you want to share?
Oh, boy, I wish I didn’t have to go because I feel like we could definitely keep talking about stuff. This is fun. It’s so fun. This is super fun. I told you. I know. Yeah. So I don’t know. I wish we had more time because I’ve got lots of things that feel important. But for now, we will just trust that to have you back on in a few months. Yeah, there we go. Well, we’ll just end it there. And I really appreciate the time.
Absolutely. Well, thank you for being here. This is a pleasure. This has been STL Active.
Thank you for listening to the STL Active Podcast from stlouispt.com. If you enjoyed the show, please spread the word. Thanks again and see you next time.