Some of my earliest memories are with my grandfather, in his medical office talking to patients in India. I would sit in awe watching him spending time carefully listening to his patients and validating their concerns. At a young age, he made an impression on me that truly listening to his patients did as much for them as the medication he prescribed. During breaks, he would tell stories of his involvement in India’s fight for Independence and of my great uncle, who was Mahatma Gandhi’s personal physician for over 15 years.
My experiences over the years lead me to believe that healthy mind was the most important aspect of a healthy life. While after medical school I had options of going to various training programs, I chose Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic because of its reputation and being the number one grant recipient from the National Institute of Mental Health. It also has one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in the country (that and being able to attend every Steelers game in my hometown of Pittsburgh!). In my 5 years there, I got to work with some of the biggest research in the field of psychiatry. I was fortunate enough to work alongside David Brent MD and Lisa Pan, M.D. at the nationally renown STAR Clinic. To develop deeper understanding of the treatment of trauma in children, I spent one year with Judith Cohen MD, Medical Director for the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents and one of the developers of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. For two years, I was a Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration Fellow where I received money for variously programs including studying appropriate services Children whose parents have substance use disorders. Given my work with underrepresented groups, I was also asked to co-author the chapter on Cultural Psychiatry in the Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry.
Upon completing my training, I joined Kaiser Permanente for thirteen years. There are helped develop their Teen Intensive Outpatient Program for those adolescents as risk for hospitalization and suffering from significant depression amongst other issues. I also advocated for the development of a comprehensive Trauma Treatment Program. I often found myself in the role of an advocate with regards to making sure children got the services they deserved in schools, developing a deeper understanding of what it was that Children and Adults with learning differences needed.
Then, April of 2019 my world changed. Midway through my workday, I became extremely weak and debilitated to the point where I had to stop working. For months, I went to various doctors including some of the most prestigious clinics in the US. Some physicians dismissed me altogether. Others empathized and could see I had physical ailments but were at a loss as to what was causing them. I eventually got to the point where I had to lie in bed daily to make sure I had enough energy for my three young children when they got home.
One day, I posted my case on a Facebook group for physician moms and received great ideas. However, quietly through direct messages, many Integrative/Functional Medicine Physicians implored me me to seek integrative care. Somewhat reluctantly, I finally went to Kelly McCann M.D./MPH. And it was with her and her amazing comprehensive, Integrative care that I started to find my way back to health. My own journey inspired me to complete an Integrative Psychiatry Institute Fellowship through the University of Colorado School of Medicine so I could offer my patients effective, research-based alternatives to traditional treatments. As a life-long learner, I currently completed a year long training program in Compassion Inquiry, a method for treating developmental trauma.
I am very excited to partner with you and your family to provide a holistic, integrative model for wellness.