I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I spent my childhood days swimming, playing piano, backpacking, camping and spending time on rivers and water, and to this day these are still a very important part of my life.
I thought often about becoming a doctor. My father was a physician, and he was an inspiration and role model to me. He was quiet about his profession, and did not glamorize it, but he imparted a sense of its importance to me. Even so, I wasn’t completely sure until about midway through college. I was torn between music and medicine. Music was one of the things I enjoyed most about my younger life, but there was always a sense of a deeper calling and desire.
Upon beginning LSU medical school, I only had the beginnings of a sense of the importance of nutrition, lifestyle, and taking responsibility for one’s health. During the initial two years of medical school, I began to understand that medicine did not seem to always search for the cause of difficult health conditions and often used the term “idiopathic”. Idiopathic is an adjective used primarily in medicine meaning arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause. The pharmaceutical drug treatments did not in any way bring healing (except in the case of some infections and the judicious use of antibiotics), but left patients drug dependent for long periods of time, if not the rest of their lives, and had side effects and potential negative interactions that were harmful.
In my third year of medical school I first encountered the principle that the body is designed to stay well or return to wellness if essential nutrients are provided, if supporting therapies are offered, and if toxicities are removed. This was the beginning of an insight and approach that would change the rest of my life and set me on a course that would allow me to truly work within my calling.
During my last two years of medical school I started seeking out physicians who were already practicing. With their guidance, I read books, listened to audio lectures, and attended integrative medical seminars on nutrition, detoxification, and complimentary therapies. While observing patient care in their offices, I witnessed individuals who were taking responsibility for their health, overcoming longstanding disease, returning to a vital, joyful life, freeing themselves from daily pharmaceuticals, and truly enjoying good health.
Early on I joined one of the premier organizations for complementary health care in America, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. I quickly became passionate about environmental toxic exposure and the internal metabolic and biological environment of the body.
After medical school, I completed a combined internship in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine and then a Family Medicine residency in the Charity Hospital System of Louisiana. During my residency training I started attending medical education meetings with other groups of integrated or complimentary-alternative (CAM) physicians and trained with various physicians who were already practicing integrated medicine. These groups of physicians include American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (AAAAM or A4M).
After residency, I joined a specialty research laboratory studying the immune system in chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia and cancer. We had success in treating these conditions and this set the foundation for much of what I would do in the future.
I have been practicing complementary and alternative medicine for over two decades, and in that time have learned about various treatment approaches, from nutritional and therapeutic IV’s, to ozone, acupuncture, judicious use of antibiotics and medications, homeopathy, herbal medicine, detoxification, chelation, sauna, hyperbaric oxygen, immunotherapy, bio-identical hormone therapy, and more.
I have also studied with and visited clinics around the country and world that specialize in biological and metabolic medicine. Perhaps the most fascinating is the Paracelsus Institute in Switzerland. The Institute was founded in 1958 as a center for health and well-being based on the principles of natural healing, biological medicine, and supporting the body so that it can heal.
During internship and residency, I immediately started to apply nutritional therapies and bio-identical hormone therapy to patients with success. In fact, when I first began practicing, I focused largely on nutrition, and I felt nutritional deficiencies were the underpinning of chronic illness.
Though I still focus on nutrition, my approach to illness has evolved over time and my understanding has broadened to see the wide array of factors that influence health and cause disease. I began to be more aware of the role of environmental factors and toxicity in disease, such as heavy metals and pesticides, electromagnetic smog, chemicals in our food and water. But just as important, in the end, is the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspect of illness. I did not fully appreciate this when I began to practice. I was young, healthy, happy and came from a good family. I had never experienced horrific life events, or major suffering. It is my patients who have taught and guided me about stress and trauma and how our emotions can impact longterm health. Now, twenty years later, I place great emphasis in addressing these with patients.
Finally, I want to mention what is the most important part of my own life and work: God. When I was twenty, I became a Christian – it was as if I was drawn to this faith – out of myself, and towards God. I believe this orients my entire life as a doctor. My faith allows me to see the privilege, responsibility, carefulness, and accountability that are required in assisting those who come for help, and who desire to improve their health.
My prayer and hope is that I will be faithful to the calling God has given and that I will be used to assist you in improving and enjoying health. Let not your heart be troubled (John 14)….I pray that you can prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3rd letter of John).