Community As Medicine, Cracking The Competition Code

There is a buzz among medical professionals that I’m so very excited about. It’s a sense of community and collaboration that has been missing from our profession for some time now. I had the honor of hosting the first Austin Functional Forum livestream viewing meetup last week and ever since then, I’ve been contacted by really great healthcare pros who are excited to connect, learn more, evolve their practice and find their tribe. This is something that I’ve been trying to cultivate for sometime now, but since I’ve been bi-Texas coastal for most of this year, it was a bit challenging. So I’m really grateful for James Maskell, his vision and the satellite meetup that allowed me the opportunity to plan and execute a great event where like-minded professionals came together locally. Thank you to those of you who took time out of your busy schedule to come, you made my year.

Community as medicine is one of my six pillars. This in addition to food, stress-relief, movement, sleep and play is essential for whole optimal health. Have you heard of the Roseto Effect or the Rat Park experiment? Have you heard about the latest discovery of the likely cause of addiction? If not, here you go:

My vision and dream is to cultivate a community of healthcare professionals that interact, refer, consult and grow with their colleagues for the betterment of patient care. This is the only way the paradigm is going to shift. In the past, I’ve been so ego-headed that it was a challenge to think a health coach or naturopathic could offer my patients something I couldn’t (even though I saw them for my own health issues). Now I see that Thomas Edison was not only prophetic, but totally spot on:

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Some of us are trained in allopathic medicine where we target organ systems and symptoms, which work well in acute settings. Others are trained in diet and nutrition. There are chiropractors and osteopaths who are experts on the human frame and lifestyle, functional, integrative providers who are root-cause and prevention experts. We also have mental health professionals and people who work with spiritual and emotional causes for disease that we need to be willing to tap into as well. The only way we can truly target the whole person is through looking and referring outside our Western medicine, allopathic model box.

We have been conditioned to approach the practice of medicine with the business of healthcare in the forefront of our minds. This is not entirely our fault as the ones giving us a paycheck, whether it is insurance companies or a healthcare organization, pay on production and quantity. It’s time to release that mentality. If we go into seeing patients with service, commitment to targeting root-causes, an open-mind and open-ear, a sense of guidance, a hand of engagement and some vulnerability, outcomes are better. We also need to recognize that we don’t always have all the answers and perhaps motivational interviewing is best left to those who have the training and the time. We need to encourage a healthcare team, from nutritionists to chiropractors and health coaches and acupuncturists, because the allopathic model is not always going to be for everyone. We’re trying to build a team to help patients heal, not a team to compete against each other.

Our competition, as James and his team say on this podcast: (please listen, its amazing and inspiring) is not those practicing in the real medicine, root-cause way, but rather the allopathic model that is closed off to change and fine with holding up the status-quo. The other competition they mention, that I talk about in my last post, is our egos. This one is a bit more difficult to change, but if you truly want to help your patients, you’ll do some deep digging and serious inner-work to get to a place where you feel confident and comfortable in referring to and consulting with those with a different skill-set.

I believe the best way to accomplish this is to ignore the label and alphabet soup behind your name and connect to folks on a different level. There is always opportunity to learn from each other. A yoga therapist can teach us how to activate our parasympathetic nervous system through breathing techniques for our anxious patients. An acupuncturist can show us acupressure points for nausea so perhaps we can bypass the Zofran or Phenergan and all the adverse effects they can cause. Chiropractors can help us understand how structure leads to function and how it affects our microbiome.

Community as medicine is key and I’m so excited about creating this in whatever area I’m in.  That is why I’m so excited about hosting the Functional Forum viewing party and really creating a community in Austin. To me there is nothing more exciting than getting together with my healthcare buddies to geek out and discuss genomics or nF-kB or DMT-1 or the microbiome (If you’re looking those up right now and want to learn more, come to the next event!) And patients are getting into this too. It’s really fun to bring together science and experience to tailor the best plan for an individual or a patient population and it is even more incredible when you get to do it with your tribe.

So wherever you may be, I encourage you to create a safe space, whether in your office, your home, a co-working space, a farmstand and invite your friends and colleagues who have a demonstrated interest and commitment to healing the healthcare system and participating in the paradigm shift that is happening right now. That is why I started the Whole Health Co. (-llective, -mmunity, -op), so those passionate and motivated can share their vision, mission and gather a tribe of people who are ready to participate in healing healthcare.

You can start with the Functional Forum satellite meet-up or a journal club or a food as medicine talk at your local farmers market, just start. The Functional Forum folks make it super easy. You just rally a few people who want to learn and connect about whole health, an internet connection, a big screen and projector, some food and they do the rest!

It’s a brave new healthcare world out there, lets connect and build the new system together.

Here is the link to start the satellite meetup:


Image courtesy of pixtawan at

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