Enlightening young minds

I was invited to the Ft. Wayne Family Medicine Residency today to give the noon conference talk on Integrative Medicine. I love talking to medical students and residents as they generally seem so hungry for changing medicine. To me it's important to show them some light in what often seems like a gloomy future within the hamster wheel of a busy primary care doctor (at least in my eyes in today's sickcare system).

I sadly forgot how much the drug companies have infiltrated medical education. Prior to my speaking, the drug rep, after providing a fancy buffet of heavy restaurant food and 10 2-liters of pop,  brought in a local psychiatrist to revel in the amazing healing properties of Lexapro. That ate into 12 minutes of my talk and was shocking to hear him speak of how great it is and how a single nerve study in a Petri dish in a lab shows how Lexapro may be better than its cheaper and equally weak-evidence-based cousin. Then he said if patients on it suffer from muscle cramps and pain, it must be generalized anxiety disorder (not a side effect of the medicine, or some other symptom related to the driving force originally behind the blues)! So...then just add another 2-3 drugs for that one. Here I am in the front of the room trying not drop my Macbook. Then the drug rep takes up more of my time to tell all the residents that their Medicaid patients can get it for the low, low price of $3.

Residents get this every day. Free, heavily processed restaurant food and a bunch of industry-created drivel. Never a mention about how lifestyle has a tremendous impact on health or lack thereof, just day after day on how to provide sickcare. What I presented today was novel, new and refreshing. Their eyes brightened to the ideas of using vitamin D, living and learning whole foods nutrition and spending time with patients to partner with them rather than simply whipping out the prescription pad pretending to heal all ills. For the most part they really get integrative medicine, many of them came to medical school to do just the things I get to do every day. They are just not presented any opportunity to think or learn about it during their 7 year stint within the confines of "Camp Conventional". Many asked to come shadow me and want to know more.

I also discussed the career freedom offered by disruptive healthcare technology like the Hello Health platform. Get out of the outdated, boggy frankensystem (thanks Gordon!) interfaces that surrounds you everywhere within the system and jump on today's technology that everyone else is playing on. Again, lots of interest in ways to live the dream they entered medical school with, lifestyle freedom, empowering patients and promoting health and healing, the candle quickly burned out the moment that short white coat was donned.

We need to get the concept of health promotion into medical education. We need companies like Hello Health to show students/residents that they can be a part of a major disruptive innovation for the good of their personal lives and the lives of their patients. No longer is it acceptable to keep the herd shuffling along the same old machine, producing America's next generation of prescription pad warriors. Time to mesh health promoting care with access to patients and partner with them to optimize their health.

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Dr. Jeffrey Gladd


Dr. Jeffrey Gladd graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2001. He then went on to train in family medicine...

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Dr. Jeffrey Gladd
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