What is the focus of your practice?
I practice family medicine, and I believe in the wholeness of the person. I take a holistic, integrated approach to health combining conventional medicine with other modalities such as acupuncture. It’s important to me that people understand what’s going on with their bodies. I spend time helping them do that. Above all, I would like my patients to understand their own health. To me, that is treatment.
What is meaningful to you about being a doctor?
It’s about being of service. It’s funny, when I was just 5 years old, my mother told me “you will be a doctor.” This is not because of her ambition for me, but because she just knew. I ended up being the first doctor in our family.
How did your education influence your practice?
In addition to traditional medical training, I was trained in the humanities as my pre-med degree. Music and art introduced me to different cultures, including Chinese and Ayurvedic medical cultures. This was the window through which I realized there is more to medicine than our North American medical system. I started spending my weekends going to different communities and learning from traditional practitioners in the Philippines. I also learned from Chinese and Japanese teachers. I continue learning in the U.S.
How does this background help your patients?
It helps me understand and relate better to the patient. I can recommend different tools, including acupuncture, energy medicine and meditation that can be used according to the patient’s own philosophy of health. I educate my patients, showing them that any health decision has risks and rewards. Their own health is their responsibility. Integrative medicine is a partnership. The doctor is not the dictator and neither is the patient.
How do you care for yourself?
I get a great deal from my own family life. My philosophy is moderation. I make sure that I eat well, move well, sleep well and think well. Best of all, I make sure that I am happy.
Why do your patients seek your style of care?
Health is not just about medication. Ministry is setting the stage for integrative health care. We have excellent physical therapy and massage services that are part of this model of care. We have started the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. Music Heals is an ongoing activity now. We keep working to develop it even more. There is more to come.