3X4’s new State of Functional Medicine series features interviews with a diverse range of active practitioners and established thought leaders to learn more about why they chose the field of functional medicine, what excites them most about their work, the most common misconceptions they hear from patients, and most importantly — how they see the field evolving in the years ahead as healthcare shifts to be more personalized, proactive, and preventative.
Functional medicine practitioners play a key role in helping patients understand who they are so they can improve their quality of life which is what we’re all about here at 3X4. Our goal with this new series is to celebrate the work these practitioners are doing and inspire others to explore the exciting field of functional medicine.
The following is an interview we have recently had with Ashlee Seek, DNP, AGNP-C, IFMCP, Co-Founder and CEO of FGHC (Faithfully Guided Health Center), LLC, Co-Executive Director of Faithfully Guided Foundation.
Why did you decide to make functional medicine your focus?
AS: I first started on my personal journey to health in 2009 after many failed attempts at healing in a conventional medicine model. I became interested in functional medicine because of its whole person approach and its emphasis on connecting spirit, mind, and body. Functional medicine addresses root causation and optimizes health as a whole.
Who have been your greatest mentors in your functional medicine journey?
AS: Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Jeffrey Bland have influenced and inspired me on my functional medicine journey. Their intuition and ability to seek understanding has paved the way for newer practitioners like myself. My business partner, Jamie Schofield is a great mentor to me. Together we have created a model that connects spirit, mind, and body by optimizing brain health and faith to create lasting, lifestyle change.
What excites you most about your day to day work?
AS: My patients and team excites me the most! In our organization we focus on cultivating healthy relationships. If we create a healthy and trusting culture, we can change lifestyle and improve outcomes. I love inspiring others to become the best version of them. I love working with our gifted and likeminded inter-professional team. We are better together!
What’s the most challenging part of your day to day work?
AS: The most challenging part of my day-to-day work is time and money, which are on the same continuum. I want to help everyone and sometimes his or her own personal investment and resources limit me. Let’s be honest, it is hard to change lifestyle. It takes commitment and consistency. People are always in different stages of change and meeting people where they are is like a game of chess sometimes.
What do patients most commonly get wrong about functional medicine?
AS: Most people don’t understand what functional medicine really is. Some people think functional medicine providers prescribe too many supplements or it is cost prohibitive but it is really about attuning to the body and learning to honor oneself. God designed us for optimal health, balance, and vitality. Functional medicine is the vehicle that allows that to happen.
What’s holding the field of functional medicine back?
AS: A lack of understanding is holding functional medicine back. If we want to help others succeed, we have to build and inspire healthy relationships. We have to celebrate success and partner through shared decision-making. Expanding the reach of functional medicine through social health groups will leverage the playing field by making more resources available to everyone, not just those that can afford it.
What has your experience been with genetic testing?
AS: I think we are just scratching the surface on genetic testing. While I do some basic testing, I focus more on lifestyle intervention so genes aren’t activated. My favorite quote is “genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.”
How do you see the practice of functional medicine evolving in the years ahead?
AS: I think functional medicine is the future of medicine! We functional medicine providers are charged with inspiring and creating healthy culture and being the change agents for those around us to do the same. Personally, our goal is to create generational change for our children’s children and their children!
About Ashlee Seek.
Ashlee Seek, DNP, AGNP-C, IFMCP is the Co-Founder and CEO of FGHC (Faithfully Guided Health Center LLC which offers a unique collaborative approach to healthcare focused on strengthening and empowering the mind, body, & spirit.