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 Jennifer Kessmann MD, Functional Physician, Kessmann Clinics.
Why did you decide to make functional medicine your focus?
JK: Originally I majored in scientific nutrition and understood how important our environment and lifestyle impacts our health outcomes and quality of life. It was a natural progression from Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine. In 2015, I had my own health issues that required me to use functional medicine strategies to get back to health.
Who have been your greatest mentors in your functional medicine journey?
JK: I would say that I have always respected the work of Jill Carnahan. She is so incredibly brilliant and has worked her own issues with health to have a great understanding of the foundations of functional medicine.
What excites you most about your day to day work?
JK: The chance to improve someone’s health in a way that improves their life. Understanding how disease can be so debilitating and being able to provide a road to recovery for many has been so rewarding. It is why I went into medicine.
What’s the most challenging part of your day to day work?
JK: The amount of information that a patient has to understand in order to cause change can be great at times. It is so much information I have to be careful to prevent information overload!
What do patients most commonly get wrong about functional medicine?
JK: Most patients that are not familiar with functional medicine want there to be one cause and one solution, kind of like traditional medicine. That is not how it usually works. Usually there are multiple causes and things to adjust in order to effect the outcome.
What’s holding the field of functional medicine back?
JK: I think that right now the inability to meet in person. Functional Medicine also needs to make sure that providers calling themselves functional medicine providers are actually certified. The certification process has been quite challenging and the standard needs to be set.
What has your experience been with genetic testing?
JK: I have used MTHFR, COMT, CBS and apo E quite a bit in practice. It is nice to see patterns that create issues and be able to correct them with the correct supplements and changes.
How do you see the practice of functional medicine evolving in the years ahead?
JK: More information will lead to a greater ability to improve health in a more regimented way. Utilization of genetic testing will help further individualize the functional medicine approach.
About Jennifer Kessmann MD
Dr. Jennifer Kessmann is a Certified Functional Medicine Physician passionate about finding a solution to health concerns and bringing her patients back to optimum health. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A and M University while studying scientific nutrition. She is currently practicing Functional medicine focusing on finding the root cause of disease to improve health. With over 20 years of experience in traditional medicine as an MD, she is able to recognize patterns quickly and find answers to one’s health conditions. Passionate about lifestyle and its impact on disease processes, the mind-body connection is important.