3X4’s new Functional Medicine Practitioner Spotlight series features interviews with practitioners, consultants and functional medicine thought leaders to explore everything functional medicine practitioners need to know about successfully building, managing, and growing their private practice.
The following is an interview we recently had with Trisha Howell, MSH, RD, LD/N, IFMCP, Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Founder and CEO of Smart Wellness.
What can you tell us about your practice?
TH: I specialize in the microbiome and its impact on Gastrointestinal and Digestive Disorders (IBS, SIBO, and GERD) which has potential connection with:
• Autoimmune (Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Hashimoto, and more)
• Cardiometabolic conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease)
• Neurological conditions (depression, attention deficit disorder, cognitive issues, traumatic brain injury and headaches)
• Skin disorders (psoriasis, acne and eczema)
• Hormonal problems (thyroid conditions, chronic fatigue and menopause)
• Metabolic Detoxification
• Food sensitivities and intolerances
• Nutritional deficiencies and genetic SNP’s
Also, additional opportunities include:
• Community engagement and education with the underserved populations
• Natural food preparation workshops
• Group educational classes with focus on chronic illness prevention with a focus on gut microbiome,
autoimmune and Type 2 diabetes including metabolic detoxification
• Pharmaceutical grade supplements and other wellness-related products.
What surprised you the most when you started your practice?
TH: I was surprised and inspired by a more effective level of care I was able to provide for my son with Type 1 diabetes (dx 20 yrs. ago) and others because of learning and applying the science-based approach of functional medicine.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
TH: The biggest challenge was sustaining patient commitment for successful long-term outcomes. I overcame it by creating a pre-screening process to identify two major components for success: 1) a therapeutic relationship between the patient and myself and 2) highly participatory patients who were ready and willing to make the difficult, yet attainable, healthy lifestyle changes with my guidance and support in order to achieve a higher quality of life.
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering launching their own practice?
My advice is to have a well-designed business plan and solid understanding of practice management process flow. Review and renew annually.
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
TH: There are so many components that excite me about the field of functional medicine! The top reasons in no specific order:
• The therapeutic relationship created with each unique patient that you both intuitively know it’s a good fit. So powerful in the healing journey!
• The challenge of figuring out the root cause analysis aka FxMed CSI and creating the nutritional treatment plan that puts the patient in the driver seat feeling supported and encouraged to go at their own pace to develop lifelong healthy habits while achieving wellness.
• The ability of being instrumental in contributing to leading successful patient outcomes.
• Receiving heart-centered inspirational testimonials from patients filled with an abundance of gratitude for how their lives changed for themselves and their families. Something they did not believe was possible because of feeling sick for so long! It inspires me to do more!!
• The continuous learning that had led to some fantastic opportunities with industry leaders.
• Being a part of the functional medicine community of like-minded individuals that not only inspire you but develop into professional and personal relationships.
Where do you see your practice 5 years from now?
TH: I see my practice 5 years from now as sustaining practitioner and patient relationships to include continuous process improvement and new product development.
Curious to learn more about the power of genetics and how to choose the right genetic testing partner? Download our free E-booklet: A Practitioner’s Guide to Genetic Testing.