3X4’s 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 Christina Campbell, DO, FACEP, Certified Functional Medicine Physician, Board Certified Emergency Medicine
What can you tell us about your practice?
CC: I work with Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients, specifically Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Utilizing my 3-step signature Transcend program we work to discover the root cause of their symptoms and intervene at that level, revitalizing their health. I then teach my health participants how to excel by maintaining these optimal results for the rest of their lives. Together in partnership with my health participants, using cutting edge laboratory tests and natural interventions, we create a personalized plan. This precision blueprint, put into effect, improves my health participant’s innate healing abilities to reverse symptoms, decrease pain, and improve all aspects of their lives.
The cornerstone of my practice is to listen and investigate. I create a therapeutic partnership with my clients, not a “doctatorship”.
Digging deep into my health participant’s history and utilizing quantitative metrics, together we create a personalized blueprint for success. I believe in personalized medicine, not recipe medicine. One size fits all answers are a disservice to those we are trying to serve.
In my practice, we utilize cutting edge science in the areas of epigenetics, metabolomics, quantum biology, hormone testing, telomere length, and more to address health on the cellular level. Using wearables, we monitor biometrics to track, in real time, how our interventions are working. We use quantum biology and frequency therapies to improve our client’s cellular energy. And we successfully improve our health participant’s biological age based on telomere science.
Our goal is to unite our health participants’ physical body with their mind and spirit. We use mindset and gratitude practices. Additionally, we address emotional trauma that may be holding them back from success. We work to create alignment between mind, body, and spirit. All of this is accomplished through my proven signature 3-step Transcend program which is the culmination of my life’s work in medicine. I have poured my heart and soul, and all the knowledge I’ve gained through over 23 years of medical practice into the creation of this personalized program.
What surprised you most when you started your practice?
CC: When I entered into the medical field, I chose to train in an osteopathic medical school. I did so because I was already aware of the importance and impact every aspect of life has on a person’s health. Aligned with the osteopathic view, I understood that all of these things must be addressed in order to successfully care for another person.
I was surprised to wake up one day and realize that I was unable to make an impact in my patient’s lives at the level I wished I could.
As an attending physician in the Emergency Department, I was saving lives on one side of the ER and on the other I was treating the chronically ill medicine patients. I felt like no matter how much counseling and educating I did for these medicine patients, I could not make the impact I saw was necessary. Conventional medicine was failing them. Frankly, in my own health journey, conventional medicine saved my life but it also failed me in the end. It was time to make a change.
The United States is considered the premier country for cutting edge science, research, and medical care. And yet, everyday I was seeing patients who were on 20+ medications and continuing to decline in their overall health. Despite all of the medications, surgeries, and procedures, we were seeing a continued rise in chronic preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmunity, stroke, and more. Through the course of my career there was a distinct trend in diagnosing these in younger and younger persons. Current childhood obesity, diabetes, autoimmunity, and cancer rates are unacceptable.
I knew we had to be missing something. Diving into the current cutting edge scientific research and literature, I began learning what we were missing: nutrition, toxicity, gut health, epigenetics, quantum biology, and more. Ninety percent of diabetes cases are type II diabetes and are completely preventable with diet, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. And yet diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease which remains the leading cause of death for all people.
Functional medicine provides an answer to those suffering from these chronic diseases. It helps to optimize health, not just improve illness. Functional medicine is a trend in medicine among patients who are seeking a change in health through lifestyle and natural means.
If this past year with COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that our baseline health must be improved. To do this, we physicians must have a better understanding of optimal health, not just disease care.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
CC: I built my telehealth functional medicine practice during the COVID crisis of 2020. I saw an extreme need for improved health and wellness. With so many physician’s offices closed during this time, there was a frightening lack of access to care. Diagnosis of disease usually happens decades after the disease process began. I knew that any strides a person might make in optimizing their health would improve their chances of survival and lower the impact of the novel coronavirus should they be exposed to it.
Over the last 10 years, I practiced functional medicine consulting with my close network of friends and family. It was time to do this on a larger scale. In an effort to help those in my community, I built and launched my telehealth functional medicine practice during COVID lockdowns. I began the process in March and launched in June of 2020. I am still a fledgling telehealth business but I can honestly say I have a 100% success rate in improving my client’s health. After having worked in medicine for over 23 years, this has surprised and pleased me most. Where else in medicine can you say this?
One of the biggest challenges has been working against time. People needed me open yesterday. I worked long hours among the stress and strain of COVID while balancing the care of my children who were homeschooling.
Multitasking, working before and after my kids’ “school” was the name of the game. My husband, also a physician, was forced to close his office, and was a great help at home, allowing me to get this practice opened quickly.
Another of the largest challenges has been learning marketing for an online business. Having had zero training in business or marketing, this is an uphill battle. There are many “marketing experts” out there and I spent a good deal of money and time trying to find one who could really help. Taking my own advice I have found a functional medicine practitioner as a mentor who is a genius in virtual practice. I am hopeful that this is the solution to the challenge of letting those with IBD know I am here to help them.
What advice would I give other physicians considering launching their own functional medicine businesses?
CC: Do it!!! The world needs more of us! It is a profound mindset shift in understanding, embracing a more root cause and preventative practice model and opening your eyes to the current state of medicine. However, the results I have seen with my patients have made it so worth it. This is truly what I went into medicine to accomplish–profoundly improving the lives of my patients.
My biggest piece of advice: find a mentor and a support system. It is important to have support and advice from others who have done this and who can tell you what worked for them and what to avoid. Just as with any other goal, find a person who is doing what you want to do, the way you want to do it, and make them a mentor if you can.
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
The field of functional medicine is changing lives–both physicians lives and patients lives.
It creates freedom and a better life for all of us. Physicians have been in a “hamster on a wheel” type profession that frankly rewards numbers of patients seen, not necessarily quality of care. It condemns poor outcomes with lawsuits, poor reviews, and higher malpractice insurance rates but creates a system that makes poor outcomes more common. Practicing medicine in the conventional insurance-based model often robs the physician and the patient of their health. In theory, functional medicine and a cash-based practice model provides freedom, wellness, and a happy productive life for all.
Where do you see your practice in 5 years from now?
CC: In 5 years I see a flourishing practice changing hundreds of thousands of lives annually.
I am on a mission to change the medical approach to Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, leading to fewer surgeries, and stopping the path to health decline and disability by finding and fixing the root cause.
I tell my patients, “We will Transcend IBD together and live healthy vibrant lives!” This, of course, is the source of the name of my signature Transcend program.
I am committed to improving patient care through the personalized medicine model based on the most cutting edge science. This is a practice that will travel with me wherever I choose to be in the world. It will be scalable for retirement, family, and life. I call it “my retirement practice” but really only because I am nearing retirement age. Honestly, if I had had this opportunity when I began my career, I would have taken it! I jump out of bed in the morning, excited and happy to get to work. It is deeply satisfying to see the levels of improvement my clients experience in my program. Of course, as with everything, people progress at their own rates of speed but, they are, all of them, headed in the correct direction.