Committed to getting results, examining your case piece by piece, and personalizing the care so that you can be fully realized and can stretch beyond the status quo.
There’s an old Chinese Proverb that I like to roll out as a kind of epitaph whenever I find myself being asked to explain my life. Translations vary from source to source, but the gist of it goes something like this:
“Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.”
During my winter & spring breaks in medical school, I volunteered to provide medical relief in rural Africa, and had the opportunity to see a wide variety of health challenges. However, I noticed something odd about the collective sum of the cases I was seeing, something missing…
While learning about asthma, eczema, and allergies back home – members of the so-called Western diseases – I was struck by their near absence in the populations I was working with in rural Africa. Especially noticeable was the conspicuous absence of autoimmune disease.
Impossible as it might seem, I didn’t encounter a single case of autoimmune disease in the 1,200 or so people I treated. When I checked the medical records from village clinics, again not a single autoimmune diagnosis. In rural Africa, it seems, no one aches from rheumatic arthritis.
I have a particular and personal interest in autoimmune disease. When I was ten, my sister was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism. A year later, my father developed a baffling hybrid of type 1 (autoimmune) and type 2 (non-autoimmune) diabetes. Later that same year, my brother was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. A close cousin of mine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis just as I started medical school. And my mother has been a lifelong allergy-sufferer and asthmatic. When it came to autoimmune & allergic disease, my family had won the lottery.
While I was puzzling over what I found in rural Africa, or – more accurately – didn’t find in rural Africa, epidemiologists gave it a name: the African Enigma.
My family history made me wonder: what were these rural Africans doing to protect themselves from autoimmune disease? Autoimmune disease is fairly new to the human race, but the rural Africans were living more or less the way they always had. How could they develop a protection to a new disease so quickly?
As it turns out, it was us in the West who were doing something new; something that made us more susceptible to autoimmune disease; something that the rural Africans weren’t doing. And that something was widespread disinfection.
Research has caught up with the theory in recent years, and now we know that bringing back the beneficial bacteria and our other “old friends” can treat or prevent some types of autoimmune and allergic diseases,
In my clinical work, I’ve made a marriage between my volunteer experiences in rural Africa and the insights I’ve gained from living alongside family members rife with autoimmunity.
My clinical work at the Interactive Health Clinic is only the latest example of a sterling & heartfelt effort to live a life consistent with my values: to coordinate compassion, service, and patient education with expert medical care. These basic principles inform my approach with each and every patient who seeks my medical expertise.
- Bachelor of Arts In Socratic Dialogue from the Evergreen State College.
- Bachelor of Science in Biophysics from the Evergreen State College.
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University.
Internships & Special Training
- Naturopathic Medicine Internship at Seattle Inegrative Medicine in Seattle, WA focusing on multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders.
- Naturopathic Medicine Internship at Rural Care Network in Kumasi, Ghana (Africa) focusing on rural medicine and gastrointestinal disease.
- Naturopathic Medicine Internship at Natural Doctors International in Ometepe, Nicaragua (Central America) focusing on rural medicine and infectious disease.
- Autoimmune disease specialist at Fairbanks Family Wellness in Fairbanks, AK. Treatment focused on gut microbiome restoration, immunotherapies, and genetic counseling.
- I am a premier physician member of The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, I hold an active membership with The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, and am proud to be affiliated with The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The American Gastroenterological Association and The Personalized Medicine Coalition
- Adjunct Professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks, teaching Biochemistry, Gastroenterology, and Nutrition.
- Clinical Approach & Special Interests
If I had to pick only one overarching goal to summarize my approach to your health care it would be the goal to get you feeling better on your terms. This means that I tailor my medical decisions, practices, and therapies to the individual patient, and that I use diagnostic tests to select therapies based on your specific genes, biochemistry, and microbial community (commonly referred to as the microbiome). In doctor-speak, this approach is often shorthanded to personalized medicine or individualized medicine.
As a primary care doctor, I provide comprehensive medical care to patients of all ages and address a full range of health concerns. All patients are welcome and can expect the highest quality diagnosis, management, and treatment while under my care.
My special interests include autoimmune disease and gastrointestinal conditions. I dedicate a large part of my practice to helping those with Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis). I am one of only a very few physicians in North America offering in-office administration of bacteriotherapy (including FMT) for the treatment of C. difficile infection. I also offer medical supervision in an outpatient setting for the use of bacteriotherapy in adults with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Your First Visit
At your first visit, you can expect:
- A warm welcome & introduction.
- A review of intake forms and any past labs.
- A thorough medical & lifestyle history.
- Appropriate physical exams.
- A detailed explanation of our analysis and approach to your case.
- Individualized comprehensive lifestyle recommendations and treatment plan.
As a part of your first visit, I will:
- Learn about your health goals.
- Discuss where your health fits into the rest of your everyday responsibilities.
- Evaluate the factors interfering with your optimal health.
- Develop a sense of how your symptoms relate to each other and their underlying cause.
- Create a partnership with you in achieving the health you deserve.
- Recommended Readings
Outside the office, I write a syndicated column pertaining to emerging research on natural therapies. A selection of my articles can be viewed on the Interactive Health Clinic’s Facebook page.
- Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser
- An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases by Moises Velasquez-Manoff
- Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
- Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook by David Werner, Jane Maxwell, and Carol Thuman
- Return to Nature by Adolph Just