Meet Jacqui Pariset, MD

A personal note from Jacqui Pariset, MD

“I was so frustrated with conventional medicine, I almost quit.”

I loved my med school experience at the University of Washington School of Medicine. I graduated, did my internship, and got a job as a board-certified physician in a family practice in Denver. I loved seeing my patients! The best part was getting to know them and building relationships over the years.

Unfortunately, the focus of conventional medicine is: “Fit the pill to the ill.”

For more than a decade, I was seeing 25 people a day. I felt like an assembly line operator, quickly jumping from one patient to another. And there were other disturbing issues:

  • I was repeatedly asked to reduce the length of patient visits from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. (I refused.)
  • I was expected to punch a timer outside my exam room in order to time patient visits. (I refused.)
  • I was pressured to give out prescriptions to meet quotas. (I refused.)

Plus, I saw a disturbing trend with my patients: No one got better!

I was immensely frustrated with the traditional, conventional approach to medicine. I kept thinking, “This isn’t how medicine is supposed to be.” I was getting burned out – I almost quit medicine. Worse, my patients weren’t getting better!

But I loved medicine, and I wanted to help people. So I started reading and soaking up new studies, groundbreaking research data, and leading-edge ideas in medicine. In the process, I learned about functional medicine, the importance of lifestyle factors, and the critical importance of nutrition for overall health and vitality.

I began training in functional medicine at the Institute for Functional Medicine.

During my first functional medicine conference, I texted my husband: “I found my tribe.” (This still gives me goosebumps!) I had discovered professionals from around the world who were as passionate about medicine as I was. My teachers included highly respected doctors and professors from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and other renowned research institutions, clinics, and hospitals.

What was especially exciting? I was exposed to the latest studies and new data from doctors at the top of their field. These docs were treating patients with groundbreaking ideas such as using a “whole person approach” and applying “personalized medicine.”

These philosophies focus on each person as an individual, with a comprehensive look at lifestyle issues, especially nutrition. These are pivotal ideas in functional medicine – ideas that are vastly different from traditional, conventional medicine. In fact, my steepest learning curve in the functional medicine certification program was on the topic of nutrition, because med schools don’t teach this topic!

I started to make changes with my patients – and seeing improvement. Here’s a striking case study…

I was still working in family practice while studying functional medicine, so I began to apply new ideas. This case study stands out: A fit, healthy woman was suffering horribly from painful arthritis and swelling in her hands. I took an X-ray, did lab work, and referred her to a conventional rheumatologist. Despite an unrevealing workup, the rheumatologist put the patient on a powerful immune suppressant costing up to $10,000 a month!

The patient’s symptoms persisted, and she came back to see me. By now, I had completed more training in functional medicine. I had an idea. “You may be gluten intolerant; let’s test for celiac disease.” (She did not have GI symptoms, so this idea surprised her.) The patient DID test positive for celiac! She went off gluten – and the prescription meds – and she was fine. The rheumatologist was stunned. She called me and said that, from now on, she would test all her patients for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Everyone has their own health journey. Here’s mine:

Even as a very young child, I had chronic IBS. Childhood memories include frequent stomach aches and gulping down Mylanta. Yet no one talked to my parents about my diet or other possible triggers. In high school I suffered from terrible acne. No one talked about my diet. Then I began having debilitating migraines. Again, no one talked about my diet. Due to my random constellation of symptoms, I was seeing different specialists and trying various medications. Things would get better on and off, then get worse again. I just learned to live with it.

Finally, through my studies in functional medicine, I learned that I have significant gluten sensitivity. I got off gluten, improved my diet, and healed my gut. Now, I rarely have any of those symptoms. (If I do, I know why.) I identified my triggers, got rid of them, and feel so much better now. No IBS, no acne, no headaches. Functional medicine improved my health and my quality of life.

Functional medicine puts the power in the patient’s hands – the power to create your own health with lifestyle choices.

I’ve been a doctor for 15 years and have seen thousands of patients. With functional medicine, I’ve seen so much improvement with my patients. Functional medicine helped me realize: “This is how medicine is supposed to be done.” I founded Omnia Health several years ago, so people in metro Denver (and beyond) can have access to high-quality functional medicine. I invite you to see for yourself!

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