Finding Dr. Casey Kelley has been an 11-year project for me. That’s how long I’ve been scanning the horizon for the perfect holistically oriented MD associate. And believe me this project was no walk in the park.
Overall, newly minted MDs avoid primary care specialties (family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics) because by choosing one of them they’ll earn barely enough to pay off their medical school loans. Each time I’d actually locate a well-trained primary care physician, I’d quickly discover that while he or she might “like” the idea of integrative medicine the number who’d actually be willing to devote their professional career to a holistically oriented practice was excruciatingly small.
The money, for one, but also the fact that you need to spend some real time learning about alternative medicine. After four years of college, four in medical school, and three in residency training, most doctors simply don’t want to start another educational project. Unless you’re someone who really wants to learn integrative medicine. I mean really.
Hence, my 11-year quest and my delight as I welcome Casey Kelley, MD, to WholeHealth Chicago.
As you’ll see from her biography, early in her training Dr. Kelley “knew” she was going to practice integrative medicine. But because integrative medicine isn’t taught in medical school or residency, it becomes a DIY venture, or what’s now called self-directed learning. This is what I did myself, 20 years ago: taking courses in other cities sponsored by various holistic and alternative associations, reading extensively about naturopathic, chiropractic, homeopathic, and Chinese medicine, learning from practitioners of these essential alternatives to mainstream medicine.
Dr. Kelley completed her residency in family medicine here in Chicago. Family medicine is the perfect specialty to use as a starting point for integrative medicine because you’re taught a little bit of everything from the conventional medical point of view. You’re also taught when to refer patients to specialists and, after a few years, you learn which medical centers have the best specialists for your patient’s particular problem. By the time you’ve finished your training, there’s little you haven’t seen, disease-wise.
But it was by attending meetings of the American Holistic Medical Association, where the several hundred physicians who are serious about integrative medicine meet annually, that Dr. Kelley became very interested in a particular branch of integrative medicine called functional medicine.
Click on that link for a brief overview of functional medicine. Essentially, this personalized, science-based approach perceives every individual as a genetically unique network of functioning systems (as indeed you are). When everything is working well together–and this is accomplished by healthful balanced living, good nutrition, regular exercise, and avoiding toxins–the body’s proud owner is rewarded with a rich, vital, and long life.
Functional medicine physicians view symptoms as imbalances in the function of body systems, including digestion and absorption, hormone balance, detoxification, immunity, and neurotransmitters. Once any imbalances are located and corrected, generally with natural therapies, your body begins its own self-healing process.
Health is seen as a positive state in itself–not merely the absence of disease.
Dr. Kelley is an active member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and gears her healing philosophy accordingly. And because she’s working with our entire WholeHealth Chicago practitioner team, Dr. Kelley can with confidence refer patients as needed into such areas as chiropractic, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, bodywork therapies, Healing Touch, herbal medicine, and psychological counseling. Also, of course, because she’s an MD, she can refer you to any MD specialists required.
I’d like my patients to consider Dr. Kelley their own physician, right along with me. Over time she’ll familiarize herself with you and you’ll likely be seeing her if I’m unavailable for one reason or another. Since I’m booked fairly far in advance for new patients, the front desk staff will suggest Dr. Kelley if you’d like an earlier appointment.
She and I have agreed to discuss the management of medically complex new patients at the end of every workday. Dr. Kelley is quite familiar with the protocols from my first book, The Triple Whammy Cure, and is in the process of being Reader #3 of my forthcoming title, Preventing and Reversing Fibromyalgia. She’ll be well positioned to help with our ever-growing population of women with fibro.
I am genuinely delighted and feel blessed to have found such an associate!
David Edelberg, MD