Dr. Erin Martin and Casey Weeks could have situated the new office of TrueMed Institute closer to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.
They intentionally chose an office in downtown Hood River, however, because they want to help people avoid the hospital, not prepare for it.
“We wanted to be downtown, because it’s a vibrant place, where the energy is,” says Martin.
To put their orientation in terms that most of us can understand, Martin, a physician, and her husband, a certified health counselor, would rather prevent the fire, than show up with a hose after the house is engulfed.
“This is upstream medicine,” Martin says. “It’s about identifying what’s way up there that may be causing problems for people.”
And helping change those conditions, for better health.
Martin is a doctor of osteopathic medicine (same training as a medical doctor, but additional emphasis on the skeletal system and manipulative treatment).
Martin worked for three years at La Clinica in The Dalles, one year out of the Northshore Medical Group in White Salmon, and the last year working emergency medicine at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston before starting the new specialty care practice.
“We don’t do primary care,” Martin says. “People still need to have a primary care physician. We’re specialists in functional and integrative medicine.”
That means they take a look at the entire body, and how all its systems work — and don’t work — together. During her medical studies, Martin held a fellowship in integrative medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona.
“Whatever the patient needs, we create a holistic plan for them,” Martin says.
Weeks helps people look at their lifestyle, and modify behaviors to help the body. Exercise, diet, Eastern modalities such as yoga and acupuncture, it all could come to play.
They have built a teaching kitchen in the back of their new office space at 506 Cascade Ave., Suite 200. They hope to help people improve their knowledge of nutrition, and learn healthful cooking techniques.
Integration, for them, means bringing the best solution to the problem. That may mean other providers, in other offices, employing other disciplines. Martin notes that she has a strong referral network of relationships with providers of everything from physical therapy to massage and nutrition.
Martin says theirs is considered an “out of network” provider. They will provide patients a bill, and let the patient submit the bill for reimbursement by their health insurance company.
“That lets us dedicate our time to being with the patients, and not spending it filing insurance claims,” Martin says.
One patient at a time, Martin and Weeks are trying not just to fix what ails the individual, but also what ails the U.S. health care system. To share her thoughts on possible cures, Martin appears in a new documentary film, “Escape Fire,” which appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s a trailer for the movie.
To reach TrueMed Institute, call 541-386-8783.