Happy spring, my friend! And happy National Public Health Week. We are donning my favorite time of year where seasonal depression washes off our souls and nature sings along with our spirits. We shed our layers and layers and layers of clothes to increase our daily exposure to Vitamin D. While slightly dramatic, it is 100% true!

I love spring because nature is designed with our chemical structure in mind. For example, many of our bodily functions can’t metabolize without vitamin D. Our natural healing process lags. Our hormones are thrown off, and our serotonin level (the wake you up feel-good hormone) suffers. 

Nature has a way of bringing on healing properties to which our bodies readily respond. I deeply value a doctor that will listen and is open to a holistic approach. I want my medical team to embrace bio-individuality and help restore my body to its natural state of health. I work to do this for my clients, giving them additional options outside of piling on pharmaceuticals, with their laundry list of side effects that mask the systems of a more serious underlying problem. Now, please do not get me wrong; I am not anti-pharmaceuticals. I believe everything has its place. I just don’t think that for most conditions, drugs should be in first place.

As we close National Women’s History Month and embark on National Public Health Week, I would like to share two women who share my passion for healing. 

Dr. Giavonne Rondo-Hillman

I first had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Rondo-Hillman at one of my cooking classes. Every one of my classes is special to me, but this class was exceptional because the moms decided to get their children involved. Dr. Giavonne’s daughter was allowed to take charge with the charcuterie board they crafted together. They did a marvelous job. Their boards nearly looked professional, and their creativity excited me.

After the class, we connected, and I learned that she is an Internal Medicine doctor. I also discovered we have similar commonalities. We both attended HBCUs. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. I went to Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. And we both have a passion for working with women. Dr. Rondo-Hillman specializes in working with and healing African American women in health and healthcare deserts. There can be some mixed feelings about this niche, but here is why I believe it is essential and admirable. 

In Africa, there was a rich culture that allowed indigenous people to thrive in nature. Native fruits of the ground-nuts, seeds, berries, their oils, and the like- were the staple ingredients of their medicines, self-care products, and food. Our bodies are designed for the plants and foods of our native cultures. When Africans were removed from those environments-whether through exploitation or exploration- they were torn away from the resources designed specifically for their body types. 

In slavery, African Americans were given scraps to eat and did a phenomenal job of pairing those scraps with seasonings and herbs to make them desirable! However, the parts they received were the least healthy parts of the animals and vegetation. Soul food, as it is now known, became a staple in the black culture. These foods tend to be heavily fried, breaded, and full of carbs and fat; the dishes remain nostalgic and good for the soul but can take a toll on the body.

Since slavery, the African American community has been and in many cases still is underserved, with physical and mental healthcare being two of the most significant areasThe healthcare available in these disadvantaged neighborhoods tends to be subpar, dealing with surface health issues, mainly due to funding. Unfortunately, because of this, there lacks a practice of getting to the root of the problem. Instead, more economical means are employed to place a bandaid on the presenting symptoms at hand and send the patient on their way. 

Another problem that needs tackling within this community is the high level of mistrust of the medical community. There is no secret that African Americans and other minorities have been targeted for experiments within the medical community. Henrietta Lacks, The Tuskegee Experiment, gynecological experiments done of female slaves, and more lead the charge of suspicion. 

You cannot do better until you know better.  

Dr. Rondo-Hillman has the vision to improve the level of education and treatment within the African American community. She is a listener, open to holistic approaches, and making her practice better day-by-day. She also understands that many of her would-be patients cannot get to her office due to transportation limitations. Therefore Dr. Rondo-Hillman devised a way to get to them through her GObile MD, PLLC service. She essentially has taken her full-service practice on the road and travels to the neighborhoods of the patients that have the most difficulty getting to her. 

I firmly believe this is what sets her apart in her field as a healthcare professional. One must recognize that in order to increase the level of health and wellness of a people group, one must increase that people group’s knowledge of their conditions and treatment options available.

Her driving passion pushes her to be the best Internal Medicine physician possible. She received her MD from the University of Louisville in 1999 and holds affiliations with several hospitals within the Jeffersonville, Indiana area, including Norton Community Medical Associates. I admire her heart, her tenacity, and the value she brings to an unbalanced medical scale. Women like her bring hope and help balance the system.

Dr. Ellen Antoine 

Dr. Antoine received her Medical Degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to become an award-winning doctor within her field. She has an impressive list of accomplishments under her belt, and her practice reflects this. 

After watching her family suffer for years with various illnesses, she decided enough was enough. She was fed up with treating symptoms; she demanded to know the root of their problems and refused to stop until she exposed the underlying causes. Her determination resulted in the complete healing of her Lupus, an autoimmune disease, and other chronic infections. She went on to analyze and dissolve the cause of her children’s educational and behavioral hurdles. 

It is my sincerest hope that I can bring a measure of peace and health to you and your family as we embark on treatment with a whole body/mind/spirit approach. We will partner in healing and tackle the issues without using the conventional medical band-aid treatment.”

Her mission is evident in her care. My family enjoyed working with Dr. Ellen and her husband, Dr. Scott Antoine, at Vine Healthcare located in Carmel, Indiana, as we began seeking treatment for my husband’s rare cancer condition. They knew who we were from the first time we walked in the door, remembered our names at following appointments, and continued to call and check-in periodically, offering helpful advice and sincerity for the entirety of the journey. 

I love the atmosphere and servant’s heart I experience during every visit. Dr. Antoine, her husband, and their staff are the picture of what healthcare should be.

In a culture where healthcare can be scary, confusing, and hopeless, know there are still doctors who are genuine and believe in healing the public. These dynamic women are a great place to start!

Bringing the family back to the table,

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