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Growing professional partnerships in MD

Opportunity may be knocking for Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) alumni seeking paid internships in the primary care medical industry, according to Dr. John Paul James, UTS Maryland Satellite director. Primary Care and other services which includes holistic health coaching, weight management, nutrition consultation, Kinesiology, Cardiovascular/ Oncology Rehabilitation and counseling for patients with chronic illness and acute illnesses and psychological issues such as depression, anger, addiction or anxiety, all specialties of the new field of Integrated Medicine.

“We are training our graduate students at UTS as counselors, and they are being cross-trained with Functional Medicine,” Dr. James said. He went on to say: “We are also training post graduates and medical and psychological professionals in Function Medicine which is defined as the use of systems biology to get at underlying causes of diseases.”

“Underlying causes often include inflammation or what we call immune system deregulation. We can go in and target those processes through intensive diet and lifestyle changes. Functional Medicine is a science-based approach that considers the web of interactions in a person’s history, physiology and lifestyle that can lead to illness, thereby addressing the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.”

The current UTS graduate students in Clinton will be in this clinic as interns,” Dr.  James said to an Open House gathering at the Urgent Care franchise facility at 5474 Barnabas Rd in Oxon Hill, MD.

UTS students are taking courses at the new satellite campus of UTS located at 9135 Piscataway Rd, Suite 410, Clinton, MD 20735. In September of 2015, UTS worked with Logos Christian College Washington to establish the Maryland satellite facility with Dr. James as a faculty member and chief administrator. The Total You Integrative Medicine Center offices are based in the same building.

Dr. James said “The Total You Integrative Medicine Center is excited to partner with the American Association of Functional Medicine, American College of Functional Medicine, and Academy of Functional Medicine.”

Dr. James and Total You Integrative Medicine Center are members of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and the American Diabetes Association. They are building a Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Center in Oxon Hill, MD at the Urgent Care Matters and Total You Integrative Medicine Center site and a 3000 sq.ft. diabetes center in the Clinton office. Dr. James is a Diplomat of the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

“The idea of Integrated Medicine is to fully engage mind and body in the treatment of disease. … Your mind and body have to work together.Dr. John Paul James

The partnership Dr. James has struck between his Total You Integrative Medicine Center and an Urgent Care medical franchise in Oxon Hill, Maryland will allow both traditional, medical, Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine Psychological and holistic health coaching services to be offered in the same venue. “It will be one-stop shopping,” Dr. James says. This is the value of the internship placements for UTS students. They will be able to put into practice what they learn in the classroom.

Nurse Practitioners and Physicians who operate the Urgent Care facility can refer patients to Total You Integrative Medicine Center offices in the same building.  When patients arrive at Total You Integrative Medicine Center, they will complete an assessment on an iPad hand-held computer and will be diagnosed by a certified nurse practitioner, Ms. Sundi Tate. Physiology and Kinesiology will be available from Mr. Michael Olukunle, who teaches health coaching at Fortis College, a two-year vocational school in Landover, MD. “Exercise doesn’t fix everything, but exercise does a lot,” Mr. Olukunle told the gathering. “Exercise slows the aging process and gives people sexual vitality.”  Dr. James said he envisions having several counselors and specialists at the facility.

Payments to Total You Integrative Medicine Center can be made by cash, private health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, according to Dr. James. During the last 10 years, stand-alone medical clinics offering diagnosis and treatment for illnesses that do not require a hospital emergency room have mushroomed across the United States.

Currently there are between 7,100 and 9,000 such businesses, most of which do not require appointments and some of which are open seven days a week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. Franchised medical clinics include such names as Concentra Urgent Care, U.S. Health Works and American Family Care and Doctors Express. The State of Maryland has 85 such clinics, and more are springing up as investor capital floods into this growing business.  One investor reportedly said he believes the growth line for such businesses “will look like a hockey stick.”

“The relationship of our Urgent Care to Total You Integrative Medicine Center is complementary, not competitive,” says Darcy Headly a managing partner of the Urgent Care franchise on Barnabas Road in Oxon Hill, MD. Customers of the Urgent Care facility will come in because they can’t get a timely appointment with physicians at more conventional clinics, or because they need medical attention after other clinics have closed.  “Health insurance doesn’t consider us a primary care provider. When patients need chiropractic, dental or holistic health management, we refer them outside the clinic,” she says.“What Total You Integrative Medicine Center uniquely brings to Urgent Care is Primary Care and holistic health coaching, that is, making sure there is follow-up after a pharmaceutical regimen is prescribed,” says Dr. Kaysan Johnson, a nurse practitioner who is the Urgent Care Partner overseeing medical diagnosis and treatment. Many senior citizens and non-native English speakers need coaching regarding long-term treatment of diabetes, hypertension and cancer therapy.

“The idea of Integrated Medicine is to fully engage mind and body in the treatment of disease, “Dr. James told a gathering of the curious at an open house event at the rear of the Urgent Care facility in Oxon Hill. “Your mind and body have to work together. You cannot have a physical problem without a mental problem, or a mental problem without a physical problem,” he said. “When people have diabetes and hypertension and don’t go to see the doctor, they sometimes end up with kidney disease and dialysis, so people need to manage their health care appropriately,” he explained.

The Urgent Care location has offices and examination rooms for its 20 employees, and 2,500 sq. feet in the rear of the building for the Total You Integrative Medicine Center primary care services. The Total You Integrative Medicine Center is currently operational in the front of the Urgent Care even though the build-out will require three months for completion.

As evidence mounts up supporting healthy diet and fitness as aids to illness prevention, the demand for primary care services could grow. Public health authorities for decades have argued that preventative measures can reduce trips to the emergency rooms of crowded hospitals.

The open house drew the participation of Linda Turner, Manager, Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) in the Office of County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. She said TNI seeks to promote better standards of community health in six urban hubs within Prince George’s County and that through TNI, she could help by promoting the benefits of primary care that is partnering with an urgent care facility. “TNI is interested in providing exposure of any benefits to the communities and Dr. James has agreed to work with us in promoting the services he will be providing. The County Executive’s Office is very interested in partnerships like this,” she said.