From the time I was a small child, I knew I was meant to be a doctor. I was driven by the very idea of it. My family was not a rich one, so it seemed as if it would be an unrealized dream. However, I was lucky enough to have many people and mentors who encouraged me. I am not one to give up easily, so I worked my way through medical school. It was there that my true purpose and life’s work as a physician became clear.
As a young twenty-something resident, I began experiencing some health challenges that were generally chalked up to long hours. Others told me it was “all in my head”. Those pat answers just made me more determined, because as a woman first and medical student second, I instinctively knew something more was going on with me. Everywhere I turned for help, I hit walls. So I dug into research, sought out the best minds and tried to figure out what was going wrong in my life. After years of searching, the answer was not what I expected. Premature menopause. I was only in my thirties. There would be no children in my future.
My experience as a young menopausal woman launched a whole series of other questions, especially when it came to hormones. I often say that nobody has done more damage to his or her own body in the name of research than I’ve done to my own. I became my own test subject. During my career, I worked in medical practices and in the pharmaceutical industry, so I learned a lot about the drugs available to women like me, and discovered how little medical school actually prepares us for a very important aspect of medicine: hormones. I found that conventional wisdom about hormones drives most of medicine, and most of it is completely wrong. It became my mission in life to help women like me feel better and live better.
I wanted my own practice because so few physicians focus on working in the area of women’s health and hormones, and yet hormones are such an essential component of women’s health. In October 2009, I decided it was time to go for it. To fund my new practice, I maxed out all of my credit cards and jumped off the proverbial cliff. DeRosa Medical opened on Jan. 4, 2010. Today, we have four offices in Arizona serving more than 7,000 patients, and we are growing rapidly.
Doing It All Is Simply Not Possible – Or Is It?
Having your name on the door of any business is a huge deal. As the founder of DeRosa Medical, it means the world to me, and so much more. It’s the destination to my journey. And today it has become the destination for so many women (and men) looking for help.
With my name on the door, and my presence in the media, it’s understandable that patients want to see me personally. While I have fond memories of the days when I could see and meet each DeRosa Medical patient, today the size of the practice, the scope of my dreams and the limitations of time simply won’t allow it.
No matter how hard I work, I can only treat a finite number of patients. By training other providers and encouraging young staff members to pursue their dreams, as well as through my book, How Your Doctor is Slowly Killing You: A Woman’s Health Survival Guide, I can educate an infinite number of people. I personally train and monitor every provider for an extended period of time, and all of our providers regularly consult with me on specific cases. It’s informally known as going through the “University of Dr. D”. By focusing more of my time on training new doctors and clinical staff, we can see and help more patients than I ever could on my own.
Helping more people is why I took a risk and wrote a book that’s guaranteed to piss off a large portion of my peers in the medical community. My book is meant as a tool to help women of all ages understand commonly misdiagnosed hormonal health issues and how they occur, and to arm them with the facts about bio-identical hormone replacement. It’s also opening up conversations with other doctors – whether they agree or disagree with the science behind the book, it’s a start!
In closing, I want to thank everyone for your overwhelming support and understanding. This time of rapid growth simply underscores the immense need for our services within the community, and also the importance for me to continue educating others. Other doctors. Other women. I’m up for the challenge.