We’re thrilled to introduce our newest Parsley Health Los Angeles physician, Dr. Rachael Gonzalez.
Dr. Gonzalez is double board-certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine, as well as certified in Functional Medicine through the Institute for Functional Medicine. She has over 10 years experience in functional health and primary care.
Today, we sit down with our newest Los Angeles physician, Rachael Gonzalez, to learn about why she became a doctor, the conditions she sees most often, and what she would most like to see change in our current healthcare system.
Q: Why did you become a doctor?
I grew up in the inner city of Los Angeles. I had a lot of health issues as a child and as a consequence developed a close bond with my family physician who demonstrated a great deal of compassion and empathy. At the age of 3, I declared to all who would listen that I was going to be a doctor.
Q: What are the conditions you see most often?
Q: Why did you decide to join Parsley Health?
Because of my earliest experiences as a patient, I knew that the patient-provider relationship could be transformative. In my own practice, I combined technology access and the intimacy of a small practice. As a solo doc, there was only so much I could do to teach my patients and I had a toolkit that limited much of my interventions to prescription medications.
In 2009, I discovered functional medicine and at that time attempted to transition my practice into a functional medicine practice while still accepting insurance. It was a valiant effort however it was very clear that I could not fully deliver the promise of functional medicine. Due to the insurance model of reimbursement, my appointments were too brief and although I had become aware of the power of nutrition, it was difficult to be both a physician and health coach.
I joined Parsley Health because I wanted to provide functional medicine in partnership with a team of health coaches. Beyond this, I believe in the vision of making functional medicine available to more than a small segment of society. I believe that Parsley is transforming how people approach their care and how larger entities such as employers and insurance carriers allocate their resources and I’m so excited to be a part of this!
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
The time I share with patients is magical. It is a special time in which to give patients space, permission and time to tell their story. It is a very powerful exchange because so often in telling this story, the seeds of their healing are sown. I love seeing patients discover that they can come in with a multitude of symptoms but in fact may have only a few key imbalances which can be addressed, corrected through activities that they do every day such as eating, sleeping, relaxing, and moving. They learn to feel that they are the most important instruments of their healing.
Q: What areas of interest do you have as a physician?
I have a passion for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. My other clinical interests include thyroid disease, adrenal dysfunction, nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics, gi disorders autoimmunity and women’s health concerns such as hormone health. I am particularly fascinated with the role of lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and self-care in reversing chronic disease.
Q: What is your experience of the current healthcare system and where would you like to see changes?
I’ve been both a provider and a patient and as both, I have been disappointed with the influence of the insurance industry and pharmaceutical industry in medical education and practice. Change is necessary if we are going to reverse disturbing trends in completely preventable diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, autoimmunity and autism. These changes have to include compensation based on health outcomes, not just metrics about compliance with treatment guidelines that were developed by insurance companies. Functional medicine is poised to be at the tip of the spear of this change because it provides what patients have been denied—the tools, the information and the support to change their health trajectories.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with your patients?
My relationships with patients have always been collaborative. I learn from my patients and vice versa. Patients come to me as experts of who they are, and I try to act as a guide to help them achieve their optimal health.
We resolve chronic illness with 7x fewer prescriptions.
Q: What are three things you do every day that are non-negotiable?
Sing in the shower, tell my husband I love him, and do some form of exercise
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Q: Favorite food?
I love eggplant and I use it as a barometer for restaurants who offer it. For sheer versatility I love eggs. I also love, love, love bitter foods such as watercress and arugula.
Q: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods.”