Wellness and prevention information from the experts at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing

My path to practicing holistic health

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by Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD

Next week is big for me. I will be transitioning from my cardiology clinic in St. Paul to practice at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing Outpatient Clinic – Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

As part of this, I’ve been asked to introduce myself as a new Penny George Institute practitioner and describe what led me here. To do so, I want to share some defining moments:

  • Age 12: That’s when I knew I wanted to be a doctor to combine my talents for math and science with my love of people.
  • AmeriCorps: In my early twenties, I worked in North Minneapolis as an AmeriCorps volunteer to reduce teen pregnancies. I learned quickly that you can’t just offer education on a topic and make a difference. I had to build one-on-one relationships based on trust with the 17 teen moms I was working with. I had to consider their mind, body and spirit. We exercised together, shopped for healthy and affordable food, prepared and shared meals, and worked on college applications and paper work for free or low-cost child care. My memories are of empowerment, education and trust. This is exactly what I envisioned medicine to be like.
  • Medical School: This is when I became interested in cardiology because you could see patients on the spectrum from prevention to end-stage heart failure and palliative care. I became interested in public health after seeing how many patients were helped in the hospital only to go home without education to change the behaviors that got them there in the first place.
  • Introduction to integrative medicine: I spent time with my husband on a University of Minnesota integrative medicine course in Hawaii. We were exposed first hand to a new world of medicine, and I was fortunate to meet a strong mentor early in my career, Mimi Guaneri , who pioneered integrative cardiology at Scripps Health in California.

These experiences led me to start an integrative cardiology clinic at United Heart and Vascular Clinic in St. Paul. Our patients saw a preventive cardiologist, a holistic nutritionist and an exercise physiologist.  They loved this approach.  I think most were surprised at how open minded and accepting I am of a variety of ways to heal. I always try to empower them and focus on what they believe are their biggest challenges and strengths.

As much as I love cardiology, now I want to further pursue my goals around prevention and wellness. I want to keep people well and work with them before they develop cardiovascular disease.

After spending a year as vice president and medical director of the Penny George Institute, I was sending so many patients to Penny George Institute clinics for services I viewed as essential to their holistic healing, it seemed only natural to start practicing at the Penny George Institute.

Our group has a truly collaborative and integrative approach to health.  I’m thrilled to be working with colleagues who have various expertise and share a similar view of approaching patients from a mind, body, and spirit approach.

I’m excited to start this next journey with this team to help our patients on their path to wellness.

Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD, will practice at the Penny George Institute starting April 1. She offers an integrative medicine, or holistic, approach, for general women’s wellness, aging well, weight loss, the prevention of heart disease, and stress and anxiety reduction. Call 612-863-3333 to learn more or schedule an appointment.

One thought on “My path to practicing holistic health

  1. Allina is fortunate to have such a great leader in the area of holistic medicine. Keep up the good work.

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