Guest: Deborah Ann Ballard, MD, MPH
Guest Bio: Deborah Ann Ballard, MD, MPH is a board certified internist whose 22 years in medicine spans primary care, endocrinology, clinical research, and prevention and wellness. Dr. Ballard received her medical degree from the University of Louisville and completed her residency in Internal Medicine there. She received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Kentucky. In November 2013, Dr. Ballard achieved board certification from the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. She is a certified Tai Chi for Arthritis instructor. Dr. Ballard joined KentuckyOne Health in June 2013. She is currently practicing at KentuckyOne Health’s Healthy Lifestyle Centers. She is providing integrative medicine consultations and focusing on prevention and wellness initiatives across KentuckyOne Health and its service area.
Dr. Deborah Ballard discusses how the concept and practice of Integrative Medicine is relatively new to the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the United States.
Health Professional Radio
Neal Howard: Hello you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, so glad that you could join us today. We’re in studio today with Dr. Deborah Ann Ballard, she’s a board certified internist with 22 years in medicine. She’s also a board certified Tai Chi for arthritis instructor as well as a board certified integrative holistic medicine practitioner. How are you doing today doctor?
Dr. Deborah Ann Ballard: I am very well.
N: Could you tell us a little bit about KentuckyOne Health, the Healthy Lifestyle Center? The healthy lifestyle initiative, what exactly is it and what is your role in it?
B: Okay. So KentuckyOne Healthy Lifestyle Centers are three centers that are located in diverse places within the Metro Louisville area. And we provide there the mechanism for people to engage in lifestyle management which includes nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, help with nicotine addiction and pain control. So our whole goal through the healthy lifestyle center is to actually help people become healthy. And this is a new approach in that it’s certainly for our area, in any other parts of the United States and the world life lifestyle management centers have been up in running for some time but we are the first healthcare system in Kentucky to offer these services in our area which is very exciting.
N: You say this is a new approach, is it that you’re addressing several issues and trying to address them in order to enhance lifestyle as opposed to specializing and addressing say obesity or arthritis or some specific ailment? Is what the newness is?
B: Well it’s a change in overall philosophy.
B: A paradigm shift in medicine. Now we know that 85% of the chronic diseases in the United States are preventable. They are caused by the way people live their lives on a daily basis.
N: Uh huh.
B: And this has to do with consuming a poor diet, with not getting adequate levels of physical activity, with living in a high stress environment and with engaging in bad practices like using too much alcohol or tobacco.
B: So when you really get down to what is the root cause of the illness, the root cause is the lifestyle. So in integrated management we really look at correcting the root cause of illness and not just treating the symptom. So our goal is to help people actually put in place a proper diet, physical activities, and stress reduction techniques that will actually get rid of many of these diseases.
B: So that now they are actually well. We don’t define health is just the absence of disease. Health is total wellness according to the World Health Organization, it’s health of body, mind, spirit, and social, economic. So it’s really looking at the whole human being and helping them achieve true health.
N: Okay. When you’re talking about integrated medicine, why is it the right approach and is it the right approach in every situation? You talked about “getting rid of” you use the phrase you know getting rid of, are you talking about getting rid of a condition because the person isn’t susceptible to it because of a healthy lifestyle or because the person is suffering from it and a healthy lifestyle will remove, reverse the ailment or is it a combination of the two?
B: Well, let’s look at where traditional western medicine is excellent at something.
N: Uh huh.
B: If you are involved in an accident and you were here seriously injured, we can fix that. We get you in a hospital and put your bones back together and sew things up, and get wonderful techniques. If you have acute bacterial pneumonia, you need antibiotics and that works really, really well. However the chronic diseases that take up most of our healthcare dollars in the United States are actually related to obesity, lack of exercise, high stress, and consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and other unhealthy substances. And these include things like diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, chronic pain – all of these things are actually rooted in one’s lifestyle.
N: Uh huh.
B: And that is where traditional western medicine has not been able to answer the questions from many people, has not been able to actually make them well. We treat symptoms and we give people medicines to lower their blood sugar or lower their cholesterol or lower their blood sugar so we’re not making them well. So the approach in health management is to actually help people become well and it is depending on wherever they are in the spectrum of their disease journey.
N: Uh huh.
B: They may be able to actually reverse the illness altogether.
B: And not even have it and so that’s the goal. And what we also find is this, people who practice a very healthy lifestyle, eat well, again exercise, well strength, if something unfortunate happens like an accident or some unpreventable illness comes their way…
N: Uh huh.
B: Of course they’re going to do better with standard treatment than someone who comes into an illness with a lot of chronic problems already to deal with. So no matter what you’re talking about, this can be beneficial.
B: But this is not a rejection of the techniques and treatments in traditional western medicine that work really well. We use all techniques from all healing traditions that work well.
N: Great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. It’s been a pleasure talking with Dr. Deborah Ann Ballard in studio today, certified internist and also certified in Tai Chi for arthritis as well as holistic medicine. We’ve been here today talking about how important it is to address the whole body in order to prevent or reverse some of the ailments that we find ourselves suffering from. Many of these ailments that send us to the doctors are stress related and simple a change in lifestyle, deciding to eat better or to exercise a little bit more or to cut out some of the things that we find ourselves addictive to go a long way in facilitating a healthy lifestyle. It’s been great having you here with us today Dr. Ballard.
K: Okay, thank you very much.
N: Alright. Transcripts of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm.