Considering the whole person

MARQUETTE — In sickness or in health, it can be valuable to carefully examine and address the myriad of biological, social and psychological factors that may be contributing a given state of health.

Holistically-based approaches, such as integrative medicine, aim to provide patient-centered care that brings conventional medicine and complementary techniques, such as acupuncture, together in a coordinated manner that takes all aspects of health into consideration.

This type of care is being offered to patients throughout the nation, Marquette included.

Dr. Jessica Haloskie, M.D., of UP Health System-Marquette Family Medicine was recently certified in integrative medicine after completing her fellowship in integrative medicine through the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine and passing the American Board of Integrative Medicine examination.

“It was life changing,” Haloskie said of her fellowship program, adding her training provided her with a number of unique experiences that gave her a broader perspective on medicine.

Prior to this training, Haloskie received her M.D. from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia.

In addition to a board certification in integrative medicine, Haloskie also holds board certifications in family medicine and acupuncture.

Haloskie said her training in integrative medicine and acupuncture has allowed her to become a “more well-rounded physician.”

“Integrative medicine really teaches you to think about your patient as an entire person,” Haloskie said.

Haloskie, who was a practicing physician in an urgent care setting before the fellowship, was inspired to pursue a certification in medical acupuncture, then integrative medicine, after her own positive experience with acupuncture for treatment of an injury, she said.

“It made me rethink what we were doing in our current medical model and how we were treating many things, including pain, because pain is such a huge component of what any primary care physician does,” she said.

Practitioners of integrative medicine look at their patients holistically and believe that wellness goes beyond just the absence of disease.

“We have mastered disease medicine in this country,” Haloskie said, adding she believes “what we’ve kind of lost along the way or haven’t been able to really recapture or think about, is the whole person.”

When Haloskie sees a patient, she considers a wide range of factors contributing to a person’s health status, including biological, social, emotional, behavioral and spiritual components of well-being.

Listening to what’s going on in a person’s life is key, she said, noting that it’s important to consider a person’s social, emotional and spiritual well-being as factors in a health or disease state.

A big part of integrative medicine, Haloskie says, is getting to know a person and trying to understand all pieces of their health and well-being.

“It’s really diving much deeper into the person,” Haloskie said, noting that it’s important to talk about the big picture of wellness because “we’re complicated, life is complicated, we’re complicated beings.”

For example, if a patient is presenting with chronic pain, Haloskie can asess the physical aspect of the pain, while also inquiring about factors such as sleep, quality of interpersonal relationships and spiritual well-being.

Through Haloskie’s training in integrative medicine and acupuncture, she has learned to help her patients deal with pain “in ways that don’t involve traditional medications or injections or surgery,” which Haloskie believes is particularly important in the face of the opioid epidemic, she said.

Acupuncture is one way to adress pain without pharmaceuticals.

“I like acupuncture for a lot of medical states,” she said, noting that acupuncture can be used for pain, headaches, depression, anxiety, sprains, strains, lingering shingles pain and hot flashes, among other states.

Haloskie can also recommend mediation, mindfullness techniques, herbal supplments and other methods for her paitents, in addtion to conventional treatments.

Beyond the treatments she can offer in her practice, Haloskie can also use her knowledge of integrative medicine to connect patients with other professionals — such as osteopaths, massage therapists, Ayurvedic practitioners — who can offer treatments Haloskie feels would be helpful for a given person’s situation.

Integrative medicine is “truly going to be an asset to our community,” Haloskie said, noting that she looks forward to offering this type of care to locals.

For those who wish to be seen by a doctor certified in Integrative medicine, Haloskie is one of two UP Health System-Marquette doctors certified in integrative medicine, as Dr. Lisa Long, M.D., also of UP Health System – Marquette Family Medicine, completed the same fellowship program and certification as Haloskie.

Haloskie says referrals are not needed for her services. Those who are interested in seeing Haloskie or Long can call Marquette Family Medicine at 906-225-3864 to set up an appointment.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.