A Family Doctor, like Dr. Ginsburg, is the physician that you use as your medical touchstone, the person who looks at the big picture of your health, rather than specializing deeply in a single part. By functioning in this way, a Family Practice Physician is the one who can best determine when you need a specialist, or what kind of problem you are really having. For example, is it heartburn or is it a heart problem? Is it indigestion or maybe candida? Is it an issue with the lining of the gut? Is it the result of stress in the family during a difficult period? Each one requires a different approach. If a specialist is needed, each might be a different specialist. For those who do not have their own family doc, be careful. You don’t want to just go to specialists. You need the one doctor who knows all the pieces. As part of this, the family Doctor develops a relationship with you that enables her or his insight to go deeper than just the facts you offer. In fact, those patients who rely on specialists, instead of having a Family Doctor as a starting point, have worse results in their health. And at higher cost.
The training of a Family Doctor is unique. They are taught not to focus on one part of the person, like a specialist, but to see the complete person, and to diagnose and treat the full range of problems people bring to their doctors. Their understanding includes not just the physical body, but relationships and emotional life, the effect your workplace has on health, the context of your family, the stresses you live under, and your spiritual life (if you have one).
All these affect the wellness or illness you carry in your life. Following medical school, Family Physicians complete a formal three-year residency during which they receive training in several major medical areas and patient populations. They must demonstrate competency on the job and pass a rigorous examination.
All these together make a Family Medicine certification an excellent place for an integrative, holistic physician to start.
In Dr. Ginsburg, you find a family doctor trained in this way, and who has gone beyond her training to be a complete, holistic, integrative, Family Doctor.