What is Integrative Pediatrics?
“Integrative Medicine is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”
– The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine
I started my journey in Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine over 25 years ago. My training and education was in traditional western medicine. But my heart and values were always more aligned with a natural holistic approach. The most memorable part of my 4 years of nursing school was the mere 2 hours we spent learning about “Therapeutic Touch” developed by Delores Krieger PhD, RN in the 1970’s. When I went on to graduate school to specialize in Pediatrics, I was excited and dedicated, but I knew deep down that this was not the final step in my education. Re-entering the workforce with my masters, I was wide-eyed and eager but continued to find disappointment within the healthcare system, and how the esteemed doctors that I looked up to failed to help me find the answers that I was continuing to look for. I was repeatedly frustrated with the focus of only prescribing medication for a symptom as opposed to my true passion of finding the root cause of dis-ease and helping to facilitate optimal health and well-being.
Throughout the years, I learned an invaluable amount from listening to my patients and families. I have also been blessed to collaborate and learn from amazing holistic and integrative practitioners. My deep desire and passion to find ways to truly help families and to make a difference led me to further training and education in Integrative Health and Healing, and ultimately to discover Integrative Pediatrics. I have been truly blessed to have the inspiring and brilliant mentors Dr. Aviva Romm, Dr. Larry Rosen, and Dr. Ben Kliger. I also continue to follow the work of Dr. Paul Thomas and Dr. Elisa Song.
To me, Integrative Pediatrics is “the best of all worlds” approach. Recommendations for treatment will include the most appropriate and evidence-based conventional as well as alternative treatment modalities that are best suited to each individual patient and family. These can include dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, pharmaceutical medications, lifestyle management, homeopathic medicines and herbal medicines. As well as referrals to specialists, whether traditional or integrative, whenever appropriate.
There is a time and place for everything, when you have the common goal of optimal individualized health. I always prefer natural treatments and holistic approaches. Western medicine interventions or prescription medications are needed at times as well. That’s why I love what I do. You don’t have to choose between the two. And families shouldn’t have fear of judgment from their child’s healthcare provider. We are partners in this journey.
I embrace working with families of different faith, ethnicities and cultures. And I will work with your desired style of parenting. I won’t shy away from questioning the status quo. It’s time for parents and caregivers to unite and empower ourselves with knowledge and to make change.
Our goal at Thrive Center for Health is for patients to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and families in order to allow them to thrive to their fullest potentials. We provide a nurturing environment that integrates allopathic (western), Integrative and Naturopathic medicine that is customized to meet the unique needs of each individual patient. We believe in the innate healing capacity of each individual’s body and mind, and that our role is to facilitate this process through a holistic, integrative approach.
To the loving and caring parents- I know it’s hard, especially in these current times - you are my heroes. Thank you for trusting me with the care of your precious children. I am truly honored.
Lara O’Neil APRN, CPNP