Dear fans, friends, family, and patients of Andrs Wellness Consulting,
I am delighted to be writing to you all today to introduce myself as the newest team member at Andrs Wellness Consulting. I am a medical doctor trained in general internal medicine, and consider myself a Richmond-native. If you would rather see my video introduction, you can view it here. Otherwise, read on.
I was born in New York Presbyterian Hospital, in New York City, on June 21, 1988, at 11 PM. I spent the first four years of my life in Manhattan with my family. I developed severe ear infections and chronic sinusitis after my first round of vaccinations. My sister developed crossed-eyes and chronic sinusitis after her first round of antibiotics. My mother did what good parents do - she took us to the doctor and did what they told her to do. We got round after round of antibiotics. Needless to say, this did not end well. My sister required surgery for her recurrent sinusitis. As my mother held her in the recovery room, she asked the surgeon, "We don't ever have to do this again, right?" He replied, "No, the fluid may re-accumulate and we may need to operate again."
At that moment, my mother started looking for alternatives to conventional medical care. Thus began a decades long journey into alternative medicine for both myself and my mother.
I always found health fascinating. I enjoyed learning from the different healers we went to over the years. When I was fifteen, I met a naturopath named Steven Hennenfent, who became a close mentor to me. He told me to go to medical school, and so I started taking all of the science courses I could. I studied Biology and Environmental Health, with a minor in Chemistry, at Connecticut College. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went on the the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
I took a special interest in allergy and immunology while at the University of Virginia, and was fortunate that the school has an excellent division. The immune system is what keeps us well, and in modern times, the immune system is at the heart of much of the premature disease that people are struggling with. I decided to pursue internal medicine, and then to sub-specialize in allergy and immunology.
I completed a residency in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center, but I had fallen out of love with academic medicine. I had grown tired of lectures, and wanted to dive into alternative medicine, which was and always will be my first passion. I was offered a position at a destination-wellness practice in Florida (which shall remain nameless). I studied functional medicine under the medical director of the clinic remotely in my last year of residency, and dove in once I started working there full time.
Not all that glitters is gold. I realized that while we were practicing exciting and cutting edge medicine, something important was missing. Much, if not most, of alternative medical practice focuses on proper nutrition. At this practice, we provided IV nutrients to every patient, Monday through Friday. We treated movie stars and professional athletes, alongside hedge-fund managers and Fortune 500 executives. And while we had great successes, but we also had discouraging failures. It became clear that life came down to more than what most, and even the best, alternative medical providers were practicing. True healing (true cure, as Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, would have put it) is to bring the system back into balance - a much more challenging task than just supplying it with its basic needs.
I left the clinic after only two months, having realized that the medical director was not practicing in a way that I found ethical. We were giving people a lot of medicine, without always bringing their hearts, minds, and bodies back into balance. Particularly concerning to me was the pattern of treatment failures. Many young, otherwise healthy patients failed to respond, while, paradoxically, older patients tended to fair better.
I learned a great deal about functional medicine in that short period of time, and I learned the most from my patients. The experience left me with a firm grasp of the most important principle of my practice - patients are the best teachers. Listening to them is the most important thing a doctor can do, and it is the only way that I think we can hope to get better at what we do.
I spent the next two years working half-time, and reading and going to conferences in my spare time. I read dozens of books, hundreds of papers, and watched or listened to hundreds of hours of lectures. I was voracious. I finally came away with a clear paradigm of medicine, one that began with the quantum mechanics of life. Yet the problem, as I soon discovered, was that a lot of doctors just wanted to hire me to see as many patients and sell them as many supplements, IVs, and sometimes surgeries as possible. Everyone seemed to want to sell me something, or to get me to sell patients something. I believe that Hippocrates was right when he said, "To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy." I have found this to be true many times.
I struggled to find a medical practice where I felt I fit in. The doctors who interviewed me and offered me jobs, or to sell me their practices, seemed overly interested in money. They did not seem interested in understanding how things actually worked, or in doing whatever it took to get their patients better. If there is anything I am obsessed with, it is getting people better, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Quite frankly, it's the only thing I find challenging enough to make an occupation of.
I decided to return to training, in order to understand the immune system better. I realized this was at the heart of many of the problems my patients had. I am particularly interested in helping young people to ovecome allergic and autoimmune diseases. I have seen how severe these can be - some of my closest friends struggle with these illnesses. I began an allergy and immunology fellowship at the University of Mississippi (of all places) in 2019. I was hopeful that I could do some interesting research, learn useful immunology for my patients, and perhaps even make a place for myself in academia, studying these difficult, but important diseases.
It was only two months into my fellowship, however, when I realized that I was being trained to practice medicine that was decades behind the cutting edge - by as much as sixty or seventy years. I was being trained to prescribe drugs, when there were much better, safer, and even more affordable, options available. All because academia has been thoroughly corrupted by big pharma. They turned down all of my research projects - they were too "ambitious." This was deeply disappointing, and disillusioning.
I began looking for jobs all over again. I decided to look in Richmond, which is how I found Kristin. From our first conversation, I was filled with optimism. I don't have to tell you how wonderful she is and how lucky we all are to have found her.
I will be starting as soon as I can get my Virginia medical license (your thoughts and prayers to this end are appreciated). If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can call the office and ask to be put on the waiting list. As soon as I get a license, we will begin contacting people in the order that they requested an appointment.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about me and my approach, you can follow me on social media, where, as Einstein recommended, we "look deep into nature, to understand everything better."
Check out Dr. Stillman on social media: