TMC Maternal Health Questionnaire
This is part of our series, "Meet the Experts". In this series of posts, we interview a wide variety of men and women involved in every aspect of the field of maternal health. Today, we welcome Patty Powers, MD, an endocrinologist in our local area.
1. Introduce yourself! Who are you, and what do you do in the field of maternal health?
I am Patty Powers, MD. I trained as a pediatric endocrinologist but have expanded my practice to include both children and adults with hormone problems: thyroid disorders (including Hashimoto’s and Graves diseases), blood sugar issues (including both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes), weight gain, adrenal fatigue, menstrual cycle problems, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
My goal is to optimize the health of parents to promote healthy pregnancies and healthy children who will not need endocrinologists in their future!
I use lifestyle medicine, including nutrition, stress management, reduction of toxin exposure, along with lab testing, targeted supplement regimens, prescription medication (when necessary) to develop a treatment protocol specific for the individual patient.
2. How would you describe your personal experience with motherhood (whether you’re a mother or not!)?
I don’t have kids myself, but I have worked with children and their parents all of my professional life.
3. How did you get involved in your current field?
I decided as a teenager to pursue a career in medicine. I had an ROTC scholarship in college, and then attended the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences for medical school. Pediatric and pediatric endocrinology training were also through the military, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Endocrinology was always a mystery to me through most of my training until the department hired a new staff person, Dr Lee Poth. She made endocrinology fascinating for me. As is so often the case, we often follow our mentors and I decided to become a pediatric endocrinologist, just like Lee.
In 2011, I took a course to learn more about bioidentical hormones (something not addressed in traditional endocrinology training) and was blown away to hear the impact of diet on autoimmunity. That course was just the first of many, trying to fill in the gaps in my education, to integrate the best of traditional medicine with the many new concepts that are emerging every month, and bring these to my patients.
4. Why did you choose to work in your field?
Endocrinology never gets old! There is always something new to learn, some new approach to a problem. Optimal hormone function is foundational for optimal health. The tools I have now allow a deeper look into the underlying causes of health issues and I greatly enjoy this detective work.
Partnering with patients who want to take an active role in their health care is much more professionally satisfying than just passing out prescriptions.
5. In the vast field of maternal health, which area are you most passionate about, personally?
Healthy moms and dads tend to have healthy babies. Current predictions forecast a generation of young people who will not live as long as their parents and grandparents. I want to turn this around!
Specific areas of interest include endocrine-disrupting chemicals, probiotics and GI health, autoimmunity, nutrition.
6. What do you see as an area of maternal health that needs more awareness, support and/or education?
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and their impact on us and our children! Pesticides, parabens, phthalates are everywhere, in our homes, on our food, in our personal care products. Most are unaware that the fragrances we love are also contributing to weight gain, thyroid problems and reproductive hormone abnormalities.
7. If there were only one thing that you could share with the women we work with, what would it be?
The best source for information on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) is the Environmental Working Group, http://www.ewg.org/
This website has excellent information on the most cost-effective organic foods, food additives, healthy cleaning products, a database for personal care products, and current research on EDC’s.
8. If a woman that we serve has additional questions or would like more information, how could they go about contacting you?
People can schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation through a link on my website, www.drpattypowers.com or can also email me through the website. Anyone can also call me at my office in Lynchburg at 434-947-3944. My office hours are on Mondays and Thursdays.
My Face Book page is Patty Powers MD.