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September 8, 2012

By Britta Zimmer, ND, Medical Director

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy ProgramIn front of a standing room only crowd, Dr. Kasenchak and I recently presented at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference in Bellevue, Washington. The audience consisting of MDs, NDs, and PhDs were eager to hear about Pacific Quest’s unique management approach to treating common mental health disorders.  The innovative and eye-catching presentation captured the audience’s attention for 90 minutes with graphics and video footage created by Pacific Quest’s own IT expert, Gig Todd.  This presentation demonstrated an integrated model of inpatient wilderness therapy for the management of common mental health disorders. The co-management options provided by Naturopathic Physician, Psychiatrist, and Psychologist were discussed. Useful therapeutic interventions as well as psycho-pharmacological therapy were detailed as they create a comprehensive therapeutic program for our patients.

Within this integrated model, Naturopathic Medical interventions have played a critical role in optimizing mental health outcomes. Dr. Kasenchak discussed the diagnostic criteria for common mental health disorders and the role that psychological testing plays in our program. Pacific Quest’s unique wellness program forms the basis of our integrated approach led by doctorate level professionals.

Pacific Quest “Defragments” Health Care Management: Our Whole Person Approach. During the medical clearance phase of the application process, I discuss the applicant’s medical history with the families. The common scenario is a child who has been evaluated by various specialists; psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, neurologists, gastroenterologists and the list goes on. These adolescents and young adults are often on several different medications providing little relief to their behavioral issues or presenting complaints. There has been no cohesive plan for the patient’s mental and physical health. Their health management has been fragmented, in my opinion this is one of the main obstacles to improvement. Through several levels of care and medical professional management we are able to defragment the patient’s health care and improve their overall outcome here at Pacific Quest and beyond.

This is why Pacific Quest is starting to have a presence at integrated medical conferences such as the AANP. Standing in front of hundreds of my colleagues, presenting this integrative model and showing it in action fills me with pride. As I live this model in my own personal and professional life, I declare with passion that this model works. I am elated to continue building on the care for our Pacific Quest patients while reaching out to as many families as we can to improve their understanding of their child’s overall health issues.

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