On this episode of the podcast, James is joined by two doctors from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) to learn about their upcoming annual conference from June 1-3 in Orlando, FL.

Aly Cohen, MD is an integrative rheumatologist who speaks about the importance of environmental medicine and why autoimmunity needs to be understood by providers across medical specialties.

Dan Lukaczer, ND is the Director of Medical Education at IFM. He was previously Director of Clinical Research at the Metagenics Functional Medicine Research Center in Gig Harbor, WA, where he served as the principal investigator on various clinical trials on diet and nutrition.

This event will be the first in-person IFM event since 2019 and will not be limited to any one topic or health issue. Instead, they offer an agenda featuring a wide range of subject matter. Consider registering for the IFM conference to learn more about:

  • Contaminants in drinking water—from artificial turf, fluoride and more
  • Data about environmental chemicals and how they contribute to human health conditions, specifically diseases of the immune system
  • Dietary approaches and lifestyle changes to reduce toxicity
  • Functional medicine approaches to oncology and cancer care
  • Understanding mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS)
  • Innovative treatment options for mental health care
  • Updates on the microbiome, oral microbiome and systemic disease
  • Impacts of intermittent thermal stress on aging and longevity
  • Therapeutic applications of medical cannabis and endocannabinoids
  • Wearable devices and the unlocked potential of remote health monitoring
  • And much more!

IFM Conference Preview: Environmental Toxins and Autoimmunity | Ep. 302

Dr. Aly Cohen: Well, I would say personally, after 20 years of practicing rheumatology, I’m sick of seeing sick patients. And one of the things that’s really intriguing, and I think you’ll hear this from most Western doctors, even though even in 2023 there’s literally no training in environmental health or nutrition of any substance in medical school, which is a disgrace in and of itself.

I think what I’ve noticed as a 20-year rheumatologist is that I’m seeing more and more autoimmune disease. I’m seeing it at younger ages, and I’m seeing it with people who have had no family history. And when you put those things together, you start to really see that this is an environmental-associated epidemic.

And when you see that, you have to start to say, “Well, let’s go upstream,” which is what a lot of, of course, functional and integrative medicine-trained people do.

James Maskell: Welcome to the Evolution of Medicine podcast, the place health professionals come to hear from innovators and agitators leading the charge. We cover the latest clinical breakthroughs in health technology, as well as practical tools to help you transform your practice and the health of your community. This podcast is brought to you by the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center, who provide a range of options to help you deliver successful, effective, functional, and integrative medicine. To find out more and to get started, go to goevomed.com/lmrc. That’s goevomed.com/lmrc.

Hello and welcome to the podcast. This week we are bringing you a conversation around environmental toxins and autoimmunity. We have Dr. Aly Cohen here. She is an integrative rheumatologist from New Jersey and an expert on environmental medicine. And we’re going to be talking about the Institute for Functional Medicine’s annual conference, which is coming up June first through third in Orlando, Florida. We will be there.

We’re excited to have Dr. Dan Lukaczer here as well. He’s the Head of Medical Education for the Institute for Functional Medicine. What you’ll learn on this podcast: We’re going to be talking about the connection between environmental chemicals and an autoimmune disease. What are some of the worst culprits? We’re also going to be talking about Dr. Cohen’s session upcoming at the Institute for Functional Medicine Conference, and some of the other big buckets of content that will be there.

If you come, make sure to come in enough time so that you can come to our pre-event, which is happening on Wednesday. We’ve done the pre-event since 2015 at the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Annual Conference, and this year there may be pickleball. So, I hope you can join us. Hope you can fly in early, and look forward to seeing you all again in person if you can make it. But lots of great content here. Enjoy.

So, a warm welcome to the podcast, Dr. Aly Cohen and Dr. Dan Lukaczer. Welcome guys. Great to have you here.

Dr. Aly Cohen: Thanks for having us.

James Maskell: So, we’re excited today to share a little bit about what’s coming up at IFM’s annual conference, and we thought let’s get into some of the meat of the topic at hand. Because, Aly, the last time that we were hanging out was at the Integrated Health Symposium six years ago, and you had a book on environmental toxins. And you’re an integrative rheumatologist. So, what are you going to be speaking about this year at the conference?

Dr. Aly Cohen: So, six years is a long time, a lot of evolution in my knowledge and what I’ve enjoyed learning about and digging deep. And so, that conference, we were talking a general view. And I had a textbook, pulling in a lot of 26 or 28 different scientists into that book. And everyone had their own topic. Food additives was one chapter by a remarkable researcher. And Dr. Swan had a chapter on phthalates and her experience.

So, a lot of things have moved from that time period. So, I’ve done a deeper dive on environmental health. And really what I’m doing now is connecting my Western training in rheumatology with my integrative medicine training with Dr. Andrew Weil, with my work in environmental health. And how chemicals now affect and have a strong association with the development of autoimmune diseases and immune disorders.

And so, for the conference, I’m really going to be deep diving two talks. One is going to be my integrative rheumatology approaches to autoimmune diseases, diet, lifestyle, but also how chemicals play a role.

Really great hacks for your audience, which are family medicine, internal medicine, and other specialties, because autoimmunity now affects every field. So, I think it’s a really good way for folks to see how they can get to their differential diagnosis from an integrative medicine perspective, but also based in real science and Western rheumatology training.

My other talk is going to be how chemicals themselves connect with autoimmunity. So, I subsetted that piece out to do a deeper dive in those connections. So, that’s what I’m working on, I even have a book I’ll be working on now on that specific area.

James Maskell: Well, let’s dive into that, because ultimately autoimmune is an area where functional medicine is shining. Just last week we did a live functional forum in Denver. Dr. Mote shared an incredible case study of reversing an autoimmune condition using functional medicine principle.

So, share with us a little bit about, I guess maybe the last time we were connecting six years ago, seemed like almost a turning point where large conventional medicine groups, like I remember the OBGYN group acknowledging the role of environmental chemicals in some chronic illness. Why autoimmune disease and what has come up recently, just to share with us, that autoimmune disease is particularly affected by these industrial chemicals.

Dr. Aly Cohen: Well, I would say personally, after 20 years of practicing rheumatology, I’m sick of seeing sick patients. And one of the things that’s really intriguing, and I think you’ll hear this from most Western doctors, even though even in 2023 there’s literally no training in environmental health or nutrition of any substance in medical school, which is a disgrace in and of itself.

I think what I’ve noticed as a 20-year rheumatologist is that I’m seeing more and more autoimmune disease. I’m seeing it at younger ages, and I’m seeing it with people who have had no family history. And when you put those things together, you start to really see that this is an environmental-associated epidemic.

And when you see that, you have to start to say, well, let’s go upstream, which is what a lot of, of course, functional and integrative medicine trained people do. Let’s go to the root of the cause, let’s go upstream to things we can actually reduce in terms of exposures that we now know are associated with those chronic health or acute health conditions.

So, I think the sum of the situation is that I’m at a place now having had such reasonable training in almost three fields, especially rheumatology, where I’m just anxious to share. I’m anxious to share this information so we can all be armed no matter what your specialty is.

James Maskell: Let me ask you this, if you went and tried to share what you are about to share at the IFM at the rheumatology convention, what would happen?

Dr. Aly Cohen: Well, I’d need a drink, and I need to be able to just get ready to go and be powerhoused. My Irish gets up, I really want people to learn, but from a scientific evidence-based perspective. Don’t let my emotions cloud the picture. My emotions are really tied to the science.

And so, I’m looking forward to the meeting, because I really feel we’re at this precipice where people have really, it’s clicked. It’s clicked that environment and immunity and the immune system are so intricately linked. It’s not just endocrine disruption, which is what my last two books were about.

It’s really looking not at silos, like endocrine system, immune system, nervous system. It’s really saying we’re a whole being, and let’s attack these issues as a whole and really see where we can make a dent from a clinical perspective.

James Maskell: So, I guess when you look at it, what would you say are some of the worst offenders that you see when you get into either functional testing or doing a deeper history diagnosis? What are some of the big offenders that you see that are driving autoimmune conditions?

Dr. Aly Cohen: Well, it’s interesting. When I was trying to put this talk together in a way that would make sense, I looked at it not just from which chemicals are the offenders, because that list is 95,000 large. I also looked at it from, and I’m presenting in a clinical perspective.

So, let’s start with the disease and move backwards, and say, what are the things that contribute to rheumatoid arthritis? What do we know from the science? We might be able to look at and help prevent the disease or help reduce the flares?

Or maybe if we’re all lucky and things go well with lifestyle, diet, and removal of toxins, we can actually put this disease in remission and make a really strong change in someone’s life.

So, I think the way I’ve set up these talks, or at least I think one of them, at least, I’m coming at it from not just a chemical perspective, but a clinical perspective. And moving in that direction so you can see from both directions.

James Maskell: Where do you think is the right place for this education to live? Would you like to see rheumatologists take on this type of work? Or do you think this has to be further upstream in primary care and family medicine?

Dr. Aly Cohen: Well, look, I think the system is set up where we’re having a problem in Western medicine in general. If you get 15 minutes to see a patient in general, which is where I came from before I opened my practice, you get very little in the way of what do you eat, what do you drink?

But in terms of an environmental health interview, which is incredibly important to human health, an environmental health assessment only takes a few minutes if it’s done well. But you really need to know where are people spending time? What is the air quality of what they’re breathing? What is their water quality like? Water has become one of the biggest talks I give, because water is just so remarkably important to understand in terms of well water or tap water. What are the laws regulating or not regulating? What are the changes to our… And what can we do about it in terms of which filtration is best to reduce those exposures?

So, I just really think that primary care is a great place to start, no doubt. But what about med school? What about high school? I teach in high school. Why aren’t we teaching people even younger than the medical establishment where we can’t always make a dent? So, I think all of the above, James, and I’m hoping this conversation will really start that conversation amongst younger people as well.

James Maskell: I really appreciate you taking it to the people, because ultimately there’s a moment when someone gets diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, which they weren’t expecting, where you have an educational moment. But the work is done in the home, in the life, in the actual environment of the patient.

What have you found from your clinical practice, and now having this environmental focus practice? What are some of the ways that you can empower people to actually go on their own learning journey about their environment at their home and identify these kind of things upstream?

Because as long as we’re expecting that doctors and functional medicine providers of all varieties will be the solution here, the problem is so much bigger than the army that we have.

Dr. Aly Cohen: Well, my frustration was born into a book, and I will tell you the book because it’s a guidebook, and the guidebook is called non-toxic guide to living healthy in a chemical world. And the reason I say this is because, I don’t get money from this at Oxford University Press, but I will tell you this. It is the best comprehensive way to look upstream that I have been able to put together.

But it talks about the why. We all need to know the why before we can save the what to do. If you don’t teach people why it actually matters and how it affects their personal lives and their day-to-day activity, they’re not going to make the changes that are so difficult to make in order to prevent the diseases that may come later in life. Also in utero exposures, we now know that’s a major issue.

Of course, functional medicine and integrative medicine teaches this, that’s a very vulnerable period of human development. And there are other vulnerable periods of development that involve the endocrine system, hormone changes, and immune system disruption.

So, I guess what I’m looking for people is if you’re interested in any of these topics, even individual topics like water, like food quality, like textiles and materials, cleaning products, there are plenty of avenues and resources where that information can be found, but it has to be evidence-based.

And I really rely on the science and the researchers that I work with to really give that science without marketing connections or products or endorsements.

James Maskell: Yeah, that’s really interesting. Well, you mentioned water. Just actually a couple of weeks ago, I think there was quite a big paper that came out on fluoride and the effects of that. Is that something that you will get into?

Dr. Aly Cohen: Yeah, I just posted on that three days ago on my feed, the Smart Human. I have really tried to, I say this, out of all the horrible topics that I’ve uncovered and researched and written about, the one that rises to the top, pun intended, is drinking water.

And I think there’s so much to look at. Fluoride is certainly one of them, and I posted on that. And essentially talking about what are the risks of fluoride, why we haven’t given it up in the United States, and how to just do it better along with other countries that are certainly moving to remove fluoride and what that means to human health.

But there are other topics, the PFOS chemicals, the perfluoroalkyls that connect to our environment. Our environment connects right back into our body and our body connects right back into the environment. It’s a loop.

But there’s other things in terms of lead contamination that makes the news. Or in Palestine you have of course the polyvinyl chloride and all of the chemicals that leached into the water. I just finished taping my podcast with a researcher, and we talked the whole hour on artificial turf.

And all of the research that’s now going to artificial turf but goes into the water, because where does this material go? Where does the PFOS chemicals that are used in turf go?

So, we have to understand this big picture, and then whittle it down to what do we do about it? What do we do on an individual basis? What do we do on a human health basis? What do we do on an environmental citizenship basis? And I think that’s what I want to share at the meetings, is not so much of the Debbie Downer kind of, “Ugh, what are we going to do?” But what do we do about this on an individual, even a public health measure?

James Maskell: Absolutely.

Well, I think you’ve done an amazing job of raising awareness of it. I guess the last question I wanted to ask you is what is it about autoimmunity particularly that is driven from environmental chemicals as opposed to hormones and other areas?

Dr. Aly Cohen: Ask that question again because I just blanked. Go again.

James Maskell: Okay.

Yeah, what is it about autoimmunity specifically that relates it to environmental toxins? Because obviously it’s having a range of effects on a range of people.

Dr. Aly Cohen: So, we have immunity which is protecting ourselves from the world around us, like infection or exposure to chemicals. But then we have what happens to the body when it’s tipped off to attack itself.

And I think that has a lot to do with what the body recognizes in very simplistic form, in terms of what it recognizes as foreign versus what it recognizes within its own body. And what are really mimickers of our own body’s proteins and cells that set the body to be a masking or a very sleuth way of the immune system getting tipped off into bad processes.

So, the idea is that a human body, and I bring in that anthropology a lot into what I do. We’ve evolved for millions of years, and we’ve evolved to recognize foreign bodies. When our environment changes so drastically in just 75 years with 95,000 chemicals getting in, on, and around us, and can be measured in blood, breast milk, and urine among other body fluids. We have to wonder: How is this natural?

And that is really the storyline towards not only hormone disruption but immune system disruption. And so, I’m going to make those connections with very specific chemicals on a very cellular granular level, but I’m also going to give big picture ideas so people can really walk away feeling like they have a plan.

James Maskell: Great. Yeah, that’s certainly needed. And one of the reasons why I was brought to functional medicine almost a decade ago is having been in this world, I saw that certainly these environmental areas can have a big effect on health.

But if you look at say something like lifestyle medicine, they may have a pillar which is risky substances. So, smoking and alcohol and drugs, but drinking water is not a risky substance and so forth. And yet there’s so much that can go into it with your own health.

And maybe Dan, this will be a good time to bring you in. We’ve got Dr. Dan Lukaczer here who’s a leader in medical education at the Institute for Functional Medicine.

How do you see the functional medicine operating system accounting for environmental toxins and incorporating that into your strategy, protocol, or your dive into the patient’s history?

Dr. Dan Lukaczer: Well, that’s a great question, James. I’d just like to pause for a second and just say that Aly is really speaking my language, speaking the language of functional medicine and integrated medicine. Knowing the why, evidence-based, going from the individual to the public health is, just in those few minutes, it’s really looking forward to hearing her speak. Because she’s clearly putting it all together.

But in answer to your question, as you know James, and as I think many of your listeners, maybe some of them don’t, is the functional medicine matrix model. This operating system that you alluding to has one of the clinical imbalances that we focus on that we have advanced practice module all about is environmental health, all along those areas that Aly is talking about.

And then we also know that that particular area, just as Aly had talked about, has significant effects, not only on autoimmunity, which is another area of the functional medicine matrix model, but on, as Aly alluded to, things as diverse as cardiometabolic syndrome and hormonal changes. And certainly has effects on mood and depression and anxiety.

There’s good research to show all of that related. So, it’s a specific area that is part of that functional medicine matrix model. And it also, what’s the word? It diversifies into all of these other clinical imbalances as well.

James Maskell: Absolutely. On this topic, obviously when you’re challenged to put together a whole conference, and I know traditionally Institute for Functional Medicine had a specific topic. 2016, ’17, ’18, I think now I’m excited that it’s really just bringing together the whole functional medicine community and having a range of topics. Given how diverse functional medicine is and that it really can give you a truly holistic approach, how do you go about creating a speaker list and topics within a conference like this?

Dr. Dan Lukaczer: Well, that’s a great question. We have a conference committee that we bring together, if you will, throw a lot of stuff up on the wall. And this group of committee members has a lot of expertise, a lot of places where they have been, if you will, clinically.

And so, we bring all of those together, and then we try to, in just as you said, over the past few years, we’ve expanded the annual conference to not have a particular topic, but now we have a variety of topics as obviously environmental health and autoimmunity as you just heard.

But we have a number of other topics that I think I’m actually really excited about the program, because it’s trite, but I think it does have something for everybody. And it also has breadth and depth of topics that I think will be very enticing. Because they are cutting edge, they’re innovative, and they are by really experts in the field.

So, the short answer to your question is there’s a lot that goes into pulling all sorts of different experts together, and then seeing who’s available and who we can get.

James Maskell: What are some of the buckets of content that you feel are hot this year and will be discussed at the conference?

Dr. Dan Lukaczer: Well, I would say there are a number of buckets. I’d say the first one would be redesigning the best ways to practice medicine. So, for instance, we have Michael Snyder, who’s a PhD from Stanford, really a renowned expert in the field of wearable technology.

So, he’s going to talk about, the title of his presentation is our wearable future. And then he’s going to, as Aly is going to get into a concurrent session, we’re getting down into the practical aspects, as Aly mentioned, of applying our wearable future. And talking about things from CGMs to exercise apps to sleep apps, et cetera, and how those are integrated or how they can be, and they should be integrated into the healthcare field.

Along those same lines, we’re going to talk, we have actually two different presentations on shared medical appointments, which is, as you know, you’re very interested and involved in that shared medical appointments. And how that is really an important way to both economically, and I think the connection with patients, to bring that into the fore. We have Dr. Scarlet Soriano and Dr. Aisha Chilcott, I believe that’s how you say her name.

Then we also have Dr. Adam Pearlman and Melinda Ring, who are two leaders in the integrative medicine field in academic centers. So, another area of how we can bring functional medicine into these conventional academic centers, and they’ll talk about their experiences in that.

So, that’s one area in terms of these buckets that you’re asking about, James. Clearly, I could go on and on, but there is, I think the second area that I’ll just mention briefly is cutting edge research.

We have Bud Brainard who’s going to talk about light and human health, which I think is a fascinating topic about how light and how there are many ways to use light, some of which I think we know and some of which he’ll illuminate us I think a bit in terms of using light to improve health.

There’s obviously Aly, her presentation. We’re going to be talking about the oral microbiome and systemic disease.

We have a wonderful, well-known dentist named Doug Thompson. He’ll be talking about that. And then he’s going to team up with a osteopathic physician, a primary care physician named Ellie Campbell, and how the dental field can integrate, if you will, with primary care.

And as I think we know on this podcast, but the old adage of what goes on in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. Well, that’s not what happens with what goes on in the mouth. And so, I think he’s really going to amplify that. That’s going to be a wonderful topic.

We’re going to be talking about MCAS with Tanya Dempsey, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, which is a continuing to evolve topic. We’re going to be talking about long COVID, and we have I think a wonderful concurrent session with Patrick Hanaway and Kara Parker, two IFM certified practitioners who are going to talk about a protocol that they’ve been putting together.

We’re going to talk about phytocannabinoids with Bonnie Goldman. We’re going to talk about intermittent thermal stress with Dr. Rhonda Patrick. So, those are some of the what I think are cutting edge things.

And then we’re also, I guess another area that we’re going to focus in on is cancer. And from a couple of different standpoints. One is we have Dr. Nalini Chilkov, who has 30 years experience in integrating conventional and integrative cancer care for the primary care clinician.

And I want to emphasize for that primary care clinician, because there’re just not enough oncologists around to be trained and to integrate that. And we really need to bring forward the primary care in that way.

And then we have, I’ll just stop with this last session that we have, Dr. Sheldon Feldman, who is a very well-known breast surgeon who’s working on bringing the state-of-the-art breast cancer care to an underprivileged population in New York City. So, he’s going to be giving a, I think, a wonderful talk on that topic. So, those are a couple of different buckets, I guess.

James Maskell: Beautiful. Well, Aly, I’m sure you’ve been back into a few conferences now since post-COVID. It’s great to be back and seeing other colleagues because a lot of the magic happens in the room.

Dr. Aly Cohen: So, I’m almost tempted to skip my own talks and go to some of these others that Dan was talking about. But I am really excited because it should be a really wonderful event.

Dr. Dan Lukaczer: I just want to highlight that, James, that I was at the IHS Conference, when was that? A couple of months ago. And it was a wonderful experience to be onsite, to connect with people. And we haven’t had an onsite annual conference since 2019. I think it’s just to, again, echo Dr. Cohen. It’s just a wonderful opportunity to connect or reconnect with colleagues of like-minded, there’s the innovative presentations.

There’s I think the inspiration and there’s the practical application, but there’s also, and we actually have made this particular conference, we have some networking sessions, we have practice implementation sessions.

So, we’re doing a lot to keep that space, that both officially networking sessions, but there’s all sorts of other times. We’re at a beautiful location, Rosen Creek, 15 minutes from the Orlando airport. So,it’s just I’m really looking forward to just having those kinds of connections that many of us, including myself, haven’t had enough of. I’m a bit hungry for that.

James Maskell: Yeah, that is a great spot. I know Orlando and the area around it is certainly popping up as a new center for new ideas and medical cities and so forth. So, I’m excited that it’s there. And just to piggyback on a couple people you mentioned, so Ellie Campbell was one of the first organizers of a functional forum meetup group in Atlanta for years she had it.

And I know she’s been on that topic for a while. And one of the things that we’ve seen in these functional forum communities around the country is that when a dentist decides to follow their truth and become aligned in the kind of dentistry that a functional medicine doctor might provide, dentists can really build an incredible business being aligned with functional medicine doctors. Because there’s a huge need of understanding the oral systemic link and not adding more environmental toxins into the body.

And I know the mouth is a significant source there. So, that’s exciting. And then it’s funny you mentioned Rhonda Patrick, because I super randomly was playing pickleball at the same courts as her less than a month ago. And I asked her about that. She said she was coming down, she was really excited to be part of it.

And for those of you who have come to the functional forum, to the IFM annual conference before, you’ll know that we’ve traditionally done a welcome event the night before. So, there may be some pickleball, because I was there at that event. I was there at that hotel last November and I was scoping it out. So, there is pickleball. I would say one thing, if you go for a walk in the morning, I would stay away from the area where they say that alligators might get you. Because there are alligators on premises.

Well, yeah, you have to watch out for that.

Dr. Dan Lukaczer: I will watch out for that. Are you going to tell me where those areas are?

James Maskell: Oh, they’re very clearly marked, Dan. You’ll be fine.

Well look, I’m grateful for both of you coming on here. And Aly, maybe I could just wrap up with you. Is ultimately we’re in a pretty, I don’t know, transformational moment in medicine. We’ve had COVID. We’ve had three years. We’ve had a lot of doctors I think thinking differently about what their tools are, like my ear is on the ground at the health system level.

And I think that there’s a lot of doctors that are recognizing that they have a substandard set of tools for creating health. And I really feel like we’re at a turning point where a lot of these ideas that have been on the fringes are now starting to enter more of a mainstream thinking.

And I guess I’d just love to get your thoughts on how important it is for doctors that are already in the functional medicine community to reach out and bring some of their curious colleagues, and also to really bring the community together for coming up with new ways to spread the good word.

Dr. Aly Cohen: So, that’s a great question/statement. I would say that one of the things here in Princeton, New Jersey that’s been an interesting sociology study is how many people on the east coast, where in New Jersey, there’s not a lot of functional medicine or integrative medicine, how that’s been incorporated into the community?

And I can speak to that, because I’ve always felt that the way you get the buy-in is through doing good medicine. And one of the things that I’ve noticed in Princeton is having done good medicine as both a rheumatologist as well as an integrative medicine practitioner and environmental health doctor, is that the doctors around you are looking at you.

They have shared patients, they’re in the community with you. So, I think having doctors now send patients to me as opposed to just the patients seeking out their own care out of frustration, really attests to the kind of medicine this is moving into.

And I will say that I have a lot of patients that are doctors, and doctors children or doctors family members. And so again, back to that whole concept of epidemic of illness, is we really are starting to see that there’s not so much a line anymore. And that people are seeking out solutions that are really going to be the most helpful to their health and wellness.

So, I think when there is curiosity, and I’ve had people dip their toe in and ask me questions, other colleagues. I think that as long as I’m being honest with them and telling them that you will have to lead by example with quality, evidence-based medicine, that you will have to really stick to some reasonable premises. And to really work through the system in a way that is advertising your understanding of this world, and sharing it with Western medicine in such a classy way that people want to be a part of it.

And so really, as an example, like I said, it’s not saturated here. I really had to share with other colleagues that we can do good medicine and still work with all our conventional Western doctors as well. So, the answer is bring everyone in who’s interested, because it is the right way. It’s the way medicine should be.

It shouldn’t be a fellowship or extra training. It shouldn’t be a lot of money outside of your already expensive bills for medical school. It should be part of what we already learn. Unfortunately, it’s not quite there yet. But it doesn’t mean it’s not moving in that direction. So, I’m very hopeful.

James Maskell: Yeah, absolutely. Well, it’s interesting. I wanted to share one story that’s relevant to you, is that a friend of mine is a top functional medicine doctor in San Antonio, Texas. And he was I think getting a little frustrated that he was on one hand getting so many referrals from other doctors, other colleagues, but on the other hand being like, look, you’re sending me these people. They haven’t even done the basic upgrades in their lifestyle. Like can’t you guys, and when he said you guys, he meant allopathic rheumatologists in the local community.

Can’t you guys do some of that, and at least do something in your office to start the process. Because if I have to start at ground zero, it’s a lot for me. And I’m busting at the seams here because functional medicine really taking off.

And one of the things that we ended up doing with them is to do some of these shared medical appointments that you talked about there, Dan, because I just really think that even if we can’t expect that conventional colleagues would get into some of the deep work that you do in your practice, there’s so many gradations of what can be done to actually create human health.

And I’m excited that the annual conference this year is covering the full gamut of those things, because people have to find their place. The education is important, but it won’t always be that every doctor can actually be a full-time functional medicine doctor doing deep dives with patients. And to change everything, we need everyone.

So, I’m really excited about it. Dr. Lukaczer, Dr. Cohen, thank you so much for coming on and being part of it. I look forward to shaking both of your hands while we’re there and saying hi. And I’m looking forward to some of the camaraderie that comes with the annual conference.

Great to be back in person. If you want to find out more, we’ll have all the details in the links below in the show notes so that you can sign up and join us there.

As I said, we’ll be doing a fun event on the Wednesday before, but it’s Thursday, Friday, Saturday. The first, second, 3rd of June. That’s right.

And we’ll look forward to being with you all in Orlando. In the meantime, thanks so much for joining in. This has been The Evolution of Medicine Podcast. I’ve been here with integrative rheumatologist, Dr. Aly Cohen, and the leader of medical education at the Institute for Functional Medicine, Dr. Dan Lukaczer.

Thanks so much for tuning in, and we’ll see you next time. And we’ll see you in Orlando. Take care.

Thanks for listening to the evolution of medicine podcast. Please share this with colleagues who need to hear it. Thanks so much to our sponsors, the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. This podcast is really possible because of them. Please visit goevomed.com/lmrc to find out more about their clinical tools like the group visit toolkit. That’s goevomed.com/lmrc. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you next time.


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