Dr. Patricia Restrepo is a Practice Accelerator alumna who joins the podcast to share her experience growing two businesses with the help of the Accelerator program.

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 14 years old, Dr. Restrepo pursued an education and career that allowed her to research natural solutions for weight management and diabetes. She was able to reverse her own diabetes, and now helps patients with similar diagnoses. Both of her businesses, one in Miami and the other in Mexico, help patients manage weight loss and diabetes.

As she explains in this podcast episode, building a successful practice requires knowledge of multiple domains, including understanding your target patient, having solid marketing strategies, utilizing technology systems to streamline day-to-day operations, and understanding how to successfully deliver patient education to maximize clinical results.

Dr. Restrepo used what she learned in the Practice Accelerator program to establish a business model that allows her to allocate time according to her personal lifestyle goals: 20% of her time is spent in clinic with patients (including groups), 40% is spent on remote consultations, and 40% is spent on her own continuing education and developing medical education for her patient community.

Listen to the episode to learn more about:

  • The key elements that allowed her businesses to run efficiently
  • How the Practice Accelerator program helped her build a patient database
  • The importance of recording patient education videos
  • The aspects of the business can best be delegated
  • And much more!

To explore what the Practice Accelerator program has to offer, consider registering for the free 90-Minute Private Practice Sprint at goevomed.com/sprint.

Register Today


Success Leaves Clues: Virtual Practice & Groups | Ep. 298



James Maskell: This broadcast is brought to you by the Evolution of Medicine’s Practice Accelerator. For more than six years, we’ve helped doctors and health professionals build their own low-overhead, high-technology practice, making it efficient and effective at bringing in patients, educating them consistently, getting the right technology stack and building a strong, sustainable practice. If you want to find out more about the Practice Accelerator, go to goevomed.com/accelerator.

Hello, and welcome to a special podcast from the Evolution of Medicine. This is part of our Success Leaves Clues Series, where we speak to practitioners who have built successful practices and have fallen in love with medicine, typically through our Accelerator Program. You can go to goevomed.com/accelerator to find out more about how we can support you in your journey to build the practice of your dreams. This week we are speaking to Dr. Patricia Restrepo. She is a physician, we actually re-met recently at a conference that I spoke to in Mexico, and she shared with me her incredible journey.

You’ll hear on this journey, one, reversed her own type two diabetes. And the story about that is really interesting, especially as what we teach our kids about genetics, and about how disease goes through the generations. The second is her journey to practice in a new way. And then I really encourage everyone to listen to how she started the process of thinking about treating people in groups, and virtual groups, and virtual online communities. Because I think there’s a lot for all of us to learn in there. And also, building that initial digital infrastructure that’s necessary for whatever your practice vision. Super powerful, really interesting time. Grateful to spend with her. I think you’ll get a lot out of it, whatever type of practice you run, and whatever your vision for medicine. So, enjoy.

A warm welcome to the podcast for the first time, Patricia Restrepo. How are you?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Hi, James. Wonderful. I’m happy to be here with you.

James Maskell: It was really great to reconnect. This podcast came about because I had the opportunity to lecture in Mexico, in Monterrey, Mexico back in November. And while I was there, there was one name that stood out to me. And I was like, I’ve heard that name before. I’m sure we’ve connected. And Patricia and I connected there. And I found out you’ve been a follower of the Evolution of Medicine, and member of the Practice Accelerator. And had an amazing story of the direction that your life has gone since then. I’m really grateful to have you to share, as part of this series called Success Leaves Clues, which has been an ongoing series from the Evolution of Medicine, to try and share best practices and learnings from one practitioner to another.

I guess before we get into all of that, obviously it was the second annual lifestyle medicine conference in Monterrey. Good energy, outside, which was cool to sit in the grass and take your shoes off and listen to lectures. But as someone who, maybe you could share your own opinion about what the conference was like, and what it means for this kind of care in Latin America?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Wow. Yes, absolutely. I think it’s a conference of one of its kind for Latin America. And as we were saying, even though I think that Latin Americans by history, and because of our upbringings, we’re much more open to natural ways of medicine. This is the first structured organization that brings like-minded professionals together. And yes, we saw things like all the lectures outside on the grass, with natural air, no recirculation of air, no closed doors, no bricks. It was really in nature, which I think it goes right up the alley of talking about real health, and building our own health. It was wonderful to be with like-minded professionals, see an organization like this come to Latin America, and get people together and get more of this movement nowadays and age.

James Maskell: Beautiful. Well, why don’t we just start with how you ended up on this path? And before you came across Evolution of Medicine, what were you doing, and where was your path taking you at that point, and how you got interested in this world of health-focused care?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Well, I got interested in this world of health-focused care because of my own personal history, as it happens to many of us. I used to be diabetic. And my first degree was in chemistry, organic chemistry. And because of my faith in the human body, I decided to study medicine, because I thought it was going to be the solution to my diabetes. Which I was told back then when I was diagnosed as a teenager, that there was nothing I could do, I had to wait to be insulin-dependent as my grandparents were. There was just this thing inside of me that kept thinking the body has to be wiser than that. There has to be something more. I went in and studied medicine at University of Connecticut, and I loved it. But there was always this huge conflict from us organic chemistry frame of mind, and from a human being frame of mind, that there has to be more to this than just wait to be insulin dependent.

After finishing up, I decided to take a sabbatical and go do ancient medicines, which was a wacko kind of idea. They told me it was quackery, I was going nuts. I was going to let something like that happen to my life? And initially I really thought it was something wacko, because it was thinking from a completely different frame of mind, thinking about how the body’s wise and not how we need to do things for the body. But ever since then, after letting new information in, about six months into it, I was able to reverse my diabetes completely, no longer be waiting for me to become insulin dependent. And I could not believe it. And it really brought me back to medicine. It really brought me back to going further into going further into bioregulatory medicine. And I’ve been in a whole path for 20-something years. So that’s how I started in this kind of field, of really believing in the body. And then I was in a–

James Maskell: Can we just take a minute to step back? Because what you just shared is regular fare on this podcast, but there may be doctors who are listening being like, “Hang on a minute.” You were diagnosed, I guess with what, juvenile type one diabetes, right?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Actually, it was type 2 as a 14-year-old. My four grandparents were diabetic, my two grandmothers were insulin-independent, and diabetes was just part of my everyday life in my family. And we’re talking in the eighties, so it was genes are your destiny kind of ambience. So, I was told it was a familiar type of condition and that I just had to wait for me to be insulin dependent.

James Maskell: To what degree do you feel like your 14-year-old self manifested diabetes, because of what you were told by your parents was bound to happen?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Oh my God. I think to a high degree, high degree. But what I was told, what I constantly saw, what was considered quote unquote, “normal” in my family, so I was just predisposing myself. And also because of learned behaviors. Back in that state of age it was, both of my grandmothers were insulin-dependent. They were eating the sweet, measuring their glucose, injecting insulin several times a day, so it was the norm for me. So of course I was just living a self-fulfilling prophecy by what I was told, what I was observing, what I was breathing in my house.

James Maskell: Wow, that’s really, really interesting. Yeah. Well, it’s amazing how you have to be introduced to a different story about what’s possible in order to shift that dynamic. And for many people, that’s their first functional medicine training. For some people, it’s a book, or a website, or a podcast or otherwise, to give you a broader range of hey, there’s more possible than this. And obviously a lot of people, and I think women especially, are more willing to listen to their intuition about the body’s wisdom, and to go further down that path. Because ultimately there is something that happened inside of you, where there was this part of you as a human being that was like, this can’t be all of it. This can’t be the limit of our function. This can’t be the limit of our ability. So just quickly, what was the process to reverse your type two diabetes, and what process did you go through to get there? And then we’ll move on, but I don’t want to leave this alone before we get into the details.

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Yes. Looking back and in hindsight, it was really about decreasing my toxic load, and feeding the gut microbiome, putting it in today’s world’s words. It was a lot about really respecting the human aspect of my body, going back to real, unprocessed foods, not counting calories. And it was actually breaking all the rules of the American Diabetic Association really, which I was told to follow since I was 14 years old. It was dropping all those, not eating artificial sweeteners, not counting calories, not going with the industrial box, everything measured type of foods. It was going back to respecting the human aspect, the primitive aspect of the human body, which comes down to decreasing toxic load. So no fake ingredients, no artificial colorings, flavorings, la, la, la.

And feeding the gut microbiome really, because it was about lots of variety, and it was about using really nature’s intelligence of food. There’s a reason why we have dill in January or jicama in January, or citrus in the winter. There’s a reason to nature, there’s cycles to nature, which we anciently used to respect them and abide by them. Nature was our mentor, nature was our medicine. Nowadays, we eat citrus all year round, we eat strawberries all year round, we eat apples all year round, that’s not natural. So it’s really about respecting nature’s cycles, human cycles, gut microbiome, decreasing toxic load.

And it was like a miracle. My hemoglobin A1c came down from the six point up high, to the low fives. Within six months, with no medication, my insulin came down from 18 to four. With no medication, I didn’t have any side effects. All the side effects were great. I couldn’t believe it, as a traditional trained doctor, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in my body. But after having a firsthand experience, you can’t go back. You cannot pretend that doesn’t exist. It was just too much to see, and having the proof right in front of you and inside of you, to be able to neglect it.

James Maskell: Beautiful, I totally resonate with that. I’ve heard that a thousand or more times, thousands of times in the last 10 years or 15 years since I’ve been at it. You can’t go back, you know that this is your future, you know you have to find a way to do it. And that’s really why we started the Evolution of Medicine, is I would go to these conferences, and I would meet doctors who had had the same realization that you’d had, but had a job that they didn’t get to do that. And it was really frustrating, and it was like, surely there must be a way to help more of these doctors that have seen the light be able to do it every day. Do you want to just talk a little bit about your journey to tread a new path, and where it started, and how you found out about what we were up to?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Yeah, I became really curious about learning more and more, and looking for like-minded individuals. And somehow I came across your program, James, and it really caught my attention, the aspect of community. It was a community aspect to it, and it was the evolution of helping doctors evolve in our path. So I always have this curious aspect of I want to learn more, so I joined your program. It was several years ago, I think we calculated when it was, but I think it was the first one. The first group.

James Maskell: Yeah. 2016, right?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Right, 2016. So I joined it, and every week I was in the class, we were doing the different options of how we can practice this kind of healthcare. And I started right away with doing group stuff. Which made so much sense to me, because there’s an aspect of humanity, going back to being a human being, that we need other human beings. And the fact for me, when I was a diabetic and I was able to reverse it, one other key factor that really helped me, that wasn’t something that I did but it happened, was seeing that other people believed that the body was made to heal itself. Just being around other people that believed that, really helped me. And in your program, that was something that really came clear to me, that having that community aspect, that group aspect had its own curative healing effect. That we cannot quantify it really, I couldn’t specify that that was an aspect, but it just felt human.
So, I started doing the groups right away. First in the Miami offices, I started holding these tune-up groups where we called it a tune-up, which was doing a specific program with the healing properties of food. Food has nature in itself, it has nature’s wisdom, it has the chemistry of nature. I’ve always believed in the healing properties of food. In the Miami offices, we started holding these groups, which were called the tune-ups. So going through a specific eating pattern through a week, using the healing properties of food to heal. And I saw the group aspect of it, while I was doing the program, because it was one of the things that was proposed to do, and it was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. So amazing, that I decided to start doing a retreat.

We traveled to Mexico to a very nice spa hotel, where I came with a group of women who did the programs, and we started holding one week retreats back then. And it was great, seeing that group experience. Seeing people share their own experiences and their own challenges has an unquantifiable power in us. Ever since then, I’ve continued doing the groups. I opened up a company in Mexico which actually uses food as medicine. We have the programs that are done in a group modality, and we have the programs in Mexico, we have the programs in Miami, and we have the retreats as well. It was really a game changer for me, to see just the possibility of how much more accomplishments in people’s lives we could have, bringing this component of community and group.

James Maskell: Beautiful. I guess, obviously the purpose of the Practice Accelerator is to really help you build a digital infrastructure for whatever your vision is. And so, your vision is to do groups, and do retreats and see patients in Miami. We’ve had all kinds of other types of visions come through, where some people want to work a few hours a week, some people want to build the beginning of their empire. Some people want to have multiple clinics, or we’ve even had going through to a franchise type of deal. Take us through, I guess, the initial building blocks of the digital ecosystem that you started to create.

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Okay. I started doing the infrastructure for getting emails. Before, it was random. I did not have that organization of email lists back then. Creating the communities, the online communities. We first started with the mailing system, and then we started generating these groups, these communities online to help guide the people through the processes that they wanted to be guided on. Whether it was accomplishing better digestive health, or accomplishing better insulin sensitivity, or accomplishing things with their kids. We have a community for mothers for their kids. We have a community for people who want to reverse diabetes. We have a community for people who just want to build overall health and wellbeing.

We first developed the mailing list, and then after having a substantial mailing list, we put on the community. And the community now, I have the offices in Miami and I have the offices in Mexico. And they’re a little bit different, because Miami’s more into the education and the one-on-one consulting. And the Mexico is more on the programs run through the chemistry of food, and the nature, the power of healing of the food, and the community. So in both we have a digital community that is operated on a daily basis, and that really brings back a lot of the power of educating. It’s an ongoing education process to both of the programs, and it brings up a lot more fidelity from the people themselves.

James Maskell: That’s great. What were some of the things that maybe you came across, that were challenging? I guess, obviously you had a clear vision of what you wanted to create, but were there, were there steps along the way where…because you’re also stepping into new ideas, group visits in my mind are also…group visits are new now. In 2016, this was very much bleeding edge, especially doing it virtually. What were some of the challenges along the way, and how did you solve some of those challenges?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Oh my God, James, there were so many challenges to think about. You just brought something back to the taste of my mouth, of when I was talking about a group visit of several people who were insulin resistant, who were heading right into the metformin, possible insulin type of path. Tell them to come in together, they’re like, “What? I’m going to share my history with somebody else. Of course not.” That was a big challenge to overcome, but I realized that the challenge was mine. It wasn’t them, it was me, the one that was putting the obstacles. Because I was educated in a way to see one-on-one. When we go to medical school, we go through all the internships, we go through the whole process of training, where it’s a one-on-one type of scenario. So in my mind, that was all I could do. That’s how I started practicing in Miami, on a one-on-one.

Doing this switch of inviting people to having a group visit, the only way to overcome those challenges that I was getting from my people of, “How am I going to share my history with somebody else, but I’m not exactly like them?” Was I had to overcome it first in my head. That’s where you came in and really made it possible. Because I don’t think I could have done it, just the mental aspect, my own limitations, by myself. Just you telling me, and you sharing with me what was possible in group visits and how we could do them, it just opened up that opportunity. And I was able to enroll people to do it. Because it was really my limitation. And of course, I think it’s the system limitation where we’re taught that medical care is a one-on-one, 15-minute appointment in a closed door environment. That was a limitation that really helped me, because I was just not trained. That was not an option in my mind.

James Maskell: As I’m sitting here listening to you, and I wasn’t sure what was going to come up in this call, I guess what I feel like I hear you saying is that there was this reminder of your own humanity, through these other classes that you took, and going to learn about ancient wisdom, that helped you think differently about the wisdom of the body, and that changed your clinical perspective about how to treat the body. And I think this shift from individual to group is just an extension of that same feeling. It’s sort of radical departure in operationalization of care.

What you’re talking about is also a radical departure of clinical care. But I think that is actually a little bit more obvious, in a certain way. Once you’ve seen the light, once you’ve reversed a few people’s type two diabetes with a lifestyle approach, you’re never going to just go all in to metformin again. Whereas it takes a little bit more to really continue that thread to say, well, am I giving this person the best chance of making those changes if we only ever have this relationship one-on-one? Or is there something really powerful for them to see other people, and in the same way that I empowered you a little bit to see that it was possible, you empower them a little bit to see that it’s possible. And in fact, they actually empower each other.

And that’s really the benefit of it, is that one person empowering another person to see that it’s possible, that is the force that we need to unleash. And that’s here, what I see myself in service of, is how do you do that? And one obvious easy way to do it is in group delivered medicine, and that’s why we’re here doing it. But ultimately, I guess the thing that I’m in service of is one person awakening another to their own majesty, divinity and health. It just so happens that health is the place that we’ve chosen first to unlock it.

And I’m really glad that you are sharing this, because ultimately there is a lot of quote unquote, education, that goes into having people who have the heart to heal, to not see the possibilities of that peer-to-peer side of health, which is so clear. And if you look at people like Jeff Geller, they’ve almost had to let go of what they learned, in order to really look at the humans in front of them and say, what do these people need? What are the commonalities from the people who are thriving? And then how do I help more people to thrive? And almost to forget about what you were told, because that wasn’t really education on how to make people thrive. It was education on how to make symptoms go away.

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Exactly, which are completely different objectives. I came to learn, to discover that it’s one thing not to feel a symptom, and it’s a completely thing to build health, an amazing body. They’re not necessarily the same path. And you’re right, I think it’s recognizing that part of humanity. And humans can heal in a human environment, we can thrive in a human environment. Not in a cold, all white, bright lights, scary environment. And I was brought up, and I was educated in an environment where health was scary, health was cold, health was isolated, and that doesn’t make sense to me now. And this power of community, the power of being in a group, being with other people, seeing the humans in us opens up those healing mechanisms.

James Maskell: Yeah, beautiful. Let me ask you this. Building an email list, making videos, finding digital platforms that could facilitate community, in the moment, how much of a departure was that from what you expected to be doing as a doctor? And now that you reflect, what did that allow you to create?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Oh, I cannot tell…it was very challenging at first, James. Because as a doctor or as a chemist, we’re not taught about emails, we’re not taught about communication. We never even thought it was important, or I didn’t think it was important. Just communicating through email was a completely different scenario, which I had no training on, so it came in very handy. The possibility of doing videos for me was, I’m not a communicator, I’m not a TV person, I’m not a personality. What video am I going to do? And there were several things very useful in the program, where when you say one thing… I don’t remember how exactly it went, but you said it to us that if you find yourself repeating the same thing in one appointment and another, that’s the time when you need to do a video.

And I just remember that, and I remembered myself in the appointments going through the same… I’m like, oh my God, here I have to do a video. So at the beginning, it was very difficult to bring myself in front of a camera, just because I wasn’t used to it. I’ve never done it before. But just breaking that, taking that first step and having your voice say, if you find yourself repeating it one and another, and another, that’s a video to be made. I remember that very clearly. And just the technicalities, I found help. Because I’m not spending the whole time in the computer, but somebody can help you create that email list. Somebody can help you do the digital work, but you have to do the videos. And actually it was true, it saves you so much more time, and it really helps you get the point across. Which what you really want is to educate people. So now years afterwards, it makes sense. It’s much easier. At the beginning, it was definitely a challenge.

James Maskell: Yeah. And you’ve built the infrastructure so that everyone who’s coming in doesn’t have to deal with who you are today, it’s all that whole body of everything that you’ve built up. I guess, maybe just describe now what does your life, what does your practice, what does your world look like now? Because my feeling is when we discussed, is that what you have now, I bet the 300,000 health professionals that quit American medicine during the pandemic, I think you are living their dream.

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Probably. And you know what? And I think about it, I have a life that I would have dreamt before probably any day. And how is my life nowadays? My life nowadays is probably about 80% of the time, I’m not at the office. 20% of the time, I’m physically at the office seeing people, having groups, having meetings, having group classes, which I love. I love that community aspect.

And then the other time of that other 80%, about 40% of the time I’m back in academics. I love learning and teaching, so I’m doing that. And part of the teaching is to the community. So I’m videoing, I’m learning, I’m doing interviews. And then the other 40% of the time I’m doing online consults. So, we’re doing online workshops or we’re doing online appointments, and I could be anywhere most of that time. And I have two kids who are growing up, so I love having that freedom for me, that their education is key. We’re taking a different approach in their education, which we’re discussing as well. It’s been wonderful, and it works. It allows me to do what I love, and it allows me to have that freedom.

James Maskell: Beautiful. Well look, I really want to appreciate for stepping into the unknown all of those years ago, for trusting me, and trusting this organization to help you. There is literally nothing that is more satisfying than meeting people who have come to interact with the Evolution of Medicine, who have made a dramatic shift in the way they practice. And on the other side of it, are in love with what they do. That was the promise of the book, which is join the movement to reverse chronic illness, and fall back in love with medicine. And I really just want to salute you for the journey that you’ve taken. And I hope that in the same way that what we’re trying to do even with this podcast, is to have someone out there who’s listening to it give themselves permission to dive in to do this.

And we do have the Practice Accelerator. We are revamping for 2023 with all new content, new workbook, and you’ll be hearing more about that as we go along. We’re actually also going to be bringing out the Evolution of Medicine book again in 2023, to make it easy for doctors to at least see the path that’s in front of them. And yeah, I’m just super grateful for you to lead, because ultimately I hope that many others will be able to follow in your footsteps. And particularly many others in the Latin American world, where for all you can say about America, we are further ahead in the delivery of lifestyle-focused care than almost anywhere else in the world. But that’s maybe almost out of a necessity, because we’ve had the sickest people for this long. But yeah, if you go to other countries, you see that where they may have a healthier culture, the progression of medicine towards practicing a lifestyle-focused, root cause approach is way behind. And so, we have to lead for the rest of humanity that’s going to catch up with our chronic illness sooner rather than later.

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Absolutely. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity. And thank you, James, for all your work. I think it’s really a great contribution to all of us and for the more to humanity. So love to be here, and thank you for everything.

James Maskell: Thank you. Well, where can people find out more about your work? What’s your website?

Dr. Patricia Restrepo: Okay, so you can go to my website, it’s patriciarestrepo.com, which is going to be written down. And then the Miami offices is beboon.net. And the Mexico program is Keat with a K, dot mx.

James Maskell: Great. Well, we’ll put all that stuff in the show notes. Thank you so much for being part of it. Really look forward to what’s next together. I’m excited about what’s happening in Mexico and Latin America, and I do intend to spend more time there. Thank you so much for being part of the Evolution of Medicine Podcast. As a reminder, go to goevomed.com/accelerator. This month, the Accelerator’s only open two months a year. We have it open a bit in February and in September. And so we’ve got a new workbook, we’ve got a whole new accountability system, and we’re excited to welcome you to it. So this has been the Evolution of Medicine podcast. We’ve been talking about the Practice Accelerator, this is part of our Success Leaves Clues Series with doctors and practitioners that have been through the program, and have built a life and a practice they love. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

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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