Personal Insights: Q&A with Dr. Julie Gorman

Personal Insights: Q&A with Dr. Julie Gorman


Dr. Julie Gorman is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Revolution Health Medical Center (formerly known as Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Center). Since starting the medical practice in 2001, she has been honored as a Phoenix Magazine Top Doctor (2013 and 2015) and nationally recognized as a fellow of the American Board of Oriental and Reproductive Medicine for her training and skill in holistic infertility care. Dr. Gorman is the former insurance committee chairperson of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association, and continues to work diligently to expand coverage of naturopathic medicine through conventional healthcare plans.

Overview of Dr. Julie Gorman

Question: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Dr. Gorman: As a child, I always wanted to become a writer or a doctor, and now I’ve found myself doing both. My first career was in journalism and advertising. My interest in naturopathic medicine developed from becoming ill and not being satisfied with the care I received through the conventional healthcare system. I found myself researching naturopathic medicine to improve my own health and through that research I discovered that a career in naturopathic medicine existed. I decided, "I have to do that!"

How does a journalist find herself opening a private practice in naturopathic primary care?

At the time, I was in my 20’s, working for a major advertising agency and I just decided that it was not going to be my path in life. So I basically took time off, went on a retreat, came back, and gave notice. Four weeks later I was doing prerequisites to get ready for naturopathic school.

Now I've been in practice for 15 years, but back in the day there really were not a lot of job opportunities. I really didn't go look for a job in the traditional sense, and there was no job board to look at. The idea back then was when you graduated you would just open up your own practice, so that is what I did.

Has this situation improved for current naturopathic school graduates?

Oh, it's much better now. For starters, the profession has greatly expanded. 15 years ago most people didn't know what a naturopathic doctor was. Now there are many more licensed doctors, and that exposure and familiarity helps validate the profession as a whole. Additionally, the growing recognition of integrative medicine has helped our profession become more involved in all health care systems, thus more job opportunities have been created that simply didn't exist 15 years ago.

What issues still exist as barriers to accessing integrative primary care?

Even though we are licensed primary care doctors in this state, we still do not fit into the conventional system. Insurance companies are not always sure what to do with our profession and frequently categorizes us as specialists. That often results in confusion for patients and higher co-payments; both are unnecessary barriers to access.

What sparked your involvement in Arizona’s state legislative efforts?

I am very passionate about making care accessible and more affordable for more people. It is important for our profession to take an active role and fully participate in the broader healthcare system. Especially now that healthcare reform mandates insurance coverage, that coverage should provide more comprehensive alternatives for preventive care, overall good health, and long-term well-being.

What is your biggest challenge while navigating insurance companies and legislation?

The biggest difficulty is still a lack of awareness and understanding of naturopathic medicine among insurance companies and politicians. We need to educate them on how the profession can effectively sit within the current framework and that we can provide an affordable, comprehensive approach to health care. There is a misconception that naturopathic medicine is prohibitively expensive. For example, the previous Arizona governor voted us out of the state’s current framework, stating that naturopathic medicine was too expensive. She was pro-naturopathic care, but said the state could not take on the perceived expenses. Our challenge is to reframe perceptions by showing that we can provide affordable primary care, that naturopathic doctors can help fill in the gap created by the lack of physicians, and can help reduce overall healthcare costs by focusing on prevention.

What is your clinic's mission? What are you trying to do with your clinic?

Our practice is set up as a primary care clinic, so for the majority of our patients, we function as their primary care doctors. Our difference is that we are able to offer integrative medicine and incorporate the nutrition and lifestyle education that are the foundation of our medical practice, as well as Acupuncture, medical massage, herbal remedies, and supplements. In terms of our mission, our goal is to educate patients and empower them to make informed health decisions, utilize good self-care, and optimize their well-being. So much of our health is based on the choices that we make every day. If we do our job well by educating patients to make healthy lifestyle choices, then they shouldn't really need to come in to visit the doctor as often to enjoy good health and quality of life.

What makes integrative medicine unique?

The key of integrative medicine is that it goes far beyond the conventional system, where doctors are tied to drastically shorter visit times. That is their model. Their recommendations might be similar, “Well, you really need to improve your diet and exercise," but they run out of time to explain HOW to do it. As naturopaths, we are able to take that time and walk patients through the process step-by-step. We are their health coaches. We are educators and we actively participate in their learning process. By incorporating multiple disciplines and utilizing an integrative approach, we are able to provide a comprehensive plan for patients and fully support them along the way.

Try Dr. Gorman's Famous Spicy Thai Zucchini Noodles Recipe.

Personal Insights is a series of profiles on the people and institutions leading the movement forward, breaking down the barriers between integrative care and everyone who needs it. Integrative Therapeutics is committed to supporting these initiatives, because we believe everyone deserves options to choose their ideal path to health and happiness.

All opinions expressed are those of our subjects.


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