In this episode of Turnpaugh Talks, Dr. Turnpaugh sits down with one of the family nurse practitioners at THWC, Amy Montgomery. Amy grew up locally in Mechanicsburg on a horse farm. She always thought she would be a professional horseback rider throughout her childhood. Upon giving it a try, she realized that’s not what she wanted to do and decided to go back to school to obtain her BSN from West Chester. While there, she saw herself practicing medicine with an integrative approach, however, she couldn’t find anything like that in the Harrisburg area. She worked in a hospital setting upon graduation. After 14 years, she went back to school to be a family nurse practitioner where she graduated number one in her class. During that time, she also completed the modules at the Institute for Functional Medicine and found out about Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center. She shadowed at the practice and was sold.
A lot of the patients Amy sees at THWC are very complex, but with her role as a PCP, she also sees patients who are healthy just for a checkup. The tests she runs on patients at THWC are very in depth allowing her to really find the root cause of peoples’ health concerns and to catch anything that may later lead to health issues to fix the problem before it even becomes one. As a primary care provider, it is important to know both which medications and which supplements a patient is taking to know if everything interacts well. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a patient to be afraid to tell their PCP about the supplements they are taking because their allopathic doctor may not believe in wholistic medicine. That is why the addition of family nurse practitioners, like Amy, has been so important to Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center. They are primary care physicians who fully understand both sides of the equation. Amy believes that often the ability to get off a medication depends on someone’s willingness to make lifestyle changes. She always tries the lifestyle approach first and then puts patients on medication if she feels they still need it. Amy makes recommendations but will ultimately let the patient decide what kind of healthcare they want. Typical first visits with Amy can be anywhere from ½ an hour to over an hour, depending on the complexity of the patient’s case. She loves that THWC has an intake form for all new patients to fill out with a full health history, from birth to the time of their appointment. This allows her to have an even fuller understanding of her patients’ overall health. Amy sends the message to her patients that she supports them no matter what, she wants them to share both physical and emotional components of their health with her.
Amy sees a lot of patients for chronic Lyme Disease as well. Amy is passionate about learning more about Lyme in order to give these patients the best possible care. She is also really interested in researching, talking about, and learning more about the gut. At the THWC spring summit April 25th-26th, Amy will be discussing the gut microbiota. The gut affects so much more than people think it does and is also is affected by so much more than people think, from the way you were born to your diet and where you live. Amy believes eating foods rich in probiotics is the best way to colonize your gut. She also encourages her patients to eat an anti-inflammatory diet such as the AIP diet. Because she is so passionate about helping her patients, she decided to go on this diet herself and practice what she preaches. She found that she was feeling so much better, eliminating shoulder pain that she has had for years and improving her mood, despite the fact that she didn’t even realize she wasn’t feeling her best in the first place. No matter what Amy’s goal is, she is determined to go above and beyond to accomplish it.