The Art Inventory

Bastyr Offers Up Well-Child Visits To Keep Children Well

by Kirby Lindsay, posted 8 August 2011


A health baseline, established through a well-child visit, can help greatly when addressing acute health concerns. Photo by Marisol Munguia

Through the month of August, the Bastyr Center for Natural Health will charge only $20 per child for a well-child visit with their licensed, supervising practitioner and a team of advanced student clinicians.  These visits allow time (45 minutes to an hour) for a complete assessment of the current physical health, growth and development, and nutrition and digestive needs of the child, as well as answering questions brought up by the parent(s) and child on how to maintain and/or enhance their continued good health.

Tamara Cullen, N.D., who has a private practice at Naturopathic Family Medicine in Upper Fremont, serves as an adjunct faculty member with Bastyr.  She acknowledged that the well-child exam normally costs between $120 – 200, and the visit, only available for children under 11 years old, can also incorporate a sports evaluation.

Why Natural Medicine?

“You get a lot more time than with a physician,” Dr. Cullen explained about well-child visits at Bastyr.  A visit to a medical doctor’s office usually spends a majority of the appointment involved with the nurse, before a 15-minute consult with the M.D.  In naturopathic medicine, the philosophy behind the medicine depends upon one-on-one time between the N.D. and the patient.

Dr. Cullen referenced the 7 tenants of natural medicine, and the focus on treating the whole person to promote wellness.  Proactive, preventative medicine forms the core of naturopathic methods, with the N.D. sworn to do no harm.  That includes efforts to keep the child, and all patients, off medications.

The holistic approach looks at external and internal factors – and ways to address those without medication.  For instance, health problems can come from stress, even in children.  “You’d be surprised,” Dr. Cullen answered when asked about the commonality of stress in children.  They often internalize situations, she said, and “on-going stressors can cause a physiological condition.”  Finding and addressing the stressors, rather than treating the symptoms of stress, is natural medicine.

A well-child visit can include a sports evaluation to start off the school year right. Photo by K. Lindsay

“We aren’t treating conditions,” Dr. Cullen said, “We are treating the person.”  She can see 10 kids, each with an ear infection, and they go home with 10 different treatments/diagnoses.  Infections differ, as do the ear drops available and the contributing factors, she explained, also treatments can be personalized to suit the patient.  A topical solution may work best for one child while an another would be better served with an antibiotic.

Benefits Of Bastyr

The $20 special will give parents a ‘test drive,’ for those new to natural medicine a chance to see if naturopathic methods meet their child’s health care needs.  These visits also allow parents to, potentially, find a Bastyr-trained primary care physician for their child.

Dr. Cullen has been a licensed Naturopathic Doctor for 12 years, and opened her own business 6 years ago.  She opened Naturopathic Family Medicine 2 ½ years ago, across from Marketime Foods.  Yet, she will teach a pediatric class in the fall at Bastyr, and serves at the clinic, “Because I feel it is important for students to experience a variety of teachers, to have as many mentors as possible.”

A well-child visit sets up a child for continued good health, in all activities. Photo by K. Lindsay

“Going to a teaching clinic can be rewarding to the patient,” Dr. Cullen explained.  Patients can help train future doctors, but in the process they also learn more about their own health as participants in discussions with the student physicians and supervising practitioner.

Bastyr and Dr. Cullen recommend the well-child visits while the child enjoys good health.  “When there’s no specific complaint, it’s the perfect time to talk about diet, sleep, behavior issues and discipline, all of which you may not have time to address during acute visits,” explained Dr. Cullen, through a Bastyr press release. “Also, we can compare the child’s behavior when they’re well to their sick behavior, which can be really helpful.”

As part of the well-child visit, each child can also take home a free bottle of multi-vitamins that can augment their mineral intake.  This can be particularly beneficial for children who, Dr. Cullen pointed out, can be picky about their diets.

To schedule a consult, or find out more, visit the Bastyr Center for Natural Health website.

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©2011 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.


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