From the West Coast to the Windy City

Dominic Patwaran, MD

Greetings Chicago! I am Dominic D. Patawaran, M.D. the new integrative medicine physician joining the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern. I started my career 13 years ago (which in China is a lucky number pronounced “shisan” meaning “assured growth” or “definitely vibrant”). In 1999, I completed my residency in Chicago and started my career as a Family Medicine physician in Los Angeles, California, a far cry from the Windy City. During that time, my practice evolved quickly from an employed physician in a large HMO system to establishing a private practice, Los Angeles Physicians Medical Group. We were a group of physicians serving the growing and gentrifying downtown and surrounding community of Los Angeles. It was exciting to build the practice and grow with the community over the next 12 years.

My time in Los Angeles brought many opportunities to evolve as a physician. I created a thriving traditional practice, admitting to three area hospitals, seeing patients in the office, and going to nursing homes. Yet I also recognized a need in the community. There were many patients who had difficult access to care and were very much excluded from the primary care system. They would get care in the emergency room and when they were admitted to the hospital. To serve these patients, I slowly built a portion of my practice to do home visits.

What a rewarding experience it was to see the LIVES of my patient from behind their front doors. They were no longer just diseases and acute illnesses. I was able to share in moments in their lives as they welcomed me into their homes: having access to their support systems or lack thereof, seeing the conditions in the home, having the ability to see what people are eating and drinking, being able to see how medications are kept, and so much more. All of these things infused in me a sense of what makes us all individuals and the need to treat and care for people individually.

During this time, I lectured for the LA Marathon, for the local public schools and community centers, and contributed to Martine Ehrenclouʼs book, “The Take Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care.” I also began working as a medical director in home health and as an assistant medical director in hospice care which has made a tremendous impact on me regarding the value of life and a perspective on dying. For me, life and death are the same and should be respected throughout the process. It made clear how much listening and communicating is so different from just hearing and speaking.

Beyond my professional life, I also take these lessons to heart in my personal life. Through the passing of my mother, a wonderfully compassionate and hardworking physician and the birth of my nephews, I came to value the importance of self-care, the need for balance, and the true concept of our bodies reflecting the things we do, the nutrients we eat, the stress we carry, and the healing we allow.

With these principles as the foundation, I sought to broaden my practice of medicine. I was introduced to Integrative Medicine by Dr. Andrew Weil at a nutrition conference sponsored by the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. The experience was life changing. It challenged the way I approached medicine and solidified the way I approached my patients. Subsequently, I applied and was accepted to the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine Fellowship that was created by Dr. Weil. The experience there has been beyond words. It has been a journey of gaining knowledge, learning to heal, learning to connect with each other as providers and with our patients. Even more importantly, it has been about learning to connect with ourselves so we can serve our patients fully present and aware, not from a place of detachment but rather one of empathy. I will bring to The Raby Institute: a balance between traditional and alternative care, a resource for your questions, and a place to address stress management and introduce you to ways you can find your process of healing.

But how did I end up in Chicago? Well after 13 years of practice, an opportunity came as a whisper and grew to reality. I was “assured growth” through the opportunity to join The Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine. I am grateful. Growth is not easy. The process took time and much change to come to fruition but things unfolded and here I am. I look forward to serving YOU and working toward promoting healthy lifestyles and helping you discover your ability to heal. Dr. Theri Griego Raby is “definitely vibrant” and it is an honor to be a part of her vision. I guess 13 may be my new lucky number...

Call (312) 276-1212 today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Patawaran for primary integrative care or for an integrative consultation!
Early traditional Chinese medicine stemmed from Taoist masters who developed an extraordinary sense of the body and its workings through their many hours of meditation.