We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Michelle Barraza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Michelle, what are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about helping people onto a path of health. Many of the patients I see in my medical practice, have been stuck at the survival state of health—they are stuck in the valley between sickness and survival and are unable to get over the hump towards health and wellness. Part of naturopathic medicine is seeing patients as a whole, unfortunately the current medical system tends to see people in piecemeal segments. If you have a problem with your stomach, see your gastroenterologist; but if you mention issues with your mental health or hormones they refer you out. Meanwhile, the patient waits 4 to 12 weeks to see that next specialist. As a naturopathic physician, I have been trained to evaluate the body as a whole, so the patient doesn’t have to wait and suffer through their symptoms. For example, someone’s IBS may actually be due to their anxiety and I treat both the mental-emotional and the digestive systems. The most rewarding thing about my naturopathic practice is hearing my patients tell me that they finally feel like someone has heard them because I have spent more time listening and understanding them from a health perspective than any other doctor. This enables me to get to the root of their health problems so I can guide them to feeling better and healthy. For example, I have had multiple patients come in with a history of hysterectomy, they are post-menopausal feeling exhausted, anxious, and have chronic migraines among other symptoms. Those patients typically have tried every migraine medication without improvement. But when I evaluated them as a whole, balanced their hormones and filled the gaps in their health, they started to feel like themselves again. Ultimately, that is the most powerful thing about my naturopathic practice; leading someone back to their health, gives someone their life back so they can live the way they intended and dreamed. That is what drives me and fuels my passion to wake up every day and continue my work with my patients.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I co-own a naturopathic, medical clinic in Gilbert, AZ. We have been in business since 2017. What sets us apart from other clinics is our diligence in patient care. This ensures every patient feels heard and supported so we can provide effective treatments that help them feel better and allows them to live their life again. I think I am most proud of creating an impact in my community where people feel like achieving health and elimination of symptoms is possible. Many people have lost faith in the medical system, but more disheartening, they have lost faith in their own ability to get better. We started our clinic from the ground up, with 0-1 patient a month to serving several patients daily. Getting to this point certainly took a lot of effort through patient referrals, blogging, BNI networking, Chamber of Commerce and marketing, all without being a provider through medical insurance. We have definitely learned a lot over the years and I would not say it was easy. We overcame the challenges through persistence, keeping our goals and values on the forefront and importantly being adaptable to changing our business strategies. We learned to trust our gut and keep moving forward, even when things are tough.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
If I had a friend visiting me, I would take them to my favorite places in Arizona. I would take them for a day hike in Sedona, AZ, eat at my favorite sushi restaurant in Mesa, AZ, House of Modern Sushi, walk the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, hiking in the Superstition Mountains and go to Joyride Tacos in downtown Gilbert, AZ.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many people I could mention that have in some way contributed to my success through support, love and mentorship, but the person that most motivated me to start my journey towards becoming a naturopathic doctor is my dad. From a young age, he encouraged and supported me to believe that I could become a doctor. In my junior year of high school, he was diagnosed with Parkinson disease, and I was able to see first hand that there were significant gaps in the conventional model of medicine. I was not able to save my dad from going through the wringer of medications, procedures and surgery to reach a point where he has limited mobility and unable to speak. But, I can help my patients now and help guide them to better health. Another person who has been pivotal to my success is my fiancé, Dr. Dylan W. Krueger. I would not be where I am today without his unfailing support, love, and encouragement. He has helped grow our business and clinic to what it is today and I feel so grateful to have a partner in life that I can share that with. He has such ambition and drive which motivates me to be my best as a businesswoman and doctor.