When Whitney and I connected with Dr. Cheri at a FemCity Des Moines event, we immediately knew we would love to work with her. The work she is doing is literally saving kids from years and years of pain and misery. Learn more about our amazing client and how you can dive deeper in October!
With 30 years under her belt in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Cheryl Standing is certainly qualified for her role at Bluebird Integrative Pediatrics. And as well she should be: She started the practice herself. In 2017, she was still working in emergency rooms, treating children and helping families through the recovery process. She’d become increasingly concerned with the prevalence of chronic health issues in young children, and pointed to what she saw as an increase over the years.
“When I started, there were more infectious diseases than anything. Now, there are more non-communicable diseases among the kids I saw, things like childhood obesity, inflammatory bowel syndrome, PANDAS, ADHD, and autism,” she says. “I was seeing things like these more and more, at a rate that couldn’t be chalked up to genetics. I felt like I needed to learn more about it because conventional medicine wasn’t addressing these issues very well.”
Dr. Standing began studying integrative medicine under Andrew Weil, a physician and researcher who founded the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. She learned about the importance of addressing all of the complexities that contribute to a patient’s overall health, such as diet, sleep, and physical activity. She also learned to recognize gaps in conventional medicine that prevented a growing number of physicians from delivering quality health care.
“I had always been interested in nutrition, and I was surprised at how little we had learned about it in medical school.”
Together with her staff, Dr. Standing began Bluebird Integrative Pediatrics as a way to help young patients and their families identify, treat, and heal from chronic illnesses like the ones she saw in increasing numbers in the emergency room.
They believe that a truly integrative approach to medicine—both conventional and complementary—is the best way to treat chronic illnesses. Children in particular can fall victim to these issues because of developing immune systems, and these potential problems will only get worse as they move into adulthood. Caring for her young patients while also being a valuable, ongoing resource to their families is integral to the success of the treatment.
Of course, with a new, independent practice comes a need for branding and marketing strategies. “There are often a lot of misconceptions about integrative medicine,” says Dr. Standing. “I want people to understand that it’s science-based medicine, only without a foundation of ordering a bunch of expensive tests and treatments in the way that a lot of conventional doctors are used to doing.”
Explaining her work without invoking the image of a crunchy, “holistic” hippie practitioner has proven to be difficult with only an online presence. “I have discovered that the best way to communicate what it is that we do, and what integrative medicine really is, is to talk to people face to face. That way I can answer all of their questions before they dismiss my methods as ‘too alternative.’”
She found Brand Launch helpful not only in getting her to think about what her brand is and some effective marketing strategies (like fun and creative social media posts), but also as inspiration to plan her own meet-and-greet event. On October 23rd, Dr. Standing and her team will host a get-together at Art Terrarium to meet with folks in the community and engage with them about the ways in which integrative medicine could benefit their lives.
“I want to show people that a healthy diet, good sleep, regular movement, and limited screen time can really go a long way in establishing and maintaining health, particularly in children. It’s important to let them know that these strategies are based on scientific evidence, and that my background in medicine gives me more tools to work with when treating a tricky illness.”
Bluebird Integrative Pediatrics has a number of other direct-engagement ideas in the works, including developing a childhood obesity prevention program at the YMCA. Dr. Standing will provide education for both children and their parents to promote a thorough understanding of the root causes of obesity and how it can lead to other life-threatening diseases like diabetes and cancer. The program will also include physical activities to keep kids engaged and excited about health and exercise.
Luckily for her, Dr. Standing is privileged to see the effects of her hard work every single day. “When families really partner with me, when they pay attention and make those big changes that are going to help their child, they all end up feeling better together. They tell me, ‘oh my gosh, you’ve just transformed our lives.’ That is really the most satisfying thing.”