Exercise is medicine

Going solo: Why I started my own practice based on exercise and nutrition

In my practice, we counsel patients on the principles of using physical activity and exercise to manage chronic lifestyle diseases.

As an osteopathic physician, I am firm believer in the profound medicinal influence that physical activity, exercise, and nutrition can have on many of the chronic lifestyle diseases my patients suffer from every day.

When I completed residency, I joined one of the largest physician-owned groups in the country, Central Ohio Primary Care. This allowed me to practice medicine emphasizing what I feel is most important, which is educating my patients on the influence that activity and nutrition has on their health.

However, my husband and I dreamed of creating our own wellness-based medical practice that focuses on true lifestyle adaptation over the typical reliance on pharmaceuticals. In December 2016, this dream was realized when I opened Upper Arlington Preventative Primary Care (UAPPC) in Columbus, Ohio. In essence, it is a fully realized medical practice based directly upon the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) initiative Exercise is Medicine.

Living the vision

I have two medical partners, and we counsel our patients on the principles of using physical activity and exercise as a medicine to manage chronic lifestyle diseases.

Kristin Devor, DO

Although we started this practice only ten months ago, I have already seen significant changes in many patients who follow our recommendations on activity and nutrition. This translates to improved lipid panels, glucose, blood pressure readings, mental health, and strength and mobility, to name a few.

One of the best parts of my day is having a patient become healthier and decrease their reliance on costly medications.

The origin story

My passion for living and promoting healthy lifestyles was sparked as an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, where I majored in exercise science.

I later attended Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, where the holistic osteopathic approach to medicine fit perfectly with my long-term goals of combining the principles of exercise science with my medical training.

Fate intervened to push this dream forward, personally and professionally, when I met my husband, Steven, who spent 20 years as a professor of exercise physiology at The Ohio State University.

Steven is a fellow of the ACSM and is involved in its Exercise is Medicine initiative. He now works as an exercise physiologist in my practice, and he is a key member of our medical care team.

Our approach

One of our key differentiators at UAPPC is that the interaction with patients does not necessarily end after they have come in for an office visit.

When I recognize that a patient is ready to make important lifestyle changes, but perhaps doesn’t know where to begin, I recommend they start by receiving counseling from my husband, our practice’s exercise physiologist.

This one-on-one interaction provides the time needed to understand the barriers to making changes and educate patients on how to overcome them.

To help ensure patients’ long-term adherence and success with their lifestyle changes, we are in the process of creating a formalized process called EnDevor Health. Through EnDevor Health, my patients will be connected to an ACSM-certified personal trainer at a fitness facility directly adjacent to my office to guide them own their journey. Steven vets these fitness professionals, so we are confident in the referral.

Filling my Rx

I recognize many people have difficulty finding time to fit daily activity into their schedule. My commitment to the principles of my medical practice extends into my own life.

I am an avid runner and have completed 11 marathons. I also lift weights regularly, which has reversed my diagnosis of osteopenia. Rain or shine, I walk or ride my bike to work every day.

My long-term hope is that our work can serve as a model of how a medical practice with an emphasis on physical activity and nutrition can lower insurance costs, improve patient well-being, and promote population health.

4 comments

  1. Very interesting story.
    Maybe you could have some reviews from patients and before and after pictures.
    I know it takes discipline and perseverance to reach your goals.

  2. Are you able to include patients that have Medicaid and/or Medicare? And if so, how does billing for fitness services work?

  3. Well done! Our society needs to focus on wellness and not illness. Lifestyle change is the obvious answer with proven benefits, but so many people don’t have the correct medical guidance. Thanks for all you do! I hope your practice will encourage others toward the same.

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