MORE ABOUT DR. JOHNSON
Dr. Johnson received her medical training at the Medical College of Georgia and then completed a five-year General Surgery residency at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She was Chief Resident in her fifth year and Chief of Surgical Trauma as a fourth-year resident at Grady Hospital, the busy Level 1 trauma center in Atlanta. She pursued private practice in Atlanta as a General Surgeon before moving to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of VA. She continued as a General Surgeon and then specialized in Bariatric Surgery (surgery for obese patients). She established and set up the Bariatric program which promoted lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise, and if needed, surgery.
Johnson stepped down from Surgery to pursue wellness and preventive care after practicing for 10 years as a general surgeon. Having seen the worst of the population as a general and bariatric surgeon and seeing first hand how conventional medicine was failing, she wanted to work 'upstream', to prevent the epidemic of chronic disease. Conventional medicine is driven by illness and disease so Johnson turned to functional medicine which is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.
Johnson respects the intrinsic healing properties of the body and nature and stays at the forefront of emerging research in basic science taking into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual. She focuses on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise, use of the latest laboratory testing; and prescribes a combination of prescription medications and/or botanical medicines, quality supplements therapeutic diets, and stress management techniques.
Dr. Johnson's personal journey to functional medicine began with her experience overcoming Multiple Sclerosis.
"I was around 45 when my life abruptly changed. I used to be a professional ballet dancer, competed in biathlons, ran 10k’s, and could stay up for 36 hours on trauma call as a surgeon. I felt indestructible.
But then I was diagnosed with MS. The diagnosis was a complete surprise as I thought I was very healthy. I was on no medications, exercised regularly, not overweight, and had no usual symptoms.
But this diagnosis was a wake-up call. I was not as healthy as I thought and looking back I realize a few vague symptoms were present..."
Certificates and Extensive Training in:
Certification in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine through A4M
Completed training with Dr. Dale Bredesen in utilizing the Cognoscopy and Bredesen Protocols for Alzheimer's treatment and prevention.
Completed training through the Institute for Functional Medicine in the fields of Cardiometabolic Medicine, Immunology, Detoxification, GI Medicine, Hormones and others.
Extensive Training in Genomics, Epigenetics, and Metabolomics.
Certification in Nutritional Science.
Extensive Training in Environmental Acquired Illnesses such as Lyme's Disease, Mold, and Environmental Toxicants.
My Moment of Realization
Trained in conventional medicine, I never questioned the doctrine of medicine in the United States which is based on evidence-based medicine and stated to have the best medical system in the world. Doctors coming from other countries have to complete a U.S. residency program to be a licensed physician. Most U.S. doctors can practice anywhere in the world without additional training validating the superior education of US physcians. But then I started to question my training. If U.S. doctors really are the best trained then how is it possible that the U.S. is the 54th healthiest country in the world? Shouldn't we at least be in the top ten? What I saw and was doing as a bariatric surgeon often felt inadequate for the patient. I thought that what I was reading in the medical literature and doing was based on solid scientific facts. It wasn't until I read Gary Taubes "Good Calories and Bad Calories" that I questioned the system.
As Dr. Jack Kruse, a brilliant neurosurgeon, said, "Evidence-based medicine is laudable if the underlying foundation is based upon undeniably true facts. But when the underlying science is faulty, the gold-standard trial becomes worthless." And unfortunately studies are subject to the influences of many biasis and relies on population based studies assuming that YOU will fall into this 68% group at the top of the bell curve. Yet every one is an individual with unique DNA and genetic make-up and people react differently to the same medication or diet protocol. One size does NOT fit all. Physicians cannot continue to use treatment algorithms that are flawed if the goal is to promote individual health. Our emphasis as doctors must be to promote healthy aging - not simply to try and repair what has already been damaged by disease. Unfortunately the industry is vested in treating diseases and not healthy people which is why insurance compaines don't usually cover those services and leave people struggling to find solutions.
We all want to be healthy and live a long, healthy life, free of debilitating diseases and conditions. You only walk this earth once so make the best of it and enjoy every day. So, join me in working together with you, as the patient, to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. Yes, you have to invest time and money to gain optimal health but your health is your most valuable asset. Start your journey today!