Editor’s Note: We spoke with Karolina Baker, MD, with Aven Clinic located at 3976 Destination Drive, Suite 102 in Osprey. She specializes in functional and integrative Medicine in support of patients of all ages. Call 941-500-2093. Learn more at AvenClinic.com.
Dr. Baker, what led you to practice Functional and Integrative Medicine? As an Emergency Physician, I could treat patients of acute illnesses, but I still referred them to their primary care physician for chronic conditions. Later, after working as a primary care doctor, I dealt with many chronic conditions. That’s when I realized that the conventional medicine model often fails at managing and curing chronic conditions. Treating the symptoms fails to address the underlying causes. Patients end up with little hope and are offered an endless road of pills and procedures. Functional Medicine is more focused on the underlying “root” causes of the symptoms.
How does it work at Aven Clinic? We use a proactive model focused on individual needs and long term solutions. I use a systematic approach to help patients reach their goals through education, sensible medical protocols and one-on-one mentoring. This step-by-step patient-centered approach identifies the underlying cause of a patient’s conditions. We also provide comprehensive testing; however, what I do with the information is most important. Rather than try to cover up the symptoms, I teach and train the patient, giving them the tools and resources to take control of their health. They feel better and experience a sense of genuine independence from any symptoms.
Why is Functional and integrative Medicine commonly not covered by most insurance companies? Unfortunately, insurance companies often don’t cover functional medicine programs or testing. Medicare notes that preventative care is not medically necessary. My patients view better health as an important goal and recovery as a desirable outcome. After completing my wellness programs and related protocols, they experience better health with less suffering.
What are your credentials and related experiences? I’m a Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician with over 17 years of clinical experience. I completed two residency programs: one in Family Medicine in Miami, and one in Emergency Medicine in The Netherlands. After graduating from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, I worked in many healthcare settings including emergency departments, urgent care centers, primary care practices, and mental health facilities in the U.S., England, The Netherlands, Aruba, and Poland. I also completed an Integrative Psychiatry Fellowship, Institute of Functional Medicine training, and I’m also certified in the Walsh protocol for managing mental health conditions. I combined my unique background and range of experience to create a medical practice that emphasizes compassion and competence.