Struggling with night sweats, forgetfulness, or unexpected mood swings?What about hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, or *gasp* changes in libido? These could all be signs of common – but not necessary – symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.

In this episode of Think Tank of Three, Julie Holton and Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris discuss the often unspoken trials of women’s health, from hormonal imbalances to the quest for wellness. 

With special guest Dr. Elena Alawa, we dig into the power of functional medicine and the importance of treating the whole person and not just the symptoms.

Be sure to subscribe to support the Think Tank of Three! Our direct links are here. Learn more about Dr. Alawa at

Podcast Transcript: Empowering Women Through Functional Medicine with Dr. Elena Alawa

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: Hot flashes, night sweats, quick tempered at times. Although I do wonder if that’s because I have a 12 going on 13 year old son and a seven year old daughter going on 16, often very tired, which I sometimes attribute to them. Well, but this one is new, oddly forgetful, as in, I will be sitting on the couch and I’ll be like, Oh, I want to go do whatever.

And I will get up and go to the kitchen. It’s not that far. This house is not that big. And by the time I get to the kitchen, I’m standing there, hands on my hips. Like, why am I in here? Which scared me a couple of times because I was like, do I need to go see a doctor? Is this? at 49 early on set. I’m s me out.

So, but it’s the than anything else. And w I mean, two or three t shirts per night. There is a towel that I sleep on. There’s no changing the sheets in the night because my husband’s in the bed with me. Is he getting up? No. So it’s just deal with it. I don’t know. Do you, you’re younger than me. You’re pretty much younger than me.

So I, I don’t know. Are you, do you experience anything or is this just. I’m going to be 50 soon and this is life.

Julie Holton: Well, let’s say, thankfully I’m not experiencing anything yet because this will be, this will be news for some people. Sorry, you’re finding out on the podcast, but Dave and I are actively trying to have a baby.

So that’s a work in progress. And at 41, that’s, That’s, you know, work in progress. So I have a whole different set of health, um, related things that I’m keeping an eye on and suddenly tracking more than I ever did before. This topic reach comes up a lot because the women, our age women in our circles, women in business are dealing with menopause, perimenopause, or even just dealing with, um, you know, health symptoms related to our menstrual cycles that.

Still at 41, I never realized as part of, like, should I be experiencing these things? Should I not? What’s normal? What’s not? The, you know, the fluctuations in hormones, all these things that, frankly, we’re taught about sex ed in what? Elementary school? Middle school? Middle school, I guess. But we’re not really, like, at that age, we’re not really learning about really much of anything that is helpful in our 30s soon to be 50s.

Dr. Elena Alawa: It’s

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: just a nonstop, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting. I now understand some of the stuff my mom was saying. It’s that, you know, obviously as you get older, you understand more that the relationship changes with the parent. So she and I are in this, she’s like, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re talking about. This just happened the other day.

Julie Holton: I literally just learned yesterday that my mom has PCOS. I didn’t know. I know my sister has it. And I was like, why do I not know this? Why do you know? Oh gosh. It’s, you know, we’ll get into that with our guests today. How about, I don’t have it. I don’t have any symptoms of it, but my mom was talking to me about it as it relates to fertility and getting pregnant.

And so, you know, here I am. Six, seven months into this process, and I’m learning about something for the first time that runs in my family, and I’m thinking, ah, that would have been helpful. Right? But, but nothing against my mom, but she probably thought I knew. It’s also just, women are not talking about these things.

We, historically, it’s, you know, we did this pod, we did the episode with Lizney Tate with Huffing Woman period. We did the episode with Katie Crick and her startup, her startup. And it, you know, we’ll say it again. We’ll just shout it from the rooftops. We need to be talking about this more. So today’s guest is going to do just that.

And then some Think Tank of Three starts now.

Hey there and welcome to the podcast. I am Julie Houlton, one of your hosts alongside Rishi at Candidate Kappasaurus. And today we are all over the topic of women and healthy

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: living. Indeed. Today’s guest is Dr. Elena Alawa, a board certified internist and functional medicine certified physician. She practices in Michigan.

So wish you were in California. Seriously had a conversation with my mom. Just the other day, telling her about you, she goes, well, maybe she’s got some recommendations in here, California, but this is a person who seems to understand the proper balance of and connection of science with holistic medicine and treating the whole person rather than just the symptom, getting to the source of what’s going on.

Dr. Aloa, we are so excited to have you here. Welcome to the show.

Dr. Elena Alawa: Thank you, Aresha. Thank you, Julie. I’m really excited to be here. And yes, women’s health is really a passion of mine, but I also treat men. Can

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: you I would love, I, of course, clearly we started off with our banter talking about, you know, the personal issues, uh, associated with just being a woman and menstrual cycles and things of that nature.

However, what exactly is functional medicine? If someone is like, I’m, is this some new Fandango term, but what, what is functional

Dr. Elena Alawa: medicine? Functional medicine is not necessarily a new term, and it’s not really reinventing the wheel of medicine. It’s, it’s simply an algorithm that we use to, um, look at symptoms that patients are presenting with and work backwards to find the root causes and evaluate and consider all the possible root causes, kind of like working through a differential diagnosis.

Um, I started in, um, osteopathic medical school, and it was about the entire person, everything you look at it holistically. There’s not, um, 1, um, organ system that works independent from another. They’re not in their own cubicles. They work together. They constantly send, um, information to 1 another. Um, but as you go through a residency, and you get the volume of patients that you treat, and you move on from 1 case to another, that holistic approach was kind of.

lost. So, um, when I found functional medicine, it, it took me back to my roots, my training. Basically, I’m looking for what are the possible causes for this individual’s presenting symptoms and how do we work through them?

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: To me, that sounds normal. It sounds like what should be happening regularly, but I’m noticing that’s not.

It’s not necessarily the case. I know from my, and I, I do reference my mom a lot because she has the one who’s dealt with a lot of different medical issues and different doctors. And one of the biggest issues that she’s had is the inability of the MD to listen. To her and to what she’s trying to explain to them about what she’s feeling.

And they just assign something to the fact that, oh, well, you’re overweight or, oh, well, you are this, or, oh, well, you’re black as opposed to hearing what she’s saying. Cause one thing my mom in all of her history of health has always had a very strong connection and understanding of her body. She’s been someone that’s, that knows.

I’m lacking this. I need to get some of this. I’m struggling with this. I know I need to get over. So she listens to her body. So when she’s been trying to explain that to individuals, they act, they just kind of like discount her, her, it just discounted. No, you just need this medicine. And she’s like, I can’t take that.

I’m telling you why I can’t take that. But she wanted to insist on me taking this, which is going to cause this. And then they end up coming back around to her. Finally, listening to her and they’re like, Oh, you know, that’s interesting that you’re saying that because, and she’s like months, weeks, if you would just listen to me from the beginning.

So I, I, I am thankful to you for how you, you’re approaching this, what you said, you, it went back to your, your medical training when you, when you went through this, what, what moved you here? What, what told you? There’s something is not quite right. I need, I need to reassess how I’m, I’m doing some practicing here.

Dr. Elena Alawa: I understand your frustration, your mom’s frustration. And unfortunately, that is a very common occurrence, but common does not equal normal and common does not equal optimal. And this happens to. more women than we care to account for, unfortunately. Um, because if we have symptoms, um, as women, they’re kind of looked at as we’re just being hysterical, but that is not the case.

And I can, uh, identify myself with that because what actually brought me here and to answer your direct question is my own, um, path and journey through perimenopause. I was 40, um, postpartum after my third delivery and I plunged into depression, migraines to the point of losing my eyesight. Um, yes, temporary, but frequent enough that it was an issue.

Um, and Yet, when I reached out to my colleagues who are in, who have received allopathic training, I haven’t really been listened to. So I didn’t feel that I was heard and I didn’t feel that anything was being done. Yes, we tested and we had X, Y, Z tests and everything came back normal. And unfortunately, it didn’t leave me happy simply because the symptoms persisted.

And yet there was no suggestion because everything was normal. Right? So again, common is not normal and normal is not optimal. So, because of that, I started looking deeper into trying to fix my own symptoms on my own. And therefore, I discovered that hormonal imbalances can be treated. They should not and they must not be ignored.

After all, 1. 3 million women every year enter menopause. And perimenopause, which is an ordeal that can last anywhere between 1 or 2 years to maybe 20. years. So it’s giving up a lot of quality of life that we can do something to improve it and support these women to go through perimenopause and enter menopause and even beyond menopause.

So that’s what brought me to training in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and using functional medicine to look at the root causes of those symptoms that that were created because I was, um, antidepressive, uh, deficient. You know, I wasn’t Prozac deficient and I wasn’t Cymbalta deficient. It was because I had a hormonal imbalance and that needed to be looked at and addressed.

And unfortunately, I’m not unique. A lot of women are going through the same exact, um, scenario and they’re being told that, well, you know, you’re just approaching menopause and that’s it. So Go suffer. After all, generations of women have done so before us. And, you know, this is just normal, right? But it’s not.

Yeah. And I think

Julie Holton: what is so, what is so unique about you, Dr. Allawa, is that you have the training and background that when you weren’t getting the answers that, that worked for you, when you were being told that this is normal, you knew it wasn’t normal and you were able to use your training to, to research and find other ways.

And so I’m curious. What what advice do you have for women who right now are listening to this and thinking, Yes, I wonder if my symptoms are are a hormonal imbalance, or I wonder if there’s another answer for me. Is there a doctor who will help me get to the root cause of my symptoms? Um, and maybe they’re not.

here in michigan where they can come see you. What advice do you have for women who are struggling, maybe even suffering through symptoms? How do we go about finding the right health care provider or the right answers that we need in order to even advocate for ourselves?

Dr. Elena Alawa: Um, my answer is follow what Risha’s mom, uh, did continue to not be silent and do not allow others to silence, um, your truth because after all, you are the one that knows your body best.

And if you don’t feel good, there’s got to be another reason beyond a lab saying that something is within normal limits, um, or an imaging study that says that there’s nothing wrong. And you know, there’s no pathology noted there. So listen to your body and try to find a way to get to a physician, to a medical professional.

It could be a nurse practitioner. Um, it could be a physician assistant that has received the training and is willing to listen to you. Because a lot Part of what we do as physicians or as healthcare providers is to listen. And if we don’t, um, then, um, find someone who will listen to you because there are so many practitioners out there.

And I would suggest that instead of treating or going with this or that option, test first so you know where you are and you’re not throwing darts in the dark, hoping to hit the bullseye. Test and correlate with your symptoms. Um, these days we have access to all kinds of webinars and, um, online forums and Facebook groups.

So it’s good to ask around. It’s good to look for input. Um, and then just do your. Further research and come up with your decision as to, um, who may be a good fit for you and interview, um, medical professionals. Most, um, professionals offer discovery calls. So this is your opportunity to chat to see. What they may be able to do for you, if they’re even a good fit, because sometimes personalities clash and, you know, no party should take it offensively.

We’re just really not a good fit and we can move on. But I appreciate the interaction and the opportunity and the information you shared with me and then just move on. So I would tell women that they’re in the driving seat. They can decide for themselves and they can become their own best advocate, like you said, Julie.

I was

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: wondering though, also, because It’s seen what you’re doing to me seems to make total sense and seems to just be a really smart way to deal in patient care and practice, at least from my mom’s perspective, does not seem to be the common practice. So I mean, she’s, she’s unfortunately the physician that she used to have.

Passed away so she has had to try to find another physician and it’s been a nightmare basically she has not been able to find someone like the first question she’s like, well, where, where are you on the holistic medicine as we’re like, oh, we don’t deal in that. And it’s like, Why not? I didn’t tell you, did you not go to medical school?

I’m hoping you have an MD behind it. I just want to know, do you also participate, partake in the other aspects of whole body treatment? She hasn’t been able, so I’m wondering, and I realize Michigan is different from California, but I’m wondering, in your opinion, are you seeing that there’s Is there perhaps a lack of what it is that you’re doing or, or what, what do you attribute to a lack of that, where perhaps where she is, I mean, which is stunning to me because it’s California lands of fruits, flakes and nuts.

They’re supposed to be all like, you know, we find everything. So I’m just curious, is it, is it that she just happens to be in a bad spot in a bad area in Fresno, California, or is there not as many. Medical professionals taking the route of my MD, my science combined with my, the holistic approach and that whole body approach and, and merging the two to have the best practical service for my patients.

Dr. Elena Alawa: It is a loaded question and it has some political implications, so I’m not exactly sure how, um, I can elaborate fully on what I wish I could. And you hope, I hope that you understand. I do. Um, I, I think that, um, this is maybe becoming an emerging field. There are a lot of physicians who are grandfathered in, so to speak, in ways that they’re not willing to change.

And that also goes along with their personality. So, if they’re not willing to look for an alternative method, they will discard that without even giving it a choice, um, even listening to it and just exploring and seeing, okay, what is it that That this offers, or let me try it and see if it has any specific benefit.

But this can also be driven by insurances, medical insurances and their employer. So if they work for a big hospital, they are. They are forced to see a certain number of patients and therefore, um, the time dedicated to each individual patient is very little. Ideally, you should not be seeing a patient in 10 to 15 minutes, but to be honest, um, insurances are driving a conveyor belt of patients.

Um, I mean, an internal medicine physician, for example, can be asked to see in the office up to 40 patients a day. And this is crazy. Okay. It is not possible to be thorough with each individual and look for root causes. And therefore, they treat the symptoms. Oh, you’re depressed. Here’s an antidepressant. Oh, you have anxiety.

Well, I’ll give you this other anxiolytic. Um, oh, you have pain. Well, here’s a narcotic. Um, what else? Whatever issues there are, Like you said in the very beginning, there’s gonna be a pill for every single symptom and each of that pill is gonna, um, produce its own, uh, panel of side effects. And then we may potentially introduce a pill to correct some of those side effects.

But this is not the way to do medicine. And we have sub sub subspecialized in many of our. medical specialties. Um, I know of orthopedic physicians who do, uh, carpal tunnel surgery only on the right hand. Okay. So why not the left? Because it’s the same anatomy. It was just a little bit kind of flip flop, like mirror image, but this is all they specialize in.

So if you want to have a carpal tunnel surgery on the left, Um, hand, then you’re going to have to go see another physician. My own dear friend, um, had a tumor and it was 3. 96 centimeter or something like that. So he was referred to a surgeon, but at the very last minute, the receptionist discovered that this tumor did not meet the criteria for which the physician was specializing in, which was he would do surgery for anything over four centimeters.

Oh my goodness. Okay, so it’s becoming so sub, sub, sub, specialized that, um, it’s not allowing physicians to do the good of the training that they have followed. So, therefore, functional medicine, integrative medicine, regenerative medicine is a new, um, It’s a new field, I would say it’s not really new, but it’s, it’s bringing back the roots of look at the person as a whole and dedicate your time.

But this means seeing 7 patients a day. Not forwarding. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Dr.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: Allah.

Dr. Elena Alawa: Go ahead. Dr. Allah.

Julie Holton: I want to come back to some of these positive aspects that you bring to your patients with functional medicine because I know that Risha and I could go off on a tandem all day talking about the mishaps even in our own lives and your mom’s life, Risha and others, but I want to come back to the positive because you bring a lot of.

Really incredible life changing. I would venture to say services to your patients. And I know this because I’m not a patient, but you and I are in a networking group together of all women. And I would venture to say that of the last say, let’s say the last six meetings I attended, at least at half of those meetings, women would raise their hand and give a testimonial to how you have affected their lives and and with tears in their eyes and just so to me, affirmative life changing.

Can you tell us about what are some common symptoms that women come to you describing? Um, and what are some, what are some things kind of talking to our audience as a whole that, um, that you look at from your perspective and you say, this thing is not normal, or this is something that. May or may not. We may or may not be able to do something about.

Let’s do testing to find out. What are some of those common things

Dr. Elena Alawa: that you see? Thank you. Um, yes, the most common symptoms would be well now, depending on whether we’re talking perimenopause and full menopause, but most common are going to be those vasomotor symptoms. Um, hot flashes to the point where you’re drenched and you have to change your T shirt Twice, three times per night research.

Julie Holton: Now,

Dr. Elena Alawa: those are common, normal reflection of hormone imbalance, but we can correct that. Just FYI, sleep disturbances. This is the main issue. Why women come to me because they don’t sleep well. And that raises that cortisol. I don’t want to be too scientific here, but it makes their hot flashes and night sweats worse.

So, the fact that they’re not sleeping that they’re like zombies for the next day, and they could be high professionals, and they need to be awake alert, interactive and responding appropriately. Right? It doesn’t leave them that ability. To conduct their business normally, or, like, they used to so sleep disturbances and, um, another thing that it’s probably unspoken about and I don’t know why maybe societal taboos lack or a significant decline in libido.

And this can strongly lead to, uh, weakening the bonds of marriages, creating some troubles. But instead of speaking about them, they become depressed and then they reach out for antidepressives. So I always tell them and those who are patients of mine, they know how much I harp on biochemistry and how many charts I show them.

You know, I’m, I’m not giving you a medication. I’m trying to show you that this, uh, multivitamin or this Mineral that this vitamin or mineral is what’s supporting this biochemical reaction and giving you the substrate to feel better to build your own and neurotransmitter and support your hormone balance.

So, these would be the most common symptoms, vasomotor symptoms, hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain. Yes, I forgot about that. Weight gain, sleep disturbances. Inability to have good reaction to stress, so easily overwhelmed, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, crying at the Kleenex commercial for no reason.

There’s nothing to really prompt you to cry and relationship issues related to libido. Normal in relation to hormone imbalance, but we can treat it, so it is not accepted as a normal reflection, you know, a normal transition. We don’t have to suffer. Right? Right. And the way to put this in perspective is when you have a sluggish thyroid function, you’re going on thyroid medication, but that’s a hormone.

So, why is that acceptable to consider that hormone therapy, but it’s not acceptable to look at your hormone variation as you move from perimenopause into menopause and receive treatment for it? And by the way, those of, uh, in the audience who may be fearing estrogen and hormonal therapy in general, please be aware that hormone decline is associated with increased risk of cancer, not the other way around.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: That’s wow, yeah, and I think people are thinking exactly what you said the other way around and that’s their thought

Dr. Elena Alawa: process. It’s it’s a loaded conversation and probably, you know, it takes hours to support and explain the audience the reasons behind it, but it is the decline. of hormones who is, which is associated with increased risks of cancer.

And this hormonal imbalance that leaves women, um, with unbalanced high or normal levels of estrogen that is contributing to increased risk of breast cancer. We need to bring the awareness in the community, right? But we need to open that dialogue.

Julie Holton: Absolutely. I mean, having these conversations, Dr. Allow, like you said earlier, for women to use their voice.

ask questions or talk about what you’re experiencing. You know, I want to say to it. We’ve, we’ve mentioned a few times throughout this episode, um, medications or, and, and, and I want to say that it is not a bad thing in my mind. I’m not the medical professional here, but If you are taking medication for depression, if you are taking medication for symptoms you’re experiencing, that’s not, we’re, we’re not here to talk negatively about people who are, those, those avenues are right.

And Dr. Lowe, I know you do also, you know, you prescribe when it’s something that will, will be helpful for someone. And so we’re not here to. To, you know, to kind of downplay the necessity for some people to be taking medication. What I do love is your approach at first, you know, getting to that root cause.

Uh, we, we hear a lot in this country that, you know, Americans are just looking for the pill to Fix it all in that magical pill. And I think that’s what’s pushed on us. That’s what we see in commercials. That’s what we’re told from some doctors. That’s what, you know, our friends are, you know, have some quick fix for us.

And so it’s okay if you have turned to other, you know, if, if your doctor has prescribed things, if you have, you know, gone that route of treating symptoms, the purpose of this. conversation is to really open our eyes and get us to start looking things up, doing the research, like you said, suggested Dr.

Allawa and seeking out medical professionals like you who are going to help us get the testing done, uh, see what comes back in those results and really go back to the root of, you know, on kind of peeling back the layers because how many layers, you know, now do we have to peel back to really get to. You know, what, what is the root cause and how do we go about treating that?

Um, and you mentioned, you know, vitamins and minerals. And as you were saying that, I thought, gosh, I, you know, I take my, my daily, you know, all in one vitamin. But do I even know if I’m getting what I need to be getting? Uh, you know, as long as that blood work comes back normal or close to normal, do I even know what normal is?

I don’t know. So I’m, I’m hopeful that this conversation will have all of us re evaluating what we think we know about our health and really prioritizing that. I just, I just got back from, um, from a startup retreat, which is why I’m, I’m a little, you know, scratchy. All the, all the travel and trouble issues coming back.

But one of the things that we really honed in on during this, this startup, this founders retreat, is, is prioritizing our health. How often in life are we prioritizing partners, um, kids, work, you know, girlfriends? So many things get prioritized over our own health. And so, anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I feel like this has been a good reminder for me, even, to hone in on, how am I feeling?

What, what am I experiencing that I might be considering normal, but it doesn’t have to be something that I’m experiencing or is experiencing as much of. Um, and Richa, I just keep thinking about you with those darn night sweats. You need to come to Michigan and see Dr. Allawa.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: I do. Well, you know, I also, I feel like.

The medical professionals are also in a, in a tough spot. I think Dr. Lalla is, is doing amazing work, wonderful work, quality work dealing with the whole body patient. And I just wish more of our medical professionals could do that. But I, I also understand what she was saying before, depending on what your situation is for practice, are you, do you have the ability To do that.

How many can say, you know what, I’m, I’m gonna leave that hospital and start my own practice over here. Where, where I am going, no, there’s no choice in the matter. I’m going to have to see fewer patients because the way I wanna treat patients, it, it’s, look, it, I don’t know. It, it’s almost, it’s almost like an old school view of patient care.

Like, you know, they, it, it almost feels like the. The house call, right? The doctor comes to you and checks you out and really discusses things with you and they don’t, they don’t really do that anymore. So she feels like a unicorn when she’s, when she’s not, but it, it feels that way. And it’s like, I want more of that with my medical professionals.

I agree. I don’t, I’m not. I’m totally down on medications. If you’ve addressed everything else first, if you really sat down and, and tried to understand what exactly is going on, yes, because there is going to be that person that’s going to need that anxiety medication, that depression medication, those things are real.

But like she said, even herself postpartum, that wasn’t what was happening with her. So I. Right. It’s, it’s such a delicate, delicate balance and I, you know, you know, it makes me now want to, you know, kind of say to my daughter, listen, I want you to think medical school now, but I want you to think about it from a different approach because I just feel like if people did do the.

That give and take my mother is one of those people who was very good at listening to her body and trying to explain it, but then I need the medical professionals to be on the other side, willing to listen, willing to hear, willing to have that conversation. And like Dr. Alois said, that’s tough to do when you are required to see 40 people when you only have 15 minutes, you can’t really have that quality conversation because you’re like, I got, I got to get to this next.

So I feel I feel both ends of it. I feel bad for the medical professionals. But then at the same time, I’m like, yeah, but People like Dr. Olawa are doing it, so you should be able to do it too.

Dr. Elena Alawa: I hope the hospitals are not watching this interview, because I’m sure they would be worried they would lose all their employees, they would each go on their own private practices and set up shop away from, you know, 12 on, 12 off, 7 on, 7 off type of shift work, which is really pushing them into professional burnout.

But I’m happy to hear that maybe you’re willing to push your daughter or suggest, I should say, since ultimately it’s her choice what she wants to go into, to go to medical school. That’s really refreshing and heartwarming. You know, I

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: think though, I think part of the reason why we have this, this, this burnout.

I mean, look at what just happened with COVID, right. And how many nurses left because of COVID and COVID was a, that, that I understand a completely different animal. That’s a pandemic. That is a situation that we just weren’t. In our medical industries prepared for and, and, and, and it, it costs a lot. It, it, it did.

But I also just feel like we, the medical profession has become such that we are pushing closer and closer and faster and faster to that burnout. And, and it’s not helping anyone. And I don’t know how you, how you pull that back, how you start to reverse that. I don’t know what the answer to that is in a society that’s all about.

More, more, more, and perhaps the medical professional feels like, well, if we, we, we back it off a bit, but it’s like, we need to get more doctors. We need more nurses. We need more doctors. And maybe that becomes more attractive to them again, when they recognize a different combined way of practice. And then maybe we get that influx and now we don’t have to see 40 patients because we have so many more doctors now.

Able to handle. I don’t know. I could

Dr. Elena Alawa: that could be I’m in complete agreement with you. I think once there is a power shift and we move it back into the hands of the physicians because it’s the physician patient relationship that matters and it shouldn’t be driven by insurances when I used to work for the hospital, I couldn’t request a certain or I couldn’t order.

No, I could order, but it wasn’t paid because I did not justify a specific test, uh, whether that was blood work or image that I was requesting because I didn’t have the specific diagnosis that the insurance was looking for. And if you, if you don’t go through a certain imposed process, then they would not cover the cost of that particular testing.

So that kind of leaves the patient. Out to dry, so to speak, right? Because they need to have a diagnosis. They need to figure out what’s going on in order to receive the proper treatment. But I don’t have a magnifier glass and I can put by their body and see what’s going on. I need a certain imaging test.

And if that’s not covered, the patient cannot financially afford to pay for the test. And then we’re back to square 1. so, if we, if we put the power back into the patient physician relationship. Yeah. I think maybe we have a chance to move this along in the right direction. Getting back to that. The best way to

Julie Holton: do.

The best way to do, yeah, I was gonna say, and the best way to do that is to keep having conversations like this and be seeking out the physicians who are making changes in their practices. Like Dr. Awa, I, I strongly encourage our audience, you know, research, do your research, reach out to Dr. Alawa if you’re in her area, look online at the resources and information she provides because this has been just, um.

an enlightening episode. And, and, and again, if any of this resonates with you, you are not alone. There are, there are doctors like Dr. Alaa out there to, to help us through this process. Um, Dr. Alaa, it has been so wonderful having you on the podcast today. Thank you for joining us. Thank

Dr. Elena Alawa: you for inviting me.

It’s been a pleasure.

Julie Holton: Before we go, we do like to ask our guests the same three questions in every episode. I promise these are easy. We did not prep you ahead of time. So, um, but the good part is these are just rapid fire answers. So just kind of first thing that comes to mind. Um, we just like to take women who are making a difference and are in their communities.

And, and share their thoughts on these three aspects. So our first question is, what advice would you give to aspiring young leaders?

Dr. Elena Alawa: Listen to whoever’s working with you and for you, because you’re not alone. You have a team. Is there

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: a quote, book, a resource that you can point to that had an impact on your journey on how you move through your

Dr. Elena Alawa: medical life?

For me, it always has been don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today. But I can also add, listen to your symptoms, listen to your body. It’s um, it’s a way to look inside what’s, what’s going on. Don’t ignore it. I love

Julie Holton: that. Okay, final question. Dr. Alawa, what would you tell your younger self? If they were willing to listen, what advice would you have for your, uh, your younger self?

Dr. Elena Alawa: There’s so many things. Listen to your parents. You may think that they don’t know anything and you may think you know everything, you know, at age 18 or 16, but they do have more experience of life. So do listen to them.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: I’m telling that to my son now. I’m like, do you really think I don’t understand some of this stuff?

There are some things, yes, that you’re dealing with that I did not have to deal with. But son, I’ve been there.

Dr. Elena Alawa: Right. And take your parents perspective into consideration, but unfortunately, you know, they don’t have a lot to compare with. Right. You know, and if they don’t get their way, they kind of ignoring the parents perspective, but do take the time to consider, listen to your parents perspective.

They only want your wellness. Something to be

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: said about, you know, you gotta, you gotta make your mistakes, right? You gotta, you gotta rebel. You gotta do some stuff.

Dr. Elena Alawa: Within reason. Right. Yes. No harm intended. No harm intended. Maybe don’t play that part for your kids,

Julie Holton: Reesh. Don’t let them hear you saying it’s okay to rebel a little bit.

No, no, no. It is, but not for our kids.

Dr. Elena Alawa: Edit that out, if you could. Smooth it

Julie Holton: out. Oh, I so appreciate your perspectives, Dr. Alawa. Thank you for taking the time today to talk with us and our guests. We will link to all of your contact information in our show notes so that people can reach out to you with any questions or to set up a time for a discovery call.

So thanks again for being on the show. Thank you so

Dr. Elena Alawa: much, both of you. It has been an honor to be here and thank you so much. Oh,

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: honor was all ours. Thank you.

Julie Holton: That is all for this episode of Think Tank of three. Make sure to subscribe on YouTube, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and we’ll see you next week.