Santé Integrative Medicine: Part-Time Practice, Full-Time Passion
Oct 30, 2012 05:10PM
By Beth Davis
Dr. Connie Deline
Growing up in Canada, Dr. Connie Deline, owner of Santé Integrative Medicine, in Harrisburg, knew from a young age that she wanted to practice medicine. She loved learning and loved helping people navigate their way toward health. Her parents were farmers, so she was taught early on that proper nutrition was fundamental to optimal health—a point that she continually reiterated to her patients during the several years she spent as a family physician in northern Ontario.
After relocating to the United States, where she is also board certified in family medicine, Deline planned to undergo fellowship training in integrative medicine. However, her plans were derailed when she abruptly became ill. For nearly two years, she was bedridden with a medical disorder in which the cerebrospinal fluid held in and around her brain and spinal cord leaks out of the surrounding protective sac (dura). While no longer bedridden, if she is upright too long, she gets a severe headache, often accompanied by vomiting. If she remains horizontal, she is fine.
“Being a very ill patient with a rare and disabling disorder deepened my understanding of what patients with severe illness endure,” she explains. “I’d like to think that the experience increased my level of compassion.”
Determined to continue practicing medicine despite continued limitations, Deline went on to receive integrative medicine fellowship training, and then set about figuring out a way to continue seeing patients. Because she can remain upright for only a few hours each day, a part-time consulting practice was the logical choice.
In September, she opened Santé Integrative Medicine at Aspire Urgent Care and Family Medicine, where she partners with patients to improve health by blending conventional and complementary treatment options. Although her office hours are limited, follow-up appointments may be scheduled as virtual visits (via telephone) with much greater scheduling flexibility and patients can reach her easily through secure online messaging.
“I truly enjoy seeing patients and this is a way for me to be practicing within my physical limitations,” she says.