Interview with Dr Dennis Godby Transcript

Dr. Weatherby:  
I want to welcome everybody to our Practice Success Stories, and today I am joined by Dr. Dennis Godby. He earned his four year ND medical degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon in 2004, and also has a Master of Theological Studies from Maryknoll College of Theology as well. Dr. Godby was one of California’s first licensed primary care naturopathic doctors, and is a nationally known diabetes and abdominal fat loss expert, and is the medical director of the Sacramento Naturopathic Medical Center in Sacramento, California. Dr. Godby was the founder and co-director of The Run, Moving Natural Medicine Forward, and ran 3,000 miles across the United States at a 30 mile per day clip over four months to promote a healthier America and to increase the visibility of naturopathic medicine. And in 2012, Dr. Godby was named California Naturopathic Doctor Association’s Doctor of the Year, so very happy to have you with us Dr. Godby. Perhaps you might be able to share a little bit about your practice, about the types of patients that you see, and the work that you do.

Dr. Godby:          
Well, first of all thank you for inviting me on the call. I’d love to discuss what we’re doing here and how the work that you are doing has been benefitting our practice. At the Sacramento Naturopathic Medical Center, we are primary care mostly. We do pretty much everything other than cancer, and often times I will send patients with specialty cases such as endometriosis or other things, to other naturopathic experts in the area. My specialty is diabetes and I do a lot of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, abdominal fat reduction, as well as a lot of adrenal fatigue and Hashimoto’s and thyroid, and a lot of hormone related biodentical hormones, and then a lot of autoimmune disease. I pretty much do most things that a naturopathic doctor would do in a primary care setting.

Dr. Weatherby:   
Wonderful. Given that my work has been in the assessment and diagnosis area, I’m curious what assessment tools you are using, especially when you’re talking about biodentical hormones and metabolic syndrome and reducing abdominal fat. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the diagnostic and assessment tools that you use in your practice?

Dr. Godby:         
Sure. Well, we do a lot of blood testing. We do blood testing on all patients. We have a basic panel that we actually have called the Dr. Weatherby Panel. And we do a lot of insulin and vitamin D and a lot of cardiovascular markers. We also do a lot of saliva testing for hormones for the adrenal glands and progesterone, estrogen, etc. A lot of heavy metal testing as well as stool testing for probiotics and for infections that oftentimes lead to autoimmune disease; just a whole host of functional medicine testing. I do a lot of neurotransmitter testing, serotonin, GABA, dopamine, so those are some of the most common tests. I do a lot of food allergy tests as well; hidden and delayed food allergies. So, it’s nice to know in the beginning, when a person starts with us, what they are actually allergic to, so it gives us a little bit better idea what that person should be eating, since that’s such an important part of what we do.

 

Dr. Weatherby:  
Given that blood testing is a fairly important part of your assessment and clinical work. Is that something that you typically order on every patient, a full chem screen and a CBC and that type of thing?

 

Dr. Godby:         
Well, it’s so much so that I’ve kind of gotten actually fairly dependent upon it. It’s the assessment tool. I usually say it as a marker, that if I don’t have the full panel, that it’s oftentimes like a chiropractor not being able to do all the x-rays they need or a dentist not being able to x-ray all the teeth. It’s like doing half the teeth or a quarter of the teeth. And so, literally every single marker that I’ve learned through your program, all the way from the beginning, has been instrumental in terms of looking at different key markers. Like I was talking this morning about the LDH and hypoglycemia; it’s about a third of my patients have a low LDH below 140 and there’s about a 90% correlation with hypoglycemia. And I never learned that in medical school and it’s something that I learned through your program. I had a patient call in on a 15 minute patient prospect appointment this morning and she asked if I treat hypoglycemia, and I said, “Yes, I do.” It’s just one of the common things that I do. And these are just things I take for granted at this stage that a lot of practitioners, especially MDs, but just practitioners in general don’t know, because they haven’t been through that program and your book in the beginning always give me those tools as a starting point and I still use that book. It’s surprising it still has bindings left in it.

 

Dr. Weatherby:   
I hear that quite a lot actually. It’s interesting that the blood test is the most common diagnostic test ordered on the planet. And we have this strange thing that happens, because traditionally trained medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, are looking at it through a particular lens. And with the patients that we work with, the common thing is they say, “I’m not feeling very well. I’ve got all these signs and symptoms going on. I go to my doctor. I get this test that’s meant to be the gold standard for identifying what’s going on.” And the doctor quickly runs through, “well you’re kidneys are looking good. Your liver is looking good. Your cholesterol is a little bit high. There’s no anemia, and basically everything seems to be normal”, and yet the work that we do, I very rarely see a normal test.

 

Dr. Godby:          
I don’t think I have ever seen it where everything was in optimal range. That’s absolutely huge. And again, a lot of times when I see the work of other practitioners, including people of my own profession without this background of the optimal range that oftentimes they will miss things like hypothyroidism or high triglycerides or whatever the case may be. I see that every day in my practice with conventional medicine in terms of patients will bring in lab tests from their doctors and hypothyroidism will be missed, eosinophil counts will be high, and oftentimes parasites are missed, triglycerides are missed, vitamin D. It’s just absolutely huge, because the difference between the standard reference range and the optimal range…you know you look at a standard panel coming from a doctor, even with as many markers as we do, oftentimes everything is within range. But, you look at Dr. Weatherby’s optimal range, then you’ll see about maybe 10, 15, 20, 25 things out of range, and the person really has felt terrible even though everything was within the normal range. So, I see this every day. This is a major, major part of my practice and the things that I literally explain to every person that comes in for a B12 shot. I usually give them a shot and then I also explain about that optimal range as an opportunity to tell them about that, because I think that….I even tell them to photocopy this optimal range and send it to friends and family all over the United States, so that when they go to their doctor they will be educated about what to look for.

 

Dr. Weatherby:   
That’s great. You have been studying with me for many years and you know obviously that we have a software program that I developed, you were a very early adopter of that, and if I look at the statistics, you have run over 1,000 lab tests through the system. I’m just curious, from a before and after perspective, what life was like for you doing a manual analysis of blood testing using a book or tracking forms, and maybe compare that to what software tools give you in your practice.

 

Dr. Godby:          
Yeah, well it certainly saves me a lot of time, which is good, because then I can focus on other things. I certainly don’t want to get sloppy and just depend upon the lab testing because it doesn’t cover every topic, just the most major categories. But it certainly saves me time and it also looks very professional to the patients to see something coming out in the software that we’re using modern technology. It’s really nice to see all of the labs laid out from all of the previous and oftentimes we’ll go over the sheet that has…a lot of times people will be doing lab testing three, four, five, eight times, and it will lay it across and see the improvements that they have been making, and that’s really a nice and sophisticated way of approaching that. But it also helps me to expand my awareness, because as a human being, I might miss a few things from time to time getting in a rush. And so it helps me to make sure that I don’t miss anything—it’s kind of double checking me. And it also helps me to think through it a little bit more on that. It’s just really a great tool to be able to use and it’s certainly worth every penny I paid for it, because of the fact that again the time it saves me, the professionalism it has, and it has definitely been a big part of why my business has been very successful over the last year since we have implemented that.

 

Dr. Weatherby:   
Great. That’s really good to hear. You mentioned that when you do B12 shots that you talk about these optimal ranges and you give the optimal ranges to your patients and tell them to share it with their friends and family. I’m curious what the experience has been for patients having a report that sort of lays out a roadmap of potentially where they are and where they might be going. Do you find that they share those reports with people? Have you had any feedback in terms of getting new patients to the clinic because of reporting and because of the tools that you use?

 

Dr. Godby:          
Well one of the things that I think that it definitely does is it builds a rapport oftentimes with other doctors, because what will happen is they will take and share that report with their doctor and the doctor will oftentimes be impressed about the results. And being able to see that or even if they don’t say much, they’re kind of…I can definitely see that in the last 10 years since I have been in practice that the credibility in the medical community has increased, so that can only help. I mean, it’s not necessary, but it’s definitely beneficial because that brings credibility within that patient and it kind of builds their belief. But overall, it’s really been beneficial with patients in terms of being able for them to be able to see that there really is a huge difference. And the number one reason why patients come to me is not because of using natural medicine. That may be number two, but number one is because the doctors didn’t find anything wrong; and the reason they don’t find anything wrong is because they don’t look at it in a functional medicine way. They do very few tests, a blood test, which is a common language between MDs and NDs. They do very few tests. They don’t find anything wrong and the patients come to me and they say my doctor told me there’s nothing wrong, but take these antidepressants just in case. And so it’s just really a medicine that every day I have to shake my head and almost in disbelief. I see it every day, thousands of days now, and it’s still hard for me to believe that we are considered to be not the real doctors. But I think the patients are very much impressed by what they’re seeing and that the blood chemistry report only gives us more credibility with the patients, because again, we are still building the belief. I mean, some patients come in and they’re kind of a little bit skeptical. They may want to do some things the other way, but they’re skeptical about naturopathic medicine and about what we’re doing with a functional medicine approach. So, it just really builds the credibility, and it really gives them an outline of what could be going on that just blows away what they get from the doctor. I mean, I try to speak very respectfully about doctors in my office. I never try to disparage their practitioners. But at the same time, patients can see that and they can see that there is a huge difference between what we’re doing, and the blood chemistry report is just kind of an upgrade from the book and all of those things. It just gives us much more handy tools, and I as American Express says, I wouldn’t leave home without it.

 

Dr. Weatherby:   
Great. Thank you. Both you and I are NDs. We graduated from the same college in Portland, Oregon. I know from my discussions with many NDs across the country and I’m sure you do too, that so many of them struggle in practice. I’m just wondering if there was anything that you might have to share with our colleagues around functional medicine, diagnostic tools, assessment tools, and the type of thing that could maybe help them jump start the way that they work with their patients.

Dr. Godby:          
Yeah. Well, starting a practice at age 48 and delivering newspapers all through medical school for five years, I was a little bit insecure about my knowledge when I came out, so I knew I had to hit the ground running. I had a family to support. I was moving to Sacramento to help.   I wanted to stay in Portland, because that’s where I lived. I wanted to live there the rest of my life, but I felt like I had a calling to come back to Sacramento, and it was not easy to move. And I put that as part of the story because sometimes I think we have to do what we have to do if we’re going to make a profession out of this. My preference was to stay in Portland, but this is where the people needed me. So, the first choice was to come to Sacramento and to embark on a new journey for my family. And I think really the first prescription was working hard, and then through your particular program, I’m working smart now. And I think that a lot of NDs…well, I say some NDs that I run into, that I think that’s a whole working hard. There’s really no substitute for putting in the hours, just the quantity of time that’s necessary. But it’s also I think through your program, we’re working smarter. Because sometimes it’s not just about how hard you work or how many hours you are putting in, but it’s also working smarter. And so the software programs and the books, and every part of the functional medicine that we did over the years really helped. This has been the most significant thing to my practice of anything I’ve done, and our influence with me has been bigger than any ND in America, after I left medical school. So, this has been very significant professionally, business-wise, and I always tell people that Dr. Weatherby is the one who helped bridge the gap to help me be a better doctor and also to be a better business, because business and NDs don’t usually go together too well in terms of we don’t really think about business and financial. It’s not really a big consideration oftentimes in the way we think. We become doctors because we want to help people, but we really don’t think about the financial. And then a lot of people go out of business, because they’re not putting enough effort and time into it businesswise, so a program where a person such as yourself, is really dedicated to helping people to succeed financially and succeed medically to be a great doctor. Those are very rare individuals.

 

Dr. Weatherby:   
Well, I thank you very much for those kind words and many congratulations to you on your success. I know you are very busy in practice, so I want to thank you again for taking time out of your practice to join us today and share your story and again, wish you all the very best as we move forward, and thank you very much Dr. Godby for sharing your story with us today.

 

Dr. Godby:          
Well, thank you for again inviting me. I enjoyed participating in any way that I can help other NDs and other people, chiropractors and other people around the country that are doing functional medicine to succeed. That’s why I ran across the United States.

 

Dr. Weatherby:   
Fantastic. All right, Dr. Godby. Well, thanks everybody for listening in today and we’ll be back with another success story at some time in the future. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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