Heather Auld, MD
Heather Auld, M.D. is dual board certified in OB/GYN, and Integrative Medicine.
It was never a question whether I would go into medicine. It’s in my blood, just as gardening is, but now my two loves are united. Farming and healing were passions of both my grandfather and father, and both were medical doctors. My grandfather began his practice as the only physician in the county in rural South Dakota. He started in the pre-antibiotic era. I still remember him consulting notecards that he kept in a recipe box that contained formulas for herbal medicines. My father was a family practitioner who delivered most of the babies in town – often with me in tow. Afterward, he would bring all hospitalized patients a flowering plant that he had started in his greenhouse.
Fast forward to my medical career. I had tried to find a vocational calling in a less demanding area, but in the end chose OB/GYN undoubtedly from having watched my father deliver so many babies and for twenty-five years I was privileged to be with many mothers on one of the most important days of their lives. During the last ten years of my OB/GYN practice women started to bring me bags full of vitamins and supplements asking my opinion. I did not know very much about herbs and supplements, other than what I gleaned growing up; that was simply not a part of my medical training. In pursuit of further education, I ended up enrolling in a two-year fellowship at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine under Dr. Andrew Weil in 2011. Not only did it change the way I practiced medicine, but it changed who I am. Reignited was my family passion for herbs and plants. In 2015, I sat for the American Board of Physician Specialties exam in Integrative Medicine. At the same time, Lee Health hired Teresa Spano, a Naturopathic Doctor and me to start a department of Integrative Medicine. Integrative Medicine does use traditional medicine but usually starts with food, lifestyle, and herbs. High quality supplements and herbs are frequently very effective with fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals.
Research is showing that medical cannabis is the ultimate herbal medicine, that is why in April of this year, Dr. Spano and I joined with Dr. Barry Gordon in forming SWFL Integrative Medicine and Compassionate Cannabis. It is a unique practice that not only draws on vast knowledge of women’s health and the full complement of herbal medicine, but addresses each patient’s individual needs, whether they involve coming off addictive prescriptions, neurological problems , arthritis, chronic pain, anxiety, hormonal and digestive issues, autoimmune disease, cancer, or any of a host other chronic illnesses that have challenged western medicine. Our bodies have specific receptors for cannabis and as we discover more about each of its hundreds of components, we may soon find medical cannabis leaping to the head of the line of preferred treatments for many health issues.
Medicine and the love of plants – a perfect marriage.