Welcome to Functional Medicine at Atkinson Family Practice! We are excited to announce a transition at AFP which allows for more access to our functional medicine services. Jessica Jimison has moved her practice upstairs to a designated space, and will no longer provide primary care. This move enables her to focus more on the Functional Medicine approach, and offer more opportunity for group-style learning. We are also hoping to have more collaboration between Functional Medicine and the services offered by Dragonfly Integrative Care.
"The key to creating health is figuring out the cause of the problem and then providing the right conditions for the body and soul to thrive."
Functional Medicine is a customized and comprehensive approach to wellness that is science based. It seeks to address your health concerns by supporting your body’s normal healing mechanisms. Functional medicine uses the latest understanding in genetic research, optimizes the body’s metabolic pathways, and thereby addresses the underlying dysfunctions of the body that lead to symptoms and disease.
Meet Jessica Jimison, FNP-C, IFMCP
Jessica was raised in Amherst, grew up as a landscaper, and got her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UMass Amherst. She got her Master’s in Nursing from Boston College and worked as a Nurse Practitioner on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Wolf Point, Montana. She joined AFP in 2016 with nine years of experience in family practice. Jessica loves the blending of science with education that is the practice of medicine, and also the art of working with individuals, meeting people where they are, and empowering them to care for their health. She anticipates becoming an IFMCP (Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Provider) in 2018. Jessica lives with her daughter in Amherst, and enjoys road trips and pruning in the landscape.
Meet Judy Grupenhoff, MS, MEd, Health Coach
For the past 10 years she has worked with adults and adolescents, individually and in groups. Her skills-based approach uses the HeartMath tools and biofeedback system and synthesizes the latest research on stress physiology, neurobiology, and self-compassion These skills help individuals learn to lower stress, manage anxiety, build resilience, and increase well-being. In her free time you can Judy sitting on a rock near water, digging in the garden, or cooking
Meet Liz Gelotte, Medical Scribe
Liz graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Biology. She worked at Northampton Pediatrics before becoming a medical scribe for us here at AFP. If you’ve ever taken a class at AFP or had an appointment with Jessica Jimison (for whom Liz scribes), then you most likely know Liz! She is currently taking classes to become a Functional Medicine Health Coach and will work alongside Jessica upstairs. Her favorite part about working with patients is getting to hear all kinds of stories from all walks of life. In her spare time, Liz likes to go hiking and snowboarding.
Meet Galina Ponomareva, Medical Scribe
Galina received her bachelor’s degree in Dance from the University of Cincinnati with a minor in Psychology. In pursuit of her passion for medicine, she has joined Atkinson Family Practice after receiving a post-baccalaureate certificate in biomedical sciences from Elms College in Chicopee, MA. Galina plans to continue her pursuit of a medical profession in the near future. She would like to explore the full spectrum of medical practice with an emphasis on a patient-central approach. Outside of Atkinson Family Practice, Galina continues to enjoy teaching ballet, playing music and spending time with her family.
Meet Nicole Smigiel, Receptionist
Nicole grew up in Ware, MA and went to Gibbs College in Boston to study Visual Communications. After working retail for a number of years, Nicole decided she needed a change of pace and began school at Porter and Chester in Chicopee in the Allied Health program. She initially heard about AFP from a friend and thought our work environment would be a great fit for her. Nicole has now been with us for a total of four years! Today she works as our Functional Medicine Receptionist upstairs; her favorite part of the job is really getting to know the patients. Nicole lives in Palmer with her husband and hopes to build a family soon. She’s currently focused on helping her husband as they look into purchasing and running an automotive shop. In her spare time, Nicole loves to be outside, hang out with her nieces and nephew, and spend time with amazing friends and family.
Functional Medicine approaches your health from a more holistic perspective than conventional medicine in that it considers all body systems, mind and spirit whereas the different conventional specialties focus on individual body systems.
Conventional medicine excels in life threatening situations (i.e. surgery or heart attack) and end-stage disease management (i.e. cancer or kidney disease). Functional medicine is most effective for primary prevention and reversal of early disease states. That said, your primary care provider is also focused on preventing disease with risk factor management (i.e. healthy weight, smoking cessation, vaccines). Functional Medicine is excellent for targeted prevention of any disease, such as a specific concern for developing Alzheimer’s due to a family history.
Treatment protocols used in conventional medicine are based on outcomes of studies that demonstrated improvement in a significantly larger portion of participants than when a placebo was given. While these protocols do improve outcomes for many people, there are always individuals for whom the “proven treatments” do not help, or even cause harm. Because the Functional Medicine approach is individualized, there cannot be large studies and therefore some would not consider it evidence based. However, all recommendations from Jessica are strongly supported by science (i.e. biochemical pathways and studies that are not necessarily double-blind, placebo-controlled). Functional Medicine treatment involves working directly with the biochemistry of our cells to reverse and prevent disease through diet, lifestyle, supplementation and other interventions.
While both approaches take into account personal medical history, the Functional Medicine model looks at a lifetime of influences such as toxin exposures, emotional traumas, medication use, historical nutrition status, etc. These factors contribute to inflammation which ultimately leads to symptoms and disease.
It is important to note that when integrated appropriately, Functional Medicine and Conventional Medicine are extremely complementary and most effective. AFP’s collaborative model supports this harmony.
The Functional Medicine Suite is now offering a support group for people suffering with Chronic Illness. If you think you could benefit from this class, contact our front desk for more information. This support group is covered by most insurances.
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Further Reading Suggestions
- Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
- Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health by Ben Lynch ND
- The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris
- The Last Best Cure: my Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, and My Life by Donna Jackson Nakazawa