Author, Health Advocate & AFDNP Member
Kathleen DiChiara was enjoying a successful career in investor relations with a Fortune 500 company when her journey began. It was at that time she developed a sudden-onset neuropathy. That eventually led into having back surgery which left her permanently disabled for life. From there, she found herself in the throes of chronic health conditions such as chronic pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia and early stages of MS. The health care model only offered up options to manage her condition. So Kathleen set out on a path of self-education, which eventually led her to FDN.
This was the beginning of a cascade of chronic disease that the conventional health care model could only offer surgeries and pharmaceuticals to “manage”.
While completing FDN, Kathleen found the principles of the DRESS for Health Success® program brought the focus back to the foundation of health. She found this to be different from even the “integrative” practitioners that still were focusing on supplementation without testing, which again left her with just “managing” her condition. Kathleen shared the most challenging part of the program was having to implement the changes while she still had unbearable pain and fatigue. Even so, she started not only applying the FDN principles on herself but also for her husband and three young children. Kathleen said, the DRESS program put her back into the driver seat of her own health!
Kathleen added, that while, the diet and exercise are still the biggest resistance for most people, in her opinion it is the most underestimated approach available to all of us! The FDN principles have allowed Kathleen to dig deeper for her complex clients. And she believes that functional nutrition offers a higher level of support by identifying the food that will support the healing process and correcting the imbalances in the body through nutritional changes.
I always seem to go back to these key phrases: “Never treat the lab test”and “listen to the client – their story has all the key details”
Kathleen has built a thriving health practice, all by word of mouth. Many of her clients are women and children with chronic conditions such as autoimmune, chronic fatigue, autism, allergies, inflammation and digestive issues.
In addition to being an FDN-P, Kathleen is also a certified Integrative Health Coach, A Bio-Individual Nutrition Practitioner, a grad of Andrea Nakayama’s Holistic Nutrition Lab. She has advanced training in bio-chemistry, immunology, and microbiome and soon will be starting her Doctorate work. She is an accomplished author, of the best-selling book – The Hidden Connection– written in 2014, with a second edition coming out this May. Kathleen is currently working on her new book called – Resilience – which has plans to be released in early 2018. Also, Kathleen is the main feature of the documentary film called Secret Ingredients. Truly amazing work Kathleen, way to go!
Kathleen graciously shared her personal business structure and tips. In her model, the FDN services are built right into her practice. She uses a simplified intake process into an automated, HIPPA compliant software that allows her to streamline the process. Kathleen shared, her clients can electronically book, pay for services, complete their health history, upload existing labs and signed consent forms all in one place. She added, this ultimately helps to diminish the need for many emails and creates professional boundaries.
Kathleen added her top tip for fellow FDNs is to get out and give lectures in your community or provide content on the subject matter you are most excited about in written form – books, guides, posts, social media or other public outlets. For aspiring FDN practitioners, start by helping one person/client…the more you work with people, the more you will learn!
Being viewed as an “expert” is how you build business connections and grow your practice.
Kathleen encourages other FDNs to get involved with organizations that are aligned with your beliefs around health and wellness.
Some of the questions asked and topics covered on this call include:
- What is your story?
- How does your family start to factor in with all of the changes you had to make?
- What kinds of health issues do you see most of?
- When you work with a client, do you work with them for a specific length of time?
- So do you see people face to face or is all long distance now?
- Should a beginning practitioner who is just starting out leverage technology and online tools?
- Any tips for people starting out?
- Which sources are you using for “Food and Medicine”
Check out Kathleen DiChiara’s website: www.kathleendichiara.com