Professor Kerryn Phelps has been a familiar face to many Australians over the last twenty five years during which time she has appeared regularly on television, radio and the print media informing the Australian public on health issues. She is currently the President of the Australian Integrative Medical Association. She founded the Cooper Street clinic and Sydney Integrative Medicine Integrative Medicine clinic in Sydney where she works as a GP. Her textbook “General Practice: The Integrative Approach” with co-author Dr Craig Hassed was published in 2010.
In May 2000, after a year in the position of President of the AMA in NSW, Prof Phelps was elected Federal President of the Australian Medical Association, becoming the first woman to head this organisation and serving a maximum term of three years.
During her time as AMA President she established an advisory committee on complementary medicine which developed the AMA’s first position statement on CAM. She worked with Federal and State governments to find a resolution to the Medical Indemnity crisis that was threatening the medical profession and was instrumental in changing the government’s approach to the Australian medical workforce. She was also an active advocate for the health of indigenous Australians and the rights of refugees, particularly children in detention.
She has been the health writer for the Australian Women’s Weekly for nearly twenty years and writes political commentary for Medical Observer Magazine. She is a regular commentator on general practice, public health, medical politics and human rights issues.
Throughout 2004 she was an advisor to the Australian Computer Society and recently completed a review of the NSW Cancer Council. She is a member of the Board of the Cancer Council NSW and the Colorectal Foundation.
In 2003 Prof. Phelps was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to Health and Medicine. She continues to consult patients in her Sydney clinics and in 2003 was appointed Adjunct Professor at Sydney University in the Faculty of Medicine in the Schools of Public Health and the Discipline of General Practice.
Over the years I have seen personal, professional and scientific evidence of the benefits of stepping outside of the confines of my Western medical training. I have always been fascinated by health and healing and I actively seek ways to enhance the wellbeing of my patients and family with advice on diet, exercise, judicious selection of nutritional supplements, physical therapies, herbal medicines and pharmaceutical preparations in the most appropriate combinations. Little did I think I would one day have to walk that journey myself.
Then in 2003 I had the big personal lesson. A massive pulmonary embolism, a reaction to a pharmaceutical drug I had been taking for only a few weeks, put me in intensive care. It was touch and go for a while. My doctors told me I was lucky to survive, thanks to the fact that I had kept myself fit and had never smoked. My future depended on regular exercise and a healthy approach to life in all ways. My doctors, blood thinning medicines, technology and a rain-hail-or-shine attitude to daily exercise got me back on my feet and back to work. But 90% was not good enough. I felt I could get back to 100%. And so my own search for answers began. With the help of some changes in diet, supplements recommended by a naturopath, body work from a kinesiologist/ chiropractor and a lot of determination, I got there.
Just as we hear of medical/ technological miracles, in my practice I have seen patients achieve amazing results through questioning, exploring options and demanding alternatives. The need for this sort of approach has been thrown into the spotlight in recent years with the emerging evidence on the risks of hormone replacement in menopausal women and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in arthritis.
Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise are being increasingly recognized as the solution to many of the epidemics of Western society.obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer to name a few. Prevention is the key word. It means stopping disease from developing through lifelong healthy habits. But even if you have developed a disease, it will not be too late for prevention. That is when you can take stock, get the right advice and make changes that will help you recover, heal or improve how well you are able to feel. This concept works best if the practitioners involved in a person’s health care communicate closely.
In putting together the Sydney Integrative Medicine team, I sought practitioners with substantial clinical experience and a range of skills, and with a commitment to continuing education. I searched for practitioners with a mutual respect for each other’s approach to evidence-based health care who were excited about the prospect of working in a multi-disciplinary team.
So Sydney Integrative Medicine brings together expertise in the areas of general medical practice, public health and clinical preventive medicine, mind-body medicine, sports medicine, nutrition, dietetics, naturopathy, herbal medicine, and exercise science.
I look forward to welcoming you to the clinic to create a healthier you.
Professor Phelps is welcoming new patients.
PROF. KERRYN PHELPS AM
MBBS (Syd), FRACGP
Now on Twitter @drkerrynphelps