The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

The Crunchy Allergists’s Advice on Building Patient Trust

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Kara Wada who is a triple board-certified adult and pediatric allergy/immunology and lifestyle medicine physician. She is also the Assistant Fellowship Director and Assistant Clinical Professor at The Ohio State University. 

Dr. Wada shares what it’s like to have Sjogren’s Syndrome and how being an autoimmune patient has taught her how to build trust and better rapport with patients. 

  • [00:56] Why Immunology?
  • [04:36] A Typical Day in Dr. Wada’s life
  • [07:12] Being Diagnosed with Sjorgen’s Syndrome 
  • [11:12] Medical Gaslighting and Building Patient Trust
  • [20:33] Dr. Wada’s Passions Outside of Medicine
  • [24:32] Best Piece of Advice Dr. Wada Has Ever Received

A Day in the Life of an Immunologist

As an allergy and immunology specialist, Dr. Wada sees patients from all ages. Her practice at the university gives her more opportunity to deal with adults. Most patient concerns are about food allergies, sinus problems, asthma, chronic hives, and others. Occasionally, Dr. Wada will be referred to patients with more serious immune system disorders.

Dealing with Sjorgen’s Syndrome 

When Dr. Wada had just become an attending physician, she recalls feeling tired and stiff. Her dentist had also pointed out that her mouth was unusually dry. After doing some blood work, the results confirmed that she does indeed have Sjorgen’s Syndrome. Several months after her diagnosis, Dr. Wada experienced liver inflammation because of a bad flare up. It took a lot of effort to receive proper care and attention even though Dr. Wada was a well-connected physician. This experience taught her to become more compassionate and helpful towards her patients, who are more prone to get brushed aside.

How to Build Trust in Doctor-Patient Relationships

Patients with rare or chronic conditions are oftentimes well-informed about their diseases. Nowadays, patients want to take a more active role in their healthcare by doing their own research. Physicians should learn to see care as a partnership between doctors and patients. Humbly lend an ear to your patients’ stories and validate their experiences even when you don’t have an explanation or solution. Assist them in navigating the healthcare system. Be mindful that trust takes time, especially if patients have had negative past consultations with physicians.

Connect with Dr. Wada via Instagram.

 Got questions, feedback, or suggestions? Send a message to Dr. Erkeda DeRouen’s Instagram or MedSchoolCoach’s Instagram

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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