Our Physician Assistant, Susanne Pettigrew PA-C, NCMP, has been with us for the entirety of true.’s lifetime! She’s been here since the beginning, and we are so lucky to have her. Susanne possesses extensive knowledge of women’s health and has a deep level of care for all our patients. It’s an honor to work with her each day, and we believe it’s time our patients at true. learn more about her!
Functional and Integrative Medicine
One of the unique areas of knowledge Susanne brings to the team is in women’s functional and integrative medicine. It emphasizes approaching healthcare through a lens that encompasses all aspects of a woman’s life, mind, body, and health history. She completed a 10-month long comprehensive training through the Women’s Functional and Integrative Medicine Professional Training Program at the Women’s Integrative Medicine Institute with Dr. Aviva Romm, MD.
Functional and evidence-based medicine brings a variety of benefits when integrated into training. Susanne describes health issues by asking you to imagine a picture of an iceberg. While listing symptoms and diagnosing health conditions are the tip of the visible part of the iceberg, there is much more below the surface of the water that needs attention. Functional medicine looks beneath at the rest of the iceberg which can include things like stress, gut health, inflammation, environmental exposures, and natural imbalances and food triggers. It’s this systematic approach that allows us to look at the root causes. Susanne’s specific training focuses less on test results and supplements, and more on women in their entirety.
Functional medicine looks beneath at the rest of the iceberg which can include things like stress, gut health, inflammation, environmental exposures, and natural imbalances and food triggers.
Thyroid health in particular is one area that functional medicine allows Susanne to address. There are many misunderstandings about how the thyroid works and what allows it to function at its best. This plays a vital role in weight and metabolism and is important in the true. Weight Journey program. Our patients start with a physical exam, a discussion of symptoms, and then an extended lab panel to find out more information about their thyroid function. Any problems found with the thyroid are discussed and a plan of treatment is created, which often involves modifying stress management and nutrition.
An important part of healthy aging that Susanne addresses with her patients is bone health. As women undergo menopause, they lose bone mass and become more susceptible to fractures. Once a significant fracture happens, a woman’s quality of life suffers, and sometimes even life expectancy decreases. Early prevention starts with weight and strength training, a calcium-rich diet, and supplementing with vitamins. Bone density screenings are also a great means of early detection after menopause.
NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner + Specialized Care for Cancer Survivors
Susanne Pettigrew met Dr. Bitner in 2016 working together in a cancer menopause sexual health clinic, where she learned a lot about menopause and sexual health, sparking the desire to gain expertise in this area. She became NAMS certified and regularly attends conferences by the North American Menopause Society and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. Her passion lies in helping women navigate hormonal and sexual changes.
Here at true., Susanne is part of the Cancer Wellness Program, and she has developed a cancer survivorship program for an area health system where she worked with cancer survivors after recovery. Even after being in remission, plenty of women continue to suffer from symptoms like sexual changes, tiredness, and premature menopause. The program works as a bridge to help women get a sense of normalcy in their everyday life through the strength of other survivors, and Susanne finds the work incredibly rewarding. She has also worked in a high-risk breast clinic where she assisted women in learning their personal risk factors for breast cancer, how to lower risks, and get the appropriate screenings for their risk level. A risk assessment for each woman is important because many women who are high risk don’t always know it, and can’t take advantage of advanced screenings for early detection.
Susanne’s Background and Education
The basis for Susanne’s approach to medicine developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she completed her Physician Assistant degree and allowed her to find the areas she wanted to specialize in. She found her specialty in holistic health after working for years in family practice and women’s health. She then did experiential training with Herbert Bensen and his colleagues where she learned about the power of relaxation and mindfulness in relation to healing. Her training also includes a Master’s Level Holistic Health Certificate from West Michigan University.
Thirty years of experience and training make Ms. Pettigrew one of the top practitioners in her field, and her contribution is so valuable to us here at true. Susanne uses her knowledge to guide women on a path to health, hope, and healing and can also be designated as your PCP within our Complete Wellness Program. She says she feels lucky to work with doctors like Dr. Bitner and Dr. Egan by her side, and the feeling is mutual! There’s so much appreciation for our team in Susanne’s heart and gratitude for being able to practice medicine in an environment like ours. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Susanne!