This Breast Cancer Surgeon Uses Holistic Healing to Improve Patients’ Quality of Life
Winner of our very first Health Hero challenge, Dr. Beth DuPree provides patients access to lifestyle modification workshops and holistic healing practices through her non-profit, Healing Consciousness Foundation.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be chatting with some of our past Be Well Philly Health Heroes to give you a glimpse of the people who are helping Philadelphians live healthier lives. Got your own Health Hero to nominate for this year? Do so here.
Name: Beth DuPree, MD FACS, ABOIM
What made you want to become involved with the Breast Health program at Holy Redeemer Health System?
I actually started the Breast Health Program at Holy Redeemer. I was hired in 2009 to attain National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers accreditation for Holy Redeemer Health System as a center of excellence in breast cancer care. Because breast cancer risk is so related to lifestyle, I chose the name “Breast Health Program” to make health the focus, as prevention is key for our society as we move forward. If we simply treat the cancer, then we are not serving a higher purpose of prevention.
How has running the program inspired you to live a healthier life?
I have always been an athlete, so fitness has been part of my daily life from high school through college. Attaining certification in Integrative Medicine helped me truly embrace nutrition as a key component to prevention of all diseases, including cancer.
How has winning the Health Hero Challenge helped you further reach those in need?
The Healing Consciousness Foundation was able to partner with Viver Health to create nutritional educational guides and provide classes and one-on-one sessions to breast cancer thrivers. The goal is to teach them about health and wellness to reduce their risk of getting a second cancer. We also provide fitness classes and yoga to support the physical and emotional wellbeing of patients.
What do you have in the pipeline now?
I am still very involved with Holy Redeemer and The Healing Consciousness Foundation, which are both based in Philadelphia, but I have physically moved to Sedona, Arizona to set up a Breast Health Program in a region that had no such program. Because I was successful at Holy Redeemer and with the support of the foundation, I have been creating massive change in northern Arizona while I care for my personal well being. Hiking the magnificent Red Rocks fuels my soul!
What is a misconception you think people have about what it means to be healthy/what they need to do to be healthy?
Health and wellness is not simply about what an individuals physical body looks like. Every day I see individuals who exercise incessantly, but pollute their body with unhealthy food and alcohol to excess. To be healthy is to be in balance emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Creating balance between how we fuel our bodies (the food), how we continue to move them, (the exercise) and how we feel about ourselves (self-love) is the key to being healthy.
What advice would you give to those looking to make a healthier shift in their lifestyle?
Make small steps that will translate into long-term changes. As you incorporate changes in nutrition, exercise, and meditation, remember to be gentle with yourself and practice the 90/10 rule. 90-percent of the time you need to be living your plan. 10-percent of the time needs to be a free space, otherwise you will set yourself up for failure.
What advice would you give to those looking to help others make a healthier shift in their lifestyles?
Anyone who is coaching, whether a trainer, life coach, physician or life partner, needs to always come from a place of love when giving advice. I tell my patients that we all have opportunities for improvement in our lifestyle. Begin by making a list of the things that need to change, then execute one at a time. Long-term sustainable gains come from small consistent changes, not radical crazy changes which is why in my book, The Healing Consciousness: A Doctor’s Journey to Healing, I argue diet is a four letter word that we should not use.
To sum it all up, here are three big take-aways I can offer:
- Eating to live (and not living to eat) and fueling the temple that our soul is residing in is the goal.
- Move it or lose it. Muscles need to be flexed to stay part of our bodies, so make exercise fun! This is why hiking in Sedona is so good for me, as it moves my body and nourishes my soul.
- Take time to rest your mind with meditation, yoga, or unplugging from technology. I did unplugged for two weeks and it helped immensely.
Know someone who deserves to join DuPree in the ranks of Be Well Philly Health Heroes? Nominate them here.