“Although people will look back and say, how in the world do urology and gastroenterology fit in with each other? They have everything to do with each other because we focus on the foundation,” says Michelle Pearlman, MD.
Sisters Michelle Pearlman, MD, and Amy Pearlman, MD, recently left their careers in academic medicine to start a private practice together. In this video, they share why they made this move and give an overview of their practice.
Amy Pearlman, MD: My name is Amy Pearlman. I'm a urologist. I was in academic medicine for 4 and a half years and recently decided to step away and relocate to South Florida to join forces with my twin sister. My focus and expertise are in men's health, male sexual health, and genitourinary reconstruction. Part of my practice also involves performing gender-affirming care. My goal with this new practice is to continue offering those services and really focus on education and comprehensive care, but also bringing in some of the innovative therapies that are up and coming and where more and more research is being used to support their use. One of the big reasons why I chose to take a change in my career is I want to spend time with patients. I want to be able to sit down with someone for 30 minutes, an hour, and learn about them and talk to them about all the treatment options and not run 2 hours behind in clinic. I don't want my patients to wait that long. That was really the impetus for me changing careers.
Michelle Pearlman, MD: I'm Michelle Pearlman, and I'm a gastroenterologist and physician nutrition specialist. I'm board certified in internal medicine, gastro, and obesity medicine. I became interested in this field because I went through it myself. I used to be a bodybuilder and I saw that side of the spectrum, where what we think is such a healthy lifestyle is actually very far from it. I learned from my own self that when I ate crap, I felt like crap. I was tired of feeling like crap, so I stopped eating crap. That helped me realize the true importance that food truly is medicine, and it should not be considered "alternative;" it should not be considered a last-ditch option. It is the foundation to everything that we do, whether you're well or unwell. That's why I changed my career from over 4 years in academics. I wasn't given the time or the true opportunity to sit down with someone. A 60-year-old patient comes in with heart failure and chronic kidney disease, and they say, "I'm in and out of the hospital with heart failure exacerbations. My doctor told me I need to lose weight, and I need help." I can't do that in 10 minutes. I need to figure out, what are their comorbid conditions, what medications they're on, why have they failed with weight loss in the past? Because this isn't their first rodeo. They've been struggling with this for decades. So how am I going to change the cycle so that they're not in and out of the hospital? It's easy for me to get someone to lose weight if I put them on a starvation diet and say, "Take these injections and eat 800 calories a day." That's easy. That's not the challenge. That's what a lot of practices are all about. The challenge is understanding, where's the person coming from? What does their household look like? We don't live in a bubble. Do they have kids at home with a lot of food allergies? Do they have a significant other that has to eat a certain way? Are they a busy business woman or man and they're traveling all the time, and they aren't going to meal prep, so me telling them to meal prep is just not going to work for them? How can we make 1 change at a time to help them again, not just lose the weight, but maintain that weight loss and become a better version of themselves. And so my sister and I joined forces. Although people will look back and say, how in the world do urology and gastroenterology fit in with each other? They have everything to do with each other because we focus on the foundation. Men come to Amy and say, "This doesn't work." But she goes back to say okay, "You're a 35-year-old male. Why do you have erectile dysfunction?" Maybe it's not actually a penis issue. The penis is a barometer for everything else going on in your life. Let's talk about your diet. Let's talk about your exercise habits. Are you sleeping? There are actually so many things that intertwine with what we do.
This transcript was edited for clarity.