In this episode of Functional Medicine Research, I interview Dr. Ron Parks in a discussion about COVID-19 and the mental health crises. Dr. Parks has written a new book "COVID-19 and Mental Health Crises" which we discuss as well as a variety of other topics that can help those afflicted by this pandemic.
The mental health aspects of COVID-19 are often overlooked with more of a focus on the physical aspects of the illness, medications, vaccines etc. As usual in the United States, mental health is pushed to the back of the bus with little to no dialogue or support for those who need psychological support. Dr. Parks provides a voice for those in need with his excellent new book.
Full Transcript on COVID-19 Mental Health Crises
Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome, everyone, to Functional Medicine Research. I'm Dr. Hedberg. Very excited today to have my good friend and colleague, Dr. Ron Parks, on the show. And we're gonna be talking about his new book. And Dr. Parks is a respected physician, teacher, book author, writer, and mentor, with an integrative and holistic perspective. He especially trained in internal medicine, nutrition, preventive medicine, and board-certified in psychiatry. Currently, Dr. Parks is the medical director and psychiatrist for The Center for Spiritual Emergence and Katharos Sanctuary in Asheville, North Carolina. He has an MD from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in public health and health service research from the University of California at Los Angeles. He has completed specialty training and internal medicine at George Washington University, preventive medicine at UCLA, and psychiatry at the University of Maryland. Dr. Parks is a former assistant professor at the Albany and University of Miami Medical School, chief of internal medicine at the Homestead Air Force Base Hospital in Florida, former director of the Center for Preventive and Nutritional Healthcare in Baltimore, Maryland, and founder of the MacroHealth Medicine, a comprehensive and holistic consultative and treatment service, formerly in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. Parks, welcome to the show.
Dr. Parks: Well, thank you, Nik. Thank you for having me.
Dr. Hedberg: Yeah. I'm looking forward to this. So, you've written a new book, it's called "COVID-19 and Mental Health Crises." So, we're gonna dig into that. But before we do that, can you just talk a little bit about how you got into integrative functional medicine and psychiatry?
Dr. Parks: Well, that's a good question. Actually, it started when I was very young. I think I write a little bit about this in the book. I came down one summer as a kid with polio. And it was very upsetting, of course. And I compared it to the current COVID crisis. Back then there was no treatment and everybody had been waiting 10 years, 8 to 10 years for a vaccine. But here I was, a young, healthy, athletic kid that suddenly was running high fevers and a stiff neck. So, I ended up in the hospital at a children's ward. And back then the only treatment they had was more of a natural treatment called the Sister Kenny treatment. It was like a heat treatment. They wrap you in warm towels. And so that was my first exposure to, you know, what I would call functional medicine or holistic medicine. Though I had a sweat through it, but luckily, I didn't end up with the paralytic form of it, but sometimes I do think I have some of the long...they're talking about with a new virus, the long hauler syndrome. But with polio, there were some aftermaths there, and I think maybe some of the weakness I had some time in the legs and things like that might be from that.
But anyway, that got me started on the path of interest in broader treatment programs. But a lot of it came, though, from my being formally, formally trained in internal medicine, where everything was about labels and diagnosis. And I remember in training, I got yelled at by the pathology teacher because I looked at a slide and ...