Grand Valley State University professor Sarah King doesn’t take a Band-Aid approach to life.
She is intentional about living near downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, to help revitalize the area. She is vegetarian because of concerns about the environment. And when it comes to teaching about other cultures, the PhD prefers to take students to other countries for first-hand learning.
So when crippling migraines and early onset menopause made life miserable, 44-year-old King didn’t ask for a prescription to relieve her symptoms.
Instead the Canadian native sought out a practice that would help her take a food-first approach to health.
And she found the perfect match with the providers at Spectrum Health’s STR!VE, which uses a wellness-infused approach to primary care.
“I’m interested in a holistic approach to wellness,” King said. “I know from experience that diet and supplements can help.”
STR!VE providers guided King through an elimination diet, and then added back foods one-by-one to discover migraine triggers. Eventually, King also needed to add daily medication to ward off the headaches, which once sidelined her for 30 out of 40 days. Today, she is working to reduce her dependence on the medication.
“(They have) been really supportive, helping me stay healthy and balanced,” King said.
When she has middle-of-the-night questions, she emails STR!VE and receives a timely response.
“That’s a miracle,” King said. “It’s a thing that makes a huge difference to me.”
STR!VE is located in the Waters Building in downtown Grand Rapids. The spacious waiting area feels like a cross between a spa and a modern, upscale coffee shop.
Members who pay an annual fee of $159 can sip coffee by the fireplace, plug in their laptops to check email or enjoy fruit-infused water.
Any time. Whether or not they have an appointment during the extended office hours that span from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Instead of using exam rooms, STR!VE doctors see patients in their offices. An oversized monitor on the wall mirrors the provider’s computer, so creating notes on patients’ charts is a transparent process. The monitors are also handy for educational purposes, like looking together at an anatomical diagram to discuss health issues.
In addition to traditional primary care services, which are covered by most insurance plans, STR!VE also partners with local resources including fitness centers, massage, a mindfulness center and Arivale, which does DNA testing and coaching about the role of genomics in health.
King didn’t pay much attention to the “extras” until she developed a frozen shoulder, a condition that causes extreme pain and stiffness.
Now she’s combining physical therapy, personal training and genetic information to live her best possible life.
“Frankly … I went because I was interested in the core medical care I needed from the doctor,” King said. “I didn’t know that within a year I would be using all of those things.”