OEN NewsHelping Patients Navigate the Path to Optimal Health

Dr. Siatta Dunbar’s journey to medicine began as a way to honor her sister, who passed away after battling metastatic breast cancer, and her mother, who died of cardiac arrest a few years later. She wanted to spare others the heartache and loss she had experienced.

But once she began practicing medicine, it felt like she was on a treadmill. The healthcare system didn’t allow her the time, the connection, or the opportunity to truly change her patient’s outcomes. And she was often frustrated with the traditional model of healthcare, where insurance dictates the tests doctors can run.

“What I learned was that traditional healthcare is more about sick care and managing disease than health,” said Dunbar, who is double-board certified in family medicine and lifestyle medicine and has fellowship training in sports medicine.  “When I thought about those patient connections that really satisfied me, those were the ones who came back to me and said, ‘I made some lifestyle changes, and now I have a better quality of life.”  

After 14 years in traditional healthcare, she decided to make a change. She founded Saravit Wellness to help people overcome the challenges that lead to poor sleep, fatigue, weight gain, and a loss of vitality. She started with one-on-one coaching before founding a virtual community she uses to educate members about the six pillars of lifestyle medicine: nutrition, physical activity, stress management, restorative sleep, social connection, and avoidance of risky substances.

Saravit Wellness, which won the Angel Oregon Life & Bioscience (AOBIO) 2023 Emerge Initiative Award, operates outside the confines of insurance, allowing Dunbar to fully partner with her clients on their health journey. The company is built on teamwork, community, and the importance of forming relationships. 

“There is so much value in community,” Dunbar said. “We can make better connections with people who are walking the same life as us, and having a support system increases success.”

Dunbar is in the process of moving her practice into a brick-and-mortar clinic, where she will offer membership-based direct primary care services focused on lifestyle medicine, with an emphasis on preventing common conditions and diseases, from Type 2 diabetes to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic headaches, and more. 

“Not many direct primary care clinics are lifestyle-based,” she said. “It’s a smaller practice, so I can take 60 minutes with people to learn about their life and their goals. I can practice the way I want to, providing personalized care and building relationships. And I can show other up-and-coming physicians—especially nontraditional students, BIPOC students, and others who have been marginalized by the healthcare system—that there’s another way to do medicine that allows us to take good care of our communities.”


Produced by A.wordsmith for OEN

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