Jill Deutsch, MD, a gastroenterologist, specializes in functional GI disorders—issues that are often marked by pain but aren’t clearly diagnosed by routine tests. “I spend a lot of time teasing out someone’s symptoms and trying to find ways to make them feel better,” she explains. “Common conditions are irritable bowel syndrome and chronic abdominal pain. Unfortunately, I am often the third or fourth doctor a patient has talked to because no one can find a diagnosis.”
Toward the end of medical school, Dr. Deutsch discovered yoga, which has shaped not just her own life, but how she works with patients.
“Yoga taught me how to speak better to patients and to people in general, to take a moment and think about my word choice,” she says. “In my field, a lot of what I do is listen to patients, validate their symptoms, and empathize with their concerns.” To that end, Dr. Deutsch is growing her unique perspective on patient care by pursuing a master of community psychology degree.
Dr. Deutsch says she was attracted to digestive health because of the transformation she can witness in patients. “If someone is having 10 bowel movements a day or trouble swallowing, and I can change their lifestyle or perform a procedure to improve their symptoms, then I have greatly improved the quality of life,” she says, adding that she is also interested in complementary and alternative medicines as an adjunct, including hypnotherapy.