Dr. Verma is double board certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. She graduated magna cum laude from The College of NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers Medical School in NJ (formerly known as Robert Wood Johnson Medical School). Dr. Verma completed her family medicine residency at Somerset Medical Center and was elected chief resident. When she is not busy raising and playing with her three boys, she enjoys music, the beach, healthy cooking, reading, exercising and hopes to travel the world one day. She is an accomplished dancer and tennis player and enjoys being competitive in any sports or games.
1. How long have you lived in the Tampa Bay area?
I was born in Queens, NY and lived most of my life in Jersey. I moved to Miami in 2006 and settled in Clearwater, FL in 2007.
2. What is your favorite Tampa Bay restaurant?
I love how this area is represented by Clearwater, St Pete and Tampa. I think Pinellas County is unique because it is basically a peninsula with the Tampa Bay on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west. I have been exploring Safety Harbor, and I love the quaint vibe. Green Springs Bistro and Floribbean and Tapping the Vine are eclectic. In the Clearwater area, Positano and Mystic Fish are fun. In St Pete I enjoy Castille and Sea Salt. And in Tampa, I am just beginning to venture out, but Ulele and Haven appeal to me. I am a foodie….but in a very healthy way.
3. Where is your favorite place in Tampa Bay to relax?
Believe it or not, my backyard is a sanctuary. I also love going to my beach place on St Pete beach, Gulf Blvd. The beach to me is my escape from reality. It reenergizes me and grounds me.
4. How important is it for physicians to be involved with their communities and how important is it to you personally?
I have always valued being involved with the community. During medical school and residency, I was very active in going out into the community and doing lectures and workshops. It is important for physicians to educate the general public outside of seeing them as patients. We don’t get enough time to fully educate patients during their medical visit with the constraints of insurance and time.
5. What is integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine and its principles are based a lot on holistic wellness and Ayurvedic medicine, which is arguably the most ancient and intricate medicinal system in the world, dating back over 10,000 years. Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine and an approach to health care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. It neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
6. In your opinion, are more people today seeking out this type of medicine?
What I have been seeing is a general frustration with people who are sick and tired of feeling tired and sick. While there is always a place for traditional Westernized medicine, the philosophies of Eastern medicine and integrative medicine are firmly planting its roots. The emphasis of being preventative is allowing people to take control of their health and chronic disease states. In conjunction with lifestyle modification such as diet and exercise and taking natural supplements, mindfulness about one’s genetics and environmental exposures plays a big part in determining the course of health, aging, longevity and so much more.
7. What are the major benefits of integrative medicine?
It is disturbing that America has some of the highest rates of cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, just to name a few…and what integrative medicine allows for is the utilization and optimization of the synergy with mind-body-spirit. This is different from traditional medicine which tends to dissect the body into different systems while treating the disease and not the patient as a whole. This unfortunately dismisses the fact that the body thrives in harmony. For example, poor gut health and micronutrient deficiencies influence brain health which influences inflammation and hormonal imbalance etc.
8. What have been your greatest challenges?
I think some of my challenges were breaking out of the mold of being a traditional MD and having other traditional doctors really embrace what I am doing. That being said, with my traditional medical background and training, patients and doctors trust me and the credibility factor is there, so overall the challenges have transformed into great awareness amongst everyone in a very positive manner.
9. What services do you offer that differ from what you did as a traditional MD?
A major difference from what I did in my previous life as the traditional MD to being an integrative MD now is the type of in-depth testing I offer. Aside from specialized tests like food intolerance or neuroadrenal or micronutrient or immunity tests, my initial bloodwork delves much deeper into genetic and inflammatory markers. I offer IV nutrient therapy and have a very cutting edge piece of equipment called the CVAC pod. For more info on that, go to www.drdeepaverma.com, because there is a lot to explain about that. I prescribe bioidentical hormones and supplements. I can pretty much address any medical issue, but I also know what is out of my scope and when I need to refer to a conventional specialist, I do so without hesitation. Remember, integrative medicine is a marriage of conventional and holistic therapies.
10. Where do you see the future of healthcare going in this country as people start to take more control over their health and wellness?
I can only hope that preventative medicine is something that the health care industry and insurance companies recognizes and helps patients with. Insurance should not only reimburse and cover for illnesses and diseases, but should offer incentives for people to get integrative services while promoting people to be proactive about their wellness.
11. Should primary care physicians refer or offer integrative medicine as an alternative or in some cases as a primary and why?
It would be nice if primary care doctors can be open to offering more of an integrative approach, because after all, we are the front-line physicians, gate-keepers and jack-of-all-trades. And if they cannot do it as a traditional primary care doctor, then they should offer the option to patients to seek out an integrative doctor.
12. Knowing yourself, if you could go back in time and provide your younger self advice, what would it be?
I always say…have no regrets, because at one time, it was exactly what you wanted. But if I were to offer advice to a younger version of myself, or to my three amazing boys…it would be to always stay true to yourself, and though we want to have control over things, sometimes just letting go and having faith can take you far. I had my life planned out by the time I was age 10, and though it eerily played out almost how I planned it, I would have never guessed in a million years how unpredictable life could be. Major life changes allowed me to evolve and be who I am today. It is always a perpetual evolution and self-growth. Radiate positive energy out to the universe and it will come back to you a thousand fold. And then anything is possible!