"Up Close and Personal": Davis Life Magazine Interviews Dr. Goodman
As an independent physician, Dr. Michael Goodman departs from today’s mainstream practices in order to be the kind of physician most patients dream of. And if you happen to be female, you are doubly in luck (no offense, fellas; he hasn’t fully left you out, as you will see). Yes, his practice takes in the normal spectrum of a gynecological practice, but he has taken it further - much further. If you have concerns with menopause, bone density, or vulvo-vaginal aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, he’s your doc. And we cannot forget sexual medicine.
Dr. Goodman is set apart, on numerous levels, from many of the physicians of today. Since he is not part of managed care, in which someone else determines who you will see and how much time the physician can spend with a patient, he has the freedom to give his patients the care he feels they deserve. “I don’t participate in managed care, but I do participate in PPO [preferred provider organizations] where patients have their choice. I enjoy practicing medicine this way - a lot more satisfying than seeing five to six patients an hour,” he stated. “I spend 45 minutes to an hour with new patients. And I see return patients for 20 to 30 minutes.”
Regarding menopausal medicine, Dr. Goodman describes the nature of his work, “A menopausal practitioner ideally takes care of the whole person. Busy OBs can’t do that. So, if you’re a woman in your 40s, 50s or 60s, you may have problems…with your lipids, with the cholesterol, thyroid problems, adrenal problems; you may have problems with distress and anxiety, bone density.” He added that he is the only person certified and trained in menopausal medicine in this area.
“Menopausal medicine is not exclusive, it’s inclusive. So it’s a combination,” Dr. Goodman explains. He clarifies that it’s not solely gynecological, but that it includes psychiatry, psychology, endocrinology and cardiology. “It’s health maintenance, having to do with exercise, life style, and sexual medicine, both with women and with men…and couples.” By comparison, he noted that, in the average OB/GYN practice, the emphasis is on obstetrics. “The average OB/GYN has a modicum of training in menopausal medicine, but really very little beyond basic hormone therapy,” he stated, noting that menopausal medicine is not officially recognized as a gynecology subspecialty yet, but he believes it will be in time.
When asked whether menopausal medicine is the focus of his practice, he responded, “I’d say [it’s] about 80 percent of my patients. The rest is a mixed bag…the usual things that an OB/GYN would see, with the exception of OB. I don’t do any obstetrics. An increasing part of my practice is vulvo-vaginal aesthetics - surgery on the vulva and the vagina - both for comfort, for self-esteem and sexual pleasure.” His work also includes gynecological endocrinology, difficult PMS, women with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue - “people,” he said, “who require a lot of listening to, a lot of time, a lot of attention. I feel for a lot of the docs I know pretty well who would like to spend that time, but just don’t have it.”
And just what was the path leading Dr. Goodman to medicine? Pensive for a moment, perhaps taking in the sum total of his pre-practice life, he offered, “Wanting to help people, honestly.” He knew this well before heading to college. “The idea of being of use and being of service. I enjoyed science, interacting with people.” He said he was the black sheep of the family since the rest of his family members are dentists.
Dr. Goodman attended college in Kalamazoo, Michigan, followed by medical school at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. His internship and residency both took place in California, at Highland Alameda County Hospital and Stanford University, respectively. From there, he spent more than 25 years in practice on the Mendocino Coast, followed by a stint in the East Bay, ultimately settling in Davis in 2000. From his Web site, www.caringforwomyn.com, you will find a noteworthy list of professional organizations in which he was a member.
He has a number of avenues through which he disseminates the knowledge he has acquired over the past 35 years. He has written three books. The second book, on menopause, "The Midlife Bible - A Woman’s Survival Guide," 2nd Edition, replaced the first. His third, for “the guys,” "Men-opause - The Book for Men," arrived on the market this year. “Most of my free time, I write,” he said. “I write a lot of articles. I write for the Davis Enterprise, and I provide content for several Internet sites. I’m writing a 600- to 2,000-word article at least every couple of months.” Additionally, he has done radio interviews and holds seminars.
Dr. Goodman has much to say about the state of health care these days. “There’s no organization that looks out after patients, really. The only person that looked out after that individual patient, and was their representative, was their physician.” He is clear that this is a huge loss with managed care. “No longer can physicians be ombudsmen for their patients in a managed care organization. It’s contrary to the organization.” He also puts a responsibility on the public to speak up, and the government to respond. “Our legislators, that we elect, and ourselves [the public], time after time defeated universal health care.”
His history also includes support for midwifery. During his time on the Mendocino coast, his group was the first in the state that worked with nurse midwifes, developing, in the process, protocols for working with midwives in the hospital. Dr. Goodman added, “Those protocols were adopted by UC Davis and Marin General…and we got to be known as people who worked with midwives.” The midwifery schools at Stanford and the University of California would then send their midwives to Dr. Goodman’s group for internships. As to the status of midwives, he notes that they [nurse midwives] are very much accepted nowadays, though lay midwives are less accepted in some arenas because they are a bit out of the medical care system.
And when he’s not engrossed in doctoring or writing? “I used to white-water kayak,” he shared. “I’ve done rafting down the Colorado. About 7-8 years ago, I stopped heavy duty white-water kayaking after a near-death experience.” He gardens, growing most of the vegetables that the family consumes. “It’s a meditation for me; landscaping; time with the family,” including his sweetheart / fiancé, Michele, and four children: Gabriele, Lauren David, Caleb and Samuel. He noted that, while it can be a juggle, “It’s a wonderful juggle, because mostly I really enjoy the different things that I’m doing.” Additionally, he plays tennis a couple of times each week, and he plays music. “I play Cajun Zydeco music; a little bit of bass. I love to listen to music at the small venues. I love the Palms.”
It is clear that Dr. Goodman enjoys his work. “I very much love the kind of medicine I’m practicing,” he states without hesitation. He enjoys his patient population, noting their independence, their interest, their participation. “They’ve done their research. No one sent them here.”
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