Allopathic Practitioners

For the purpose of this study, the term "allopathic practitioner" is understood to include not only allopathic physicians, but all connected with conventional medicine. This would place osteopathic physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, and a number of other into the "allopathic" category. Chiropractors are classified as "semi-allopathic," for reasons explained on the holistic practitioners page.

According to Robert Polahar, chief executive officer of Knox Community Hospital, there are between 45-50 allopathic and osteopathic physicians practicing medicine in Knox County today. While most of these physicians are associated with KCH, there are a few in the community who are not, for a variety of reasons. There are three nurse practitioners in the county, all of whom have limited privileges to work within the hospital itself. Generally, these "limits" include supervision by a physician. In addition, there are five to six osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) in the county. However, "most manipulations are done by chiropractors in this county."

The practice of allopathic medicine focuses on the identification and alleviation of symptoms in order to treat disease. Practitioners all undergo some form of regulated training, part of which is clinical. This is usually part of a college or professional education. In order to practice medicine, individuals must pass comprehensive state licensing exams as well. The process of medical training emphasizes a number of professional values, including emotional detachment, professional socialization, clinical experience, intervention, and an emphasis on acute and rare illness (Weitz 1996). Such values provide an immediate contrast to the "sound body, sound mind, sound spirit" philosophy of holistic health care. However, integration of the two systems is a distinct possibility.

The allopathic practitioners interviewed for this project varied in exposure to holistic practices. Dr. Allan Bazzoli, who practices out of Knox Community Hospital, works as a holistic and allopathic physician. Throughout his life, Dr Bazzoli has been "never not interested" in holistic practices. Dr. Bazzoli has taken several steps to educate the community about health, from hosting a monthly talk show on the Mount Vernon radio station WMVO on topics related to alternative health care to giving seminars at the Mount Vernon Public Library on the same subject. He describes himself as an "open-minded skeptic," and prefers to think of his work as integrative or complementary medicineľnot abandoning traditional medicine, but not always using it as his first line of attack.

Dr. Bazzoli, however, seems to be one of few with his level of expertise. Other allopathic practitioners in the area did not seem to have the same level of interest. None spoken to, however, completely dismissed alternative therapies. Protesting ignorance, a primary care physician from Mount Vernon explained that though little holistic training was offered in medical school, whatever worked for patients should be advisable.

The allopathic practitioners of Knox County, therefore, have some knowledge of the holistic practices which take place in this county, though not necessarily experience.

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