With an interest in food, cooking, hospitality, health, and exercise from a young age, I decided to pursue a career in the field of medical nutritional therapy. I graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Hospital Dietetics. I then graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition and completed a Dietetic Internship program at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. From there I entered the field of Hospital Dietetics as a clinical dietitian at a major medical center, Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, IL. I worked in a variety of areas including pediatrics, bone marrow transplant, pulmonary ICU, liver transplant, and medical/surgical general. I also had the privilege of teaching Master’s of Science degree/dietetic interns. From there I moved to Hines Veteran’s Administration Hospital where I worked first in the Gastroenterology Department and then on the Nutrition Support Team with a great team of medical practitioners helping patients who could not eat by mouth who needed IV nutrition. I loved my work in the hospital, particularly on the Nutrition Support Team. Hines VA’s dietetic internship program was also part of my job and I was passionate about teaching the interns. I learned a tremendous amount of medicine in the 10 years I worked as a registered dietitian. I passed the board certification exam and was also certified in Metabolic Nutrition.
But God had other plans for me.
While working as a registered dietitian, my husband Ross was attending medical school and residency. I was the sole wage earner as he studied long hours and we paid off school debts. I felt like we went to medical school together, as he would phone or page me to help him with a case presentation or report and ask that I look up various medical conditions and differential diagnoses in the medical library for him. (This was before the internet – imagine that?!) Who knew that this would ultimately help me in my own career? When Ross completed his residency training, he began a job with a physical medicine and rehabilitation practice in one of the local Chicago suburbs. He finally had a job! Having learned Prolotherapy, an injection technique that stimulates the body to repair itself, in the last two months of his residency, he was passionate about helping people using this technique he was privileged to learn from the world’s expert, Gustav A Hemwall, MD, who just happened to be located in our town of Oak Park, IL. As God would have it, Ross ended up only working for that physical medicine and rehabilitation practice for about three months! But low and behold, Dr. Hemwall offered him a fabulous opportunity to work alongside of him, learning and becoming an expert in the technique of Prolotherapy.
It became apparent to me that Ross was a fantastic physician and was able to quickly learn how to treat patients’ pain with Prolotherapy. His practice was growing, but he was still overshadowed by working with the world’s expert. People wanted to see Dr. Hemwall, not this new younger associate. Knowing that Dr. Hemwall was nowhere near retirement, even at the age of 83, Ross wanted to start his own medical practice. He hired one employee and they started out together. However, he had a hard time running the administrative details of the practice in addition to seeing the patients. He needed to set up a computer network. He needed to set up a billing department. He needed help with policies and procedures. He needed to hire a nurse. He wanted to add a laboratory. He wanted to add natural medicine services. Wow! Who was going to help him accomplish this?
Yes, this is where the rubber meets the road when you question what path your life has taken. “What do you mean you want me to run the practice? I’m a dietitian. I don’t know anything about these things.”
l tried everything in my power to find someone else to do the job. It didn’t work out that way. The job was mine. I guess the rest is history. Four little rooms in the Medical Arts Building eventually grew to an internationally known medical clinic treating patients from all over the globe with a then-little-known treatment called Prolotherapy.
I learned all I could about setting up a medical practice and running a small business. Some of things I helped Caring Medical do: I purchased computers, set up a computer network, developed a proprietary scheduling and billing software, learned accounting and how tax law governs a business, set up an interview process and hired employees, launched the caringmedical.com website (and many others), set up a CLIA-approved medical laboratory. I developed policies and procedures for running every aspect of Caring Medical, including what is called the “How We Do It Here” Manual. I implemented electronic medical records and phased out paper charts.
Do Not Be Afraid to Try New Things
Since 1995, I have helped Caring Medical set up and run a nutrition center, IV suite, cancer center, women’s center, natural medicine clinic, nutritional store, and of course, a Prolotherapy clinic. Together with the Caring Medical team, I helped implement and a use a wide array of natural medicine treatment protocols to help the patients, developing new protocols that are now used around the globe by other practitioners. Dr. Hauser is an innovator and not afraid to try new things. I am passionate about working with people who are like this because it allows you, the client, to experience so much more than you thought was possible. If the standard way of doing things does not work for you, try something different. Why not? Exactly my point!
Another key aspect of running a successful business is that you need to be outstanding in what you do. This applies not only to actual services that you provide, but every aspect of your company. I attended a business development course for business owners over a period of 5 years that taught me how to provide awesome service to customers in every aspect of the business, working with every member of the team(s). I have always been an honest person, and this trait is key to running a successful business. If you treat customers how you would want to be treated, you are setting yourself up for great success. I worked very hard with the team to create this kind of atmosphere at Caring Medical, not only providing outstanding services, but care and love, so that when patients come to Caring Medical, they know that the experience is special. It also helps to have a great team – and believe me, I have learned a lot about hiring good employees!
In 2008 I justed into the world of social media. I worked with Caring Medical, the Prolotherapy world, and the Hauser Diet world to increase visibility on the web, investing in Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, and provided daily blogs, e-newsletters, and educational videos, among other things, which drastically increased the communication with their customers and created a community of sharing. Because of this in combination with providing an excellent treatment experience with excellent results, the Prolotherapy business flourished even more.
Caring Medical added cellular Prolotherapy, including platelet rich plasma, as well as stem cell Prolotherapy to the practice to help those with more advanced degenerative conditions. Our social media connections rapidly landed this aspect of the practice on the map. Patients contact this office from all over the globe and seek treatment at Caring Medical in Oak Park, Illinois, including places like Egypt, Abu-dabi, Mexico, England, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Canada, Honduras, Brazil, and most of the 50 United States, as well as locally in Oak Park, IL and the local Chicago suburbs.
My experience at Caring Medical, with Prolotherapy, natural medicine, and the medical community at large has been invaluable. I have learned many things. I have made mistakes, but I have learned from them. I have learned what works and what doesn’t work. Difficulties in life help you grow and you become a better person. I have been blessed to be able to facilitate the transformation of a tiny medical practice in Oak Park, IL into a nationally known medical clinic and apply the business of building it to other businesses. Is it not true that those of us in the service industry face the same issues whether we are selling medical services or ice cream? We want to provide awesome service to our customers and we want to spread the word that these services are available – to connect with our customers. This is what I want to help you accomplish.
Sorridi has worked with physicians, medical practices, contractors, artists, restaurant owners, graphic designers, and a wide array of business owners to help them turn stress into smiles.
I work using an individualized approach with each client. I meet with you, listen to you, and assess your needs. From there we come up with a mutually agreed upon plan. If you are interested in talking to me, I would love to hear from you!