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Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville Brings Integrative Medicine to the First Coast

When Dr. J.W. Hayes founded Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville in 1932, the practice had one office in Arlington. Today, the pediatric practice becomes the first in the nation to integrate classroom training with traditional medicine at one of its three area offices.

But Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville is not stopping at teaching classes about nutrition and healthy living. Principle physician, Dr. Aylin Ozdemir, is introducing comprehensive Integrative Medicine to the parents and children of Northeast Florida.

“Patients may come into the office conditioned to be put on medication and if they leave here without a prescription, we may feel like we haven’t done our job,” said Ozdemir. “If I could spend some extra time asking them about their micronutrients, their sun exposure, their diet, lifestyle and stress, and what it does to the body, we may take care of the whole person and not just the symptoms they are experiencing that day.”

Known affectionately as Dr. O to her patients, Ozdemir participated in a training fellowship at the world-renown University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. The center and its fellowship program were created by Andrew Weil, M.D., founder of Integrative Medicine. She is one of approximately 600 fellows that the Center has trained on the international level since 1998.

To introduce Integrative Medicine to the First Coast, Dr. O has opened a 5,000 square foot clinic in Ponte Vedra Beach that offers a unique blend of traditional medical services with holistic care, therapy and education.

“We believe educational problems are rooted in a medical condition related to cognitive processing disorders and delayed processing speed, rather than a lack of intelligence on the part of the child,” Ozdemir said. “The child will learn if you first treat the processing obstacles by prescribing cognitive processing enhancing techniques. There are tools such as “Brainjogging” for enhancing cognitive efficiency. Without drugs, numerous children have begun absorbing new information more proficiently.”

Dr. O’s decision to offer Integrative Medicine in Northeast Florida emerged as more and more parents sought a comprehensive solution to their children’s healthcare.

For example, Dr. O had seen one patient for about five years and, in that time, the patient was diagnosed with Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder that leads to over activity of the thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism. She prescribed the appropriate treatment for the child, but just couldn’t seem to help the patient heal. Further testing revealed that the patient was suffering from a deficiency of Vitamin D, which is one of the main triggers for autoimmune disorders. Once the mystery of the vitamin deficiency was solved, the child healed.

Enhancing the lives of children remains the center of Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville. That’s why Ozdemir has put so much effort in making the Integrative Medical clinic not just a place to heal, but also a place to learn, grow and have fun.

Children who enter the new facility are welcomed by a colorful cruise ship theme adorned with images of sand castles, pelicans, surfing waves and, most of all… love. Dr. O and her staff strive to care for the entire child. That’s why she has built into the center a complete yoga room, a classroom kitchen, massage therapy rooms, as well as rooms where patients can undergo physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and art therapy.

This is a new day in medicine! “Our nutritionist teaches the benefits of having a plant-based whole food diet, as she cooks with the children,” Ozdemir said. “Our play therapist uses guided imagery to equip children with conflict resolution skills, or treat children who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety.” And our education specialist works to build neuronal pathways for focusing, learning and retaining new information. Why medicate if you can educate to remedy the symptoms?

Dr. O’s care and concern for the whole child is rooted in her own upbringing in Turkey. Describing herself as a child who suffered from bronchitis and asthma, Dr. O says her family physician was a great example of what it meant to care and heal the sick and infirmed. “I remember his warm hands and compassionate smile,” she said. “He looked at the whole person.”

Because of her love for children, Dr. O spent decades learning at some of the finest institutions that care for children, to become a pediatrician herself. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies at Medical School at the University of Istanbul in 1992, she interned at Queen Mary’s Hospital for children in the United Kingdom and did her residency at Long Island College Hospital. Additionally, this vivacious physician worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Ozdemir is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is multi-lingual, and has a special interest in childhood behavioral problems, academic difficulties, ADHD, allergies, asthma, and genetics.

Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville’s Ponte Vedra Beach facility is pleased to offer BRAINJOGGING, a unique cognitive processing enhancement software program to assist students who are suffering from concentration problems, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, language processing disorders, processing speed, working memory or other learning-related challenges. Brainjogging, developed by LaGrange, GA.-based educational expert Shirley Pennebaker, M.Ed., is a patented computer program, which utilizes visual stimuli to enhance learning efficiency by building and strengthening the brain’s synaptic connections.

“We are seeing excellent results with the students,” said Dr. O. “Some students who entered the program with hyperactivity now enter the classroom calm and centered!”
The children are gaining cognitive control. According to research from the Salk Institute, seven independent brain waves adjust to a visual flash stimulus as exhibited in Brainjogging. This allows the student to focus on what is important.

Brainjogging uses elements of existing cognitive behavioral therapies, as well as bilateral sets of left and right eye movements to minimize anxiety and body sensations associated with the recall of unwanted memories and replaces distressing images with new favorable academic hard core, Ozdemir said.

Backed by years of scientific research, Brainjogging is also used to aid students with anxiety and depression to work on cognitive control. It can also benefit individuals with ADHD, Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome,” Ozdemir said.

“We take a medical approach to education because we believe that education starts with the whole person,” Ozdemir said. “We may balance their micronutrients and nutrition, mind and spirit, which result in a more centered and balanced individual at an early age, so they may perform at optimum health.”

The results of the first Brainjogging class were so popular, students signed up for a second class that will take them deeper into the training. Ozdemir is reaching a whole new generation of children who are now able to access care of their mind, body and spirit.

“Every weakness has a unique strength, so we need to find it in children,” she said. “When we use a very holistic approach, and look at the child as a whole person, we can overcome those weaknesses.”

More on Brainjogging:
• Based on years of documented academic and scientific research
• Improves Cognitive Processing, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Language Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Tourette’s Syndrome
• Is customized to meet individual students’ needs
• Works best on a good night’s sleep and no video games
• Enhances the brain’s ability to process information
• Builds child’s self-esteem and confidence
• Utilizes songs, physical movement, and poetry to enhance learning skills

Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville’s Locations:

Dr. O’s Integrative Medical Center
1102 A1A N., Unit 104
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
Phone: (904) 273-6533
Fax: (904) 273-6532

Julington Creek
1633 Race Track Rd, Suite 103
Jacksonville, FL 32259
Phone: (904) 287-7000
Fax: (904) 460-2212

4745 Sutton Park Court, Suite 801
Jacksonville, FL 32224
Phone: (904) 743-2100
Fax: (904) 743-1759