Who is LEWIS HELLER MD, MBA, CHT
Forty years ago in a high school English class in Northeast Philadelphia, my English teacher came into class one day and said, “There is a city wide essay contest. In 500 words or less, you need to write why Philadelphia is The City of Brotherly Love. This is mandatory for all my students!”
Well, I don’t know how many other students from other schools participated in this contest, but my teacher had 200 students alone and so there were at least that many.
A couple of months later, I found out that I won the contest. Everyone wanted to see what I wrote. They were literally grabbing it out of my hands. What kind of writing was needed to win this contest?
It is my belief that the style of my writing had very little to do with winning that contest. It was the content of what I wrote. The odd thing is that as I wrote it, on an old manual typewriter sitting in front of a 1960 color tv, during commercials of a tv show I was watching (how I did most of my homework in those days or sitting at the racetrack with my dad), it just came right out. Very little thought was involved. It was what I needed to write because it was a personal experience that people could relate to. I needed help in a very specific situation and a family went way out of their way to help me!
Well, now it is my time to help you and I will go way out of my way to do that!
A little about me. There were about 1400 students in my graduating class. My class rank was three. I remember winning about 5 awards. More than any one else in the class. It was almost embarrassing as some of my friends said graduation was like the Lewis Heller show. At the time there was a car rental ad that said, “We are number two, we try harder”. My dad in jest would say, “You are number three, you don’t try at all”.
I have worked with some of the smartest people on the planet, including nobel prize winners. I would say that my dad was as smart as any one I have ever worked with. My mother would be one of the most energetic people you could ever meet. Up to the age of 86 when she passed, she always had tremendous energy. I was lucky to receive some of the dads intelligence and my mother’s energy.
I went on to Haverford College. Now ranked as 7th in the United States among all colleges in terms of academic excellence. I graduated Haverford with the distinction of being nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. While there, I did research in the areas of microbiology and biochemistry and had the honor of having my name listed on several journal articles.
I started medical school at the age of 21. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (– called that until just recently – when a family donated 225 million dollars to get the name changed). The average age of the starting class was 29, many with masters and other advanced degrees. The first year curriculum at the school included what most medical schools take two years. We completed all the basic science courses in that one year. I took and passed part one of the national board exam at the end of that year.
With all that behind me, and at the age of 22, I was ready to begin studying what I thought was going to be the career for the rest of my life. I went to medical school with the intention of being a psychiatrist. I was fascinated with the mind and various conditions of the mind. I had seen “mental illness” in some of those close to me and thought I could help make things better.
Medical School only required one month of psychiatry to get your degree. Since this was going to be my career, I decided to start by taking a two month special elective. Unlike most of my classmates who decided to take the summer off after a grueling first year, I was ready to plunge in. I decided that I would sign up for this course for the summer.
The course was offered at the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital. I believe this is the oldest psychiatric institute in the country. At the age of 22, I got to see some of the most interesting psychiatric cases around. This was a place where the wealthy would send family members dealing with psychiatric issues but there were also many other bizarre cases there.
The very first day on the rotation, I was there with 5 upper classmen. One suggested we go to the cafeteria until the office opened. We grabbed a bite to eat and sat down at a table. An attending psychiatrist, seeing us in our short white coats and realizing we were students, decided to join us. You might think he would introduce himself…..no not this guy. The very first words out of his month were, “My daughter has penis envy, what do you think about that?
Well, I thought that it was strange that that was the first thing one would say when meeting someone for the first time. Maybe a couple of sentences in would have seemed a little more appropriate.
Regardless, I was exposed to some very interesting situations. I got to work with Dr. Newell Fisher who would later become President of the American Psychiatric Society. One thing Dr. Fisher said I will never forget. “You know what the difference is between us and the people inside here? We all have islands of insanity. The only difference is that their islands are bigger than ours.
I realized from my two month experience that there was very little that traditional psychiatry could do to help people. Perhaps, because of the rotation I took, I had a skewed view. Nevertheless, after these two months, I made a choice to take a little 17 year detour.
One thing about Penn, they had the best of the best. I got to see them all in action.
For example, C Everett Koop, previous surgeon general of the United States was one of our attendings. I remember coming to the pediatric floor at 5:30 in the morning. He would show up at around 5:45. I don’t think any of the other students or residents came in until 6:30. They wondered how he knew as much about the cases as they did not realizing that he had already reviewed the charts.
I stood at the operating room table with the surgeon who invented hyperalimentation treatment. I got to spend a month with Dr. Mastroianni. He is one of the most famous ob/gyns in the world. You may remember the video from high school biology of the sperm penetrating the egg for fertilization, that was him. Second in command at Penn was Dr. Garcia, essentially one of the inventors of the birth control pill.
I took a path to ob/gyn because of all the fields, for some reason, I felt this had a combination of good outcomes and variety of work. There was the ability to interact with patients, deliver babies, to solve medical issues and to perform surgery. Most of my classmates pegged me for internal medicine. Perhaps that did not appeal to me then for the same way it does not appeal to me know. It just seemed like the wrong way to treat people. Finding pills to help keeps disease in check until they finally subdued to the illness. A lot a mental masturbation with very little results!
Then came Deepak Chopra with mind body medicine. I attended his program in 1994. Then, almost immediately after that, I took training in hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming, and more recently looking at energy work. I was amazed at some of the results I could get where traditional medicine fell far short.
In 1997, because of an injury, I left my ob/gyn private practice. By this time, I had been using hypnosis for several years. I chose to go back and get an MBA. I went to the executive MBA program at ASU and graduated their in 1999. ( I did have a 4.0 average.) Some of you may be familiar with the term hospitalist. In 1998, hospitalists only existed in the state of California. I was responsible for the first hospitalist group outside of California. I helped to develop the hospitalist program at John C. Lincoln Hospital. In 1999, I was a guest speaker at the Arizona Hospital Association Annual Meeting. I was only in medical administration for 2 years, and here I was up on stage with people who had been in this field for at least 10 years and at least 10 years older than I was.
Working as a medical director for several hospitals in Arizona and then later as a medical consultant for several insurance companies including United Healthcare, it became clearer and clearer that traditional medicine had many shortcomings! Now don’t get me wrong, there are clear times, like in a case of acute trauma where the best place to be may be in a hospital. However, over the years, my perception of hospitals and even emergency rooms has become one of extreme toxicity.
During the entire time period, from 1994 to the present, I have worked with and helped thousands of people with numerous issues using mind-body medicine, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming and energy work. I resigned form my medical director consulting job in March 0f 2011, because I realized it was time to make this my full time career. I was already my passion for the past 17 years.
Yes, it was time, you see 40 years ago someone reached out and helped me and made a difference in my life. Now it’s time for me to reach out and help you!