Dr. Lola Ogbonlowo M.D. called her Family Medicine & Wellness practice in Lansdowne “Lighthouse,” because she intends it to be a beacon to those who are struggling with health issues and in need of both healing and hope. “"A lighthouse is a place of guidance, direction, navigation, calm, refuge, a safe place. A lighthouse structure can be seen from far away, like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. I would like our practice to embody this in our community.... We take the time and we listen.”
What that means in practice is that when a patient comes in complaining of headaches, she doesn’t immediately ship them off to neurology. She methodically develops a treatment plan to address the pain and possible underlying causes and lines up a specialist when necessary. Ditto with patients with arthritis; the extent of joint damage can be established through X-rays, but as a “Full Spectrum Family Medicine” practice, Dr. Ogbonlowo believes in providing personalized, medical care that’s within the full range of her expertise. “I can give them a steroid injection and send them to physical therapy and they feel much better.”
As a resident, she also trained in hospital medicine where continuity of care was key, she explains. She then spent several years in the Valley Health System in Winchester before starting her new practice in Loudoun County a little over a year ago. “There’s an important place for specialists, but if we can provide treatment, that can cut down on the health burden.” Her commitment to family medicine also inspires her to stay up to date on medical break-throughs and pursue certifications that will help both current and future patients. Recently, she spent the last year and a half becoming certified in obesity medicine, for example.
Digging deeper into her background, it becomes clear that her entire career has been about just making herself available to God’s calling as a healer. Even before medical school, she worked as a board-certified lactation consultant. In college she previously volunteered with the D.C. free clinic Bread for the City and shadowed Dr. Randy Abramson. She remembers how the underserved were treated with dignity and respect and that later inspired her to pursue a licensed medical career. Because of the gap in her undergrad work and deciding to pursue med school, she first obtained a masters in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, then graduated from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts in 2014. She completed a family medicine residency at Genesys Regional Medical Center, Grand Blanc, Michigan in 2018.
During medical school she founded an organization called Bridging the Gap to help connect the students with local service opportunities. She has participated in medical mission trips to Haiti and El Salvador and volunteers locally at the Loudoun free medical clinic in Leesburg. It could be, she allows, that practicing medicine in poorer countries with fewer resources made her both more resourceful and confident in her diagnostic and treatment skills, and that she can master any medical approaches or treatments necessary to help her patients thrive.
“I do believe that. I think for me, if I can learn it to help someone then I will.” Fascinated with a whole person approach and exploring root causes – which also includes using food as medicine and optimizing overall health factors – she now also provides bioidentical hormone therapy in addition to weight management therapies. “This is the heart of personalized medicine,” she explained; it’s not a one-size fits all. “It’s what puts the ‘family’ in family medicine.”