When Dr. Ruchi Kaul decided to name her practice Maitri Wellness, she knew that the word “maitri” translates from Sanskrit to mean “unconditional loving-kindness.” She soon realized that the name accurately reflected her foundational mantra as a physician who focuses on direct-care, integrative medicine. She has a love of life relationships, experiences and learning that enhance the services she provides throughout her practice.
How Did You Get Started in Medicine?
I grew up in Westchester, New York. My dad was a pediatric infectious disease physician, and my mom had a radiation oncology practice. I attended Dartmouth for my undergraduate degree in Spanish and later went back for my Masters in Epidemiology and Biochemistry. I attended Case Western Medical School in South Bend, Indiana and did my residency in South Bend and later at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.
My mom and dad were born in India. When I was 10, my dad thought he may want to move the family back there, so I accompanied him for six months while my mom stayed in the U.S. During that time, I learned to read and write Hindi. My dad ultimately made the decision to return to the United States, but I gained valuable cultural insights while I was in India. As I developed an interest in entering the medical field as a young adult, I began working in my parents’ practices and learned a great deal about my future profession. I also developed skills in caring for and understanding the needs of patients.
You Have an Interesting Background…How Does that History Help You in Your Field?
I majored in Spanish as an undergraduate, which is useful because translation comes up frequently when communicating with my patients. My love of travel gave me an expanded view of the world and its traditions and cultures. That understanding adds a lot to my practice, especially when navigating my patients’ questions. Life experiences, health, diet, and ethnicity are all interwoven. Every part of one’s journey affects their whole journey; everyone has different needs. I feel these experiences, along with working in the practices of my parents, gave me a sensitivity to the fact that everyone has a story and a background that requires understanding in order to provide them the highest level of care.
Describe Your Philosophy of Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine is the complementary combination of traditional and alternative medicines. Being a product of Indian culture, I have seen the benefits first-hand of Indian traditional medicine, called Ayurveda, which uses a variety of herbal medicines. It embraces the benefits of yoga, acupuncture (a component of my practice) and self-care. This alternative influence emphasizes putting time and effort into the care of your body. Of course, if traditional treatment or medications are required, I prescribe them. But I believe in listening to your body first.
Tell Us About Your Model of Medical Care
My office provides Direct Primary Care (DPC) which is beneficial to the patient because my one true goal is to take care of people and their health. For a flat fee of $150 per month, a patient receives my cell phone number and can call, text or make an appointment as often as necessary. I do not accept insurance because insurance does not cover the kind of care I provide. I spend up to 90 minutes with a patient on a typical visit because it can take that long to really understand what is going on and to get to the bottom of the symptoms they are experiencing.
I help my patients understand and navigate the medical system. I speak directly to the specialists I refer them to and help them work through medical records and paperwork as well. As a family medicine practitioner, I focus on the entire family; especially when a patient is going through a serious medical crisis. I take the supporting family’s needs into consideration and make sure they are receiving the resources they need along with my patient. My goal is to remove the obstacles from your health care and the concern of costs. I am here to be your medical “quarterback” in order to provide the best outcome for your health care needs.