Dr. Heather Vinet
What do you get when you combine a love for science, athleticism and competitiveness with a creative side that is drawn to solving puzzles and connecting with people? Well, in Dr. Heather Vinet’s case, you get a unique combination of skills, compassion and drive that brings a fresh perspective to healing. “I’ve had different education and work experience than most health practitioners, and that journey has led me to a place where I can form a more personal type of relationship with my clients than the traditional doctor/patient scenario that addresses one condition or one system of the body. I feel fortunate to have realized my dream of opening a practice where I can really listen and spend time connecting the dots between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that make up a holistic approach to wellness.”
A self-proclaimed lover of solving puzzles, Dr. Vinet has pieced together an impressive resume that tells of a research scientist turned Holistic Medicine and Healing Nutrition Practitioner that went on to found her practice, Scientifically Natural. Her journey began at Tulane University with a full academic scholarship and an invitation to participate in both Tulane’s Volleyball and Track and Field teams. She graduated cum laude with a degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on research, medical imaging and analysis, and infectious disease. As Director of the Biotelemetry Core in the Veterinary Medicine Division at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, she was an integral part of their research programs with her work published in numerous prestigious scientific journals.
“My early sports and academic successes were inspired by my family,” says Vinet, who is humble and relatable despite her remarkable achievements. “My dad was a football player, with other family members being track athletes, and it was actually my mom who inspired my competitiveness. She has the drive to succeed in everything she does, and taught me that although initial skill is important, success is a direct product of work ethic. I grew up with the goal that no one would outwork me.”
After 15 years at the Primate Center, Dr. Vinet became the Director of Regenerative Medicine at Covington Orthopedic Sports Medicine Institute where she conducted research on alternative ortho-biologic treatments for orthopedic conditions including osteoarthritis and other soft tissue disorders. “When I transitioned into the clinical side of research, I realized I missed interacting with humans. It awoke my passion for helping people.” But just as her new career had taken a more fulfilling turn, life and the Covid pandemic had bigger plans for Vinet, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time. “Getting laid off after Covid was devastating. I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. After some soul searching, I decided to take a bit of a left turn from hard science.” Vinet admits that her family thought her new ambitions were more than “a bit” of a change. “They thought I had lost my mind,” she laughs.
Vinet says her family is composed of five “yours, mine and our” children ranging from ages eight to 25 that she shares with husband Chris Jones. “But I consider all of them mine. From dealing with diapers and schoolwork to getting driver’s licenses and getting married, they’ve taught me to expect the unexpected and face it with flexibility and a good sense of humor. They inspire me to, by example, teach them to be brave and follow their heart, even if other people don’t get it at first. It’s chaotic, but wonderful. I’ve learned to stay present and have balance, and that’s one of the most important keys to health that I take to my clients.”
Clients with autoimmune and chronic health issues, or those seeking a holistic second opinion to complement their primary doctor’s care who see Dr. Vinet, are drawn to her passion and her innovative approach. She explains, “My time working in research reinforced being open to what the data shows you. Having a closed perspective doesn’t allow you to see the truth. Looking from the box of standard medicine sometimes hinders reaching the creative answer to the problem. I love art and creativity – painting, drawing, even working on the kids’ school projects. Using that other side of my brain makes me well rounded and able to see outside the box. That’s why I’m excited about helping with complex issues. It’s not just the science. It’s a mystery that I can solve by putting the puzzle pieces together to come up with a solution or an intervention point for client. Many other providers and specialists don’t have the time to look in depth to uncover the timeline and progression of chronic issues like pain, autoimmune disorders, and fatigue. I can fill in those gaps by zooming out to see the whole picture and connecting the dots to uncover hidden issues and find solutions.”
Because she too is an athlete, Dr. Vinet says she also welcomes those looking to optimize sports performance by enhancing recovery and preventing injuries, and helps those with chronic inflammatory issues, tendonitis, chronic back pain, or who have plateaued in the gym. “With a PhD in holistic medicine and healing nutrition as well as a certification in herbal medicine, I’ve built the knowledge that making attainable changes over time, like small diet tweaks, can help alleviate symptoms and have a significant overall effect.”
Vinet’s Scientifically Natural practice can be found at The Healing House founded by Nicole Reilly and located in Village Walk in Covington. Reilly describes it as “a sacred space for wellness and transformations that offers an array of health modalities that nurture and heal mind, body and soul.” And while Dr. Vinet welcomes both male and female clients, she adds that The Healing House is a much needed-sanctuary – particularly for women.
“I enjoy focusing on women because they tend to put themselves last and take care of everyone else first. I am inspired working in a space that also houses several other female practitioners like spiritual and life coaches, licensed professional counselors, a physical therapist , who champion the philosophy that it is more than okay for women to make their own care a priority. When any client tells me that they have hope again, it validates exactly why I pursued this path in the first place. It’s my passion to put the pieces together for clients and find healing solutions that have never before been offered to them.”
Dr. Heather Vinet