Dr. Candice L. Knight may have come back to her native New Orleans after graduating from Yale in 2001, yet the past 12 months are what really mark her return home. After six years of practicing in a more traditional hospital setting, Dr. Knight has reignited her passion for holistic wellness with Knight Integrative Medicine.
“I wanted to do more than treat people’s symptoms. I wanted to bring them to true health,” Dr. Knight explained. The current medical model is more reactive than proactive. While it is great that we can provide relief from symptoms with medications, we really need to treat the root of the problem as well. Without that, it can be a slippery slope. People may take one medicine for one symptom, another medicine for another symptom, and yet another medicine to help with the side effects. All the while, they still haven’t addressed the underlying conditions that are perpetuating the symptoms in the first place.”
Discouraged by the limitations of a traditional practice, Dr. Knight became more involved with integrative medicine—an approach that first intrigued her during medical school where both patient and practitioner work in partnership to optimize health and healing. Based on the principles of integrative medicine, Dr. Knight ultimately decided to focus on functional medicine, a subset of the integrative specialty.
“Functional medicine is a therapeutic dynamic that allows me to really get to know my patients and assess the entire spectrum of dysfunction. We dig deep and look at the totality of their lives. Not just their medical history but also what they eat, how they live and how they connect with their families and co-workers,” she said.
Noting that her goal is to restore biochemistry, Dr. Knight said that functional medicine also allows her the flexibility to utilize a variety of treatment options such as prescription and botanical medicines, supplements, hormone replacement or modulation along with behavior modifications like exercise, diet and stress management techniques.
“Holistic remedies are viable, not only in the treatment of disease, but they can also play a significant role in the prevention of disease as well,” she said. “These are natural alternatives that have not only proven the test of time for thousands of years but are also just as well researched as pharmaceuticals.”
With a diverse array of “tools in her toolbox,” Dr. Knight said one of the most important tools is actually the patient. “We need to change this idea that the outcome is solely dependent on the physician, to one that values the therapeutic partnership. While the physician must give guidance with a prescription plan, the patient determines the full effect by having to execute it.”
A Supporting Environment—Inside & Out
Dr. Knight is committed to making sure that her patients have all the support they need to get healthy and stay that way—so much so that the practice includes a Certified Health Counselor (CHC) who provides patients with direction and support. CHC Dana LeDuff (who is also Dr. Knight’s sister) explained that she serves as coach, counselor and budding nutritionist. “I help our patients overcome obstacles while also serving as someone to whom they are held accountable on their health journeys.”
Nurses Kelly Saucier, RN and Whitney Brumfield, LPN round out the staff. In addition to providing personal attention and care, they also share their experiences in blogs on the practice’s website. The blogs have provided them with an outlet to pursue their individual passions: Dana writes about nutrition, Kelly covers cooking and Whitney focuses on exercise.
“We want to promote a sense of partnership and healing on every level—from investing in ongoing training for our staff to the actual physical design, décor and ambiance of the office,” Dr. Knight said. The custom furnishings, soothing music and original artwork all contribute to the spa experience. “Our goal is for people to breathe a deep sigh and experience a sense of relaxation when they enter.”
Further pampering can be found at the apothecary-like smoothie bar, where a variety of blends are available for purchase. Born out of a desire to help patients with healthy, on-the-go meal options, the medical smoothie bar is available to anyone who is interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A True Family Practice
Inspired by the medical care her grandfather received following a heart transplant when she was just 6 years old, Dr. Knight has never wavered in her desire to become a doctor. Prior to attending the LSU School of Medicine, she received a master’s degree in public health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
“Having a background in public health has helped me see things from a global perspective. That insight, coupled with my personal experiences in rural, family medicine, is what propelled me to embark on this journey toward integrative medicine,” she said.
After inviting her sister Dana to visit an integrative practice in Houston last year, the two decided to embark on their journey together. Dr. Knight explained, “Because of Dana’s extensive background in medical management, I wanted her counsel and guidance. She was so moved by the visit that Dana not only recommended that I pursue my dream, she also decided that she wanted to be a part of it.”
Dana has since received her certification as a CHC from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is now pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition. “We saved each other,” Dana said. “We were both in corporate jobs and questioning our real purpose. It became very clear to both of us that this was an opportunity to help people and really make a difference.”
“It is also great to be able to work with my sister, and to have her back home,” Dr. Knight added. “I love that my own boys get to see me have so much fun with my siblings. Family really is everything.”
As a busy mom and wife, Dr. Knight understands the many challenges that her patients face on a daily basis—from hectic morning routines to nightly homework ordeals. She credits her husband Fredro “Collins” Knight, an ER doctor at Louisiana Heart Hospital, for helping her maintain balance. Noting that he helps with the shopping, sporting events and music lessons with their boys Trey and Chase, Dr. Knight said she knew she loved Collins early in their relationship. “When we met, I had just started LSU and he had just finished his residency program. He essentially went to medical school a second time as he supported me through my studies. I couldn’t get through the day without him,” she said.
One of the biggest lessons she is trying to teach her patients is that there is beauty in imperfection. “Learning to live in the moment is probably the hardest thing to do. It is something I am working on too. Yet, at the end of the day, I know that what we are doing here matters. I have the same excitement about treating patients now as I did when I was in medical school.”
Candice L. Knight, M.D., M.P.H. is a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine, certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and certified by the American Board of Integrative & Holistic Medicine. Knight Integrative Medicine is located at 2033 N. Highway 190, Suite 16 in Covington. For more information, call 985-867-5516 or visit knightintegrative.com.