Dr. Todd Smith uses his personal experience to help patients

Dr. Todd A. Smith (Submitted photo)

Dr. Todd A. Smith uses his personal experience to help patients seeking his medical expertise in treating ailments.

An Arizona licensed naturopathic medical doctor trained in family medicine, he treats a variety of acute and chronic conditions at his practice at 9700 N. 91st St. in Scottsdale.

Based on his personal experiences and treating patients, Dr. Smith, 52, said he recognized the need for more cardiovascular primary prevention and decided to focus his medical practice on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiometabolic disease.

“Health care is a very personal experience that can have an immense affect on your life and well-being. I am truly honored by those who trust their very lives to my care and I take this role very seriously,” Dr. Smith said.

“To me, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident with the doctor that you choose to work with. What you may not know is that my own personal journey was a powerful force in becoming a doctor and shaping my passion for helping patients heal and restore their health and well-being.”

Describing his journey, he detailed his experience with doctors and hospitals that began as a child when his maternal grandfather was hospitalized for heart disease, and later succumbed to a fatal heart attack.

“This is when my first inclinations of becoming a doctor occurred,” he said.

Meanwhile, when he was 8 years old, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which returned when he was 12.

“Growing up dealing with childhood cancer and spending many hours and days in medical offices and hospitals, I knew someday I wanted to become a doctor,” said Dr. Smith.

He credited his pediatric oncologist, with whom he fondly developed a 12-year bond, for encouraging him to pursue his interest in medicine and become a caring doctor. Dr. Smith recalled how the Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital doctor made the person in front of him, whether patient or parent, his priority.

Dr. Smith noted how that instilled hope and a “will to fight, but not false hope.”

“It was also about eating right, physical activity and sleep. I truly believe along with the numerous treatments that Dr. Baum himself, and his caring, and our relationship was part of the healing process and beating the leukemia,” Dr. Smith said.

“I wanted to model his care and approach to patients, which I feel was the relationship. I truly believe this is the core of medicine and healing. I want to spend the necessary time with the patient and significant others not only in the exam room, but over time gaining the mutual respect, trust and relationship. I want to be there for my patients as he was for me.”

At 16, his leukemia went into remission; two years later, he attended a university as a pre-med student. During his senior year, however, the aspiring doctor said his path veered and he graduated with a business degree.

“I entered the business world, and over the next 15-plus years, climbed my way up the corporate ladder; holding several middle-management and executive positions. However, I was never truly happy. I felt I was not doing what I was meant to do,” said the doctor.

From the loss of his mother, who suffered a heart attack, while he was in his 20s to him having a stroke in his 30s, he recalled other obstacles he endured during his journey to becoming a physician and medical director.

“And, if that wasn’t enough, my work-up also revealed that cancer had reared its ugly head again. This time, I had thyroid cancer in my mid-30s. According to my adult oncologist, this was a result of the radiation treatments I received as a child for the leukemia,” Dr. Smith said.

“At this point, I knew that life was too short and that I was on the wrong path. The passion for medicine was still alive inside me and I felt strongly that I wanted to practice medicine and help people become healthy, or better yet, prevent them from becoming ill in the first place.”

Following a family meeting about making a life change, including resigning from an executive management position, the family left Illinois for Arizona where he began medical school to study the standard medical curriculum, along with studies in natural medicine, including complementary and alternative medicine.

Four years later, he graduated first in his class, receiving the Highest Academic Achievement award; plus the Outstanding Student Leadership Award for his commitment to academic excellence, the school, the community, and the advancement of the profession, he stated.

“I am now doing what I love,” said Dr. Smith, who enjoys reading, traveling, going to the movies and spending time with family during spare time. “I believe my path has come full circle and I am now doing what I love and was meant to do.”

He said he could never have accomplished his goal without the love and support of his wife, Debra, and children, Brianna, 25 and Derek, 21.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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