February 3rd marks National Women Physicians Day, honoring Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. In celebration, doTERRA is spotlighting its own trailblazing female physician: medical director of Prime Meridian Health Clinics™ Dr. Heather Pickett.
Elizabeth Blackwell decided to apply for medical school after watching a close friend receive inadequate care for a debilitating health condition. In 1847, after numerous rejections, she was accepted for admission by Geneva Medical College (now called Hobart College), but it was another century before women became commonplace among the alumni of medical schools. In 2016, approximately 35% of physicians in the United States were women, up from just 11% in 1990. More recent statistics suggest that just under half of current medical students and residents are women, and the numbers are rapidly increasing thanks to role models like Dr. Pickett.
Dr. Pickett came to Prime Meridian™ with a rather unique and impressive background. As a retired United States Air Force (USAF) family physician, Dr. Pickett knows all about being the first (and often only) woman in the room. After graduating from the USAF Academy (in the 8th class that included women—now up to 38), Dr. Pickett gave up her pilot training slot and decided to pursue a career in medicine, beginning her training at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. In doing so, she became the first USAF Academy graduate to attend an osteopathic medical school directly after graduation. Many of her colleagues questioned her desire to study and practice osteopathic medical techniques, but she was committed to helping others with a more holistic approach. She followed up medical school with a general surgery internship at Wright State University as the first DO in an MD program, a family medicine residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and finally a family medicine faculty development fellowship at the University of North Carolina.
As a member of the USAF, Dr. Pickett has had the opportunity to practice medicine all over the world, including stints in Alaska, Germany, and California, with shorter stints in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Most recently she was in Las Vegas, where she helped create the Nellis Air Force Base Family Medicine Residency as a full-time professor. Dr. Pickett’s expertise, however, isn’t limited to family medicine. She spent much of her time in the USAF practicing aviation medicine as a flight surgeon, flying in numerous jet aircrafts, teaching pilots, deploying, and serving as the commander of a space shuttle medical recovery team. She also received extensive education and clinical practice in a variety of complementary and alternative therapies. Along with extensive knowledge of manual medical practices due to her osteopathic training, Dr. Pickett was one of the first USAF physicians to be trained in medical acupuncture when she completed the Helms Medical Institute Physicians’ Medical Acupuncture Program with UCLA in 2005. She has brought acupuncture to many aspects of the armed services and uses acupuncture extensively in her clinical practice. She has also been a traveling faculty for the Department of Defense/VA “Battlefield Acupuncture” program, teaching ear acupuncture to hundreds of students.
With her formal education and clinical experience utilizing complementary and alternative medicine techniques, her interest in essential oils came naturally. Through her own research she was introduced to doTERRA about five years ago and has used CPTG® essential oils personally and in her clinical practice ever since. Not only a clinician, Dr. Pickett also has an extensive list of research and numerous scientific publications, including a randomized controlled trial examining the benefits of lavender in a medical setting. With the opening of Prime Meridian Health Clinics at doTERRA’s global campus in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Dr. Pickett is excited to not only work in an environment focused on patient-centered care, but also to further explore the benefits of essential oils in a clinical setting. Along with caring for patients, Dr. Pickett regularly shares her expertise with the 2,500+ doTERRA corporate employees by conducting “Lunch and Learns” at the global campus.
On National Women Physicians Day, let’s all come together and celebrate the women in healthcare who have sacrificed to keep us healthy. Visit the Prime Meridian website to find out more about the amazing Dr. Pickett and learn how you can become part of the doTERRA healthcare revolution.
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