About Jean Jasaitis Barry, MD
Growing up I constantly lived in the shadow of fear. This fear hung over me throughout my life– my hands would ache after taking notes for a high school biology class, my back, knees and hands would be just a little too sore after working out in my twenties, and later I had bizarre migrating aches after the birth of my son. I don’t know why I had these aches and pains, and to be honest I didn’t want to know. All I knew was that I had a strong family history for autoimmune disease and there wasn’t much I could do about it. The treatments offered by mainstream medicine were primitive and often worse than the disease, so I just carried on and hoped for the best.
Why did I fear this so much? Why did I not do anything about it? Because I felt as if I had no control over my own health—despite being a medical doctor, leading a healthy lifestyle and eating a ‘healthy diet.’ I have found that this fear of losing control often paralyzes patients and prevents them from seeking the care that they need. In autoimmune diseases and Lyme/tickborne disease we are told that we have limited options for treatment and there is not much that we can do about it. This gives us a sense of powerlessness, which is terrifying. When I discovered functional medicine a few years ago, I realized that we can (and should) take control of our own health—not just be a passive player who waits for a doctor in a white coat to swoop in and save the day. So much recent research has uncovered why we develop autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, MS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. And emerging biomedical research is directing novel treatments for persistent infections such as Lyme/tickborne diseases. Now we have some ammunition to use in our battle against these diseases, and we do not have to accept a response by your doctor of “I cannot help you.”
When I opened my own medical practice in 2014, I realized very quickly that most of my patients were those frustrated with the typical medical clinic experience and desperate for answers. They were being told that all of their labs were normal or they had an incurable condition, so nothing could be done to help them. Or they were lumped into a group of ‘difficult’ patients for whom not much could be done—and given labels such as fibromyalgia or IBS. Most of the patients who have come to see me have already done their homework and tried everything they could do at home. They were looking for someone with a medical background to sift through the ‘junk’ information out there and provide them with sound medical advice. I found that working with this group of people was incredibly satisfying. They’d already been through the usual medical mill and were coming to me because they were not victims–they wanted to take control of their own health. That energy is what drives me to spend all of my energy looking for the better solution.
– Dartmouth College, BA (art history & pre-med)
– Georgetown University, MS (physiology & biophysics)
– New York University School of Medicine, MD (AOA, AMWA Award)
– Harvard University (Beth Israel Deaconess Med Ctr), Internship & Residency Internal Medicine
– Carlisle, MA Board of Health Lyme Disease Committee Chair
– Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)—member
– ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society)–member, preceptorship with Dr. Richard Horowitz (Feb. 2016) and Dr. Joseph Jemsek (May 2017)