5 Minutes with Philip Ponce, MD

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“Comprehensive” is a great way to describe Philip Ponce, MD. His broad-based approach to practicing medicine includes therapies that incorporate CAM, pharmaceuticals, and allied health care—as long as there is empiric evidence of benefit. Philip has lived all over the world, from Trinidad to the UK to Philadelphia, before falling in love with San Francisco during his medical residency at UCSF. There, he worked hard to deliver quality care, with a strong focus on preventive medicine, to those marginalized by the health care system—particularly members of the LGBT community, individuals with HIV/AIDs, racial and ethnic minorities, and non-English speakers. Above all, he’s passionate about overcoming the pitfalls of the health care system to ensure that he’s 100 percent patient-focused.

What else is Philip passionate about? He tells us in this quick-fire interview.

What do you love about working at One Medical?

The people are smart, innovative, and working to remedy one of the biggest failings of the US health care system—the lack of user-friendly, efficient primary care.

If I hadn’t gone into medicine, I would have…

…been a commercial airline pilot.

What is one healthy everyday lifestyle change you think everyone should make?

Find 30 minutes in the day to do some moderate-intensity, continuous aerobic activity.

If you could change one part of health care, what would it be?

The fee-for-service system that promotes intervention after people are sick, rather than prioritizing disease prevention.

What’s your absolute favorite workout?

The hour of power with my trainer. Ten minutes of body weight warm-ups: jumping jacks, burpees, and crawls; 30 minutes of kettle-bells: get-ups, swings, presses, and carries; and 20 minutes of barbell work: deadlifts, squats, and presses.

What’s on your workout playlist?

If it’s lifting, it’s Metallica and heavy metal. If it’s cardio, it’s electro-dance-pop all the way.

What’s your favorite three-ingredient dinner?

Farro with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions. If I’m feeling particularly indulgent, I’ll add some goat cheese to the mix.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I can’t say “no” to dessert.

Favorite hobby?

Skiing. Not even the finest dessert can beat the feeling of an amazing run down a challenging piste.

What’s the most common health misconception you hear?

That any nutritional supplement or vitamin, herbal remedy, pharmaceutical product, or medical intervention is a substitute for good habits. Eating well, exercising, managing stress, and quality sleep are the cornerstones of any wellness plan.

What’s one thing you wish all patients knew?

Bayesian methodology, but I realize that’s asking for a lot! In a nutshell, medicine relies on probability and statistics. There’s usually no “right” answer, but maybe an answer that’s “better than placebo.” Getting this across is one of the major challenges in daily practice.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

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