Author and founder of Redcross Concierge explains the four cornerstones of developing a lasting and caring relationship with your doctor in his book “Bond.”
Today’s messaging surrounding proper health care can be misleading and inconsistent, creating an atmosphere of anxiousness, uncertainty and panic.
Dr. Ken Redcross realizes that building trust between patients and health care providers requires honesty, consistency and reliability.
Redcross founded Redcross Concierge, a personalized medical practice designed to enhance the patient-doctor relationship, while providing convenient access to a full spectrum of health care services and holistic and wellness counseling. As one of the first full-service concierge, personalized medical practices in the United States, Redcross’s patient portfolio includes executives, athletes, and entertainers, as well as individuals from all walks and stages of life. His focus on developing the patient-doctor bond is a unique characteristic of his concierge services that allows for a more strategic and customized approach to each patient’s healthcare plan.
This article has been edited for length and clarity.
The four cornerstones of developing a lasting and caring relationship with your doctor
MONARCH MAGAZINE: How did you get started in this area of medicine?
REDCROSS: I discovered my passion for medicine and science in high school. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian, until I took a comparative vertebrate anatomy class. I’ve always loved animals, but at 16, the anatomy class was my awakening moment, and I realized it was people I had to treat.
Now, after having practiced medicine for 20 years, I’ve had a few more light-bulb moments. While I enjoyed working at medical practices and clinics, something was missing. Having to rush through every patient-packed day with a mere five to seven minute time slot for each of them felt unfair to my patients. It took some time for me to realize that I’d have to work within a different model — or create my own — which is how the concierge concept emerged.
I am a board-certified internal medicine physician, and I completed my medical training at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 2001. I provided care at my first job in Oxnard, California, then transitioned to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. I launched my Concierge practice in 2007 and established Redcross Communications, Inc., under which I provide medical education through the media.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Why should people of color pay close attention to the lack of vitamin D?
REDCROSS: It’s important for all of us to monitor our vitamin D, but especially those of us with darker, “melanated” skin that effectively blocks out vitamin D absorption, meaning that it is much harder to convert a sufficient amount of vitamin D from the sun alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the United States is highest among African Americans (82.1%) and Hispanics (69.2%). It’s also impossible to eat your way to a significant vitamin D level. Vitamin D supplementation is an easy, accessible and affordable way to improve levels which should be between the therapeutic range of 40-60 ng/ml.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What are some signs that indicate someone is suffering from a lack of vitamin D?
REDCROSS: Unfortunately there are no signs or symptoms that would indicate that you are vitamin D deficient, which is why testing is so important. Once you know your vitamin D level you can use a vitamin D calculator to know exactly how much vitamin D to supplement.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What is a strategy for getting enough vitamin D?
REDCROSS: First, get tested. You can either ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels or go to www.powerofD.org to get an at-home test kit and monitor your levels at home. Once you know your levels, use the free vitamin D calculator available at www.powerofD.org to know exactly how much vitamin D to supplement. The desired therapeutic levels for vitamin D are between 40-60 ng/ml as this range has shown the best health outcomes in studies.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: COVID-19 is ravaging this nation and the world. Why isn’t there more available information about preventive measures?
REDCROSS: We are still learning a lot about COVID-19 since it’s a new virus. The medical community knows a lot more today than they did at the start of the pandemic; however, when it comes to prevention, we do know that hand washing, wearing masks and social distancing works. Also, the same advice we have been giving about staying healthy for years is even more crucial now because it could me then difference between life and death. You want to get plenty of sleep, exercise, proper nutrition and supplement your diet with important nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, probiotics and other immune boosters. All this preventative information has always been available, even before COVID-19. Now we just need to act on it.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Are there any indications that a vitamin D deficiency may lead to a more difficult case of COVID-19?
REDCROSS: A newly published article in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation concludes that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of mortality in COVID-19 patients. Data analysis by the working group of Dr. Prabowo Raharusun shows a correlation of COVID-19 death rates based on vitamin D levels. The retrospective review shows that a vitamin D level of 19 ng/ml or less equals a death rate of 100%, while vitamin D levels of 34 ng/ml or higher equals a 0% death rate from COVID-19. Additionally a retrospective study found COVID-19 ICU patients had higher rates of vitamin D deficiency compared to other admits.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Do we need better public health messaging on diet and exercise? Would that have meant fewer fatalities with this pandemic?
REDCROSS: I believe education is the key to protecting ourselves against COVID-19, which is why I’m part of an educational campaign developed by the Organic and Natural Health Association called “Get On My Level.” You can find tons of information at the campaign site www.powerofD.org about vitamin D deficiencies and prevention. We are urgently asking everyone who has loved ones and friends, to challenge them to ‘Get On My Level,’ and turn these vitamin D deficiency statistics around. Vitamin D supplementation is affordable, accessible and the outcomes are proven. Our only current challenge seems to be education, and that’s something we can all proactively affect by getting the word out.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: With a new president in the White House, do you think messaging about health and wellness will change?
REDCROSS: I think the message on health and wellness should always be elevated. COVID-19 is not a political issue, it’s a health issue and everyone needs to take part in informing the public about health and safety. COVID-19 is agnostic. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you fall on the party line. Everyone’s health is at risk.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What are your goals to move the needle forward in 2021 regarding health and wellness?
REDCROSS: We need to advocate for vitamin D supplementation. It’s the most direct, cost-effective and practical way to improve everyone’s vitamin D level, without any racial barriers. I challenge everyone to “Get on My Level.” My vitamin D is at 65. I want everyone to share with me on social media what their level is too. We are in this together!
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Where can the public find more of Dr. Ken Redcross?
REDCROSS: I’m very active on social media, so share your vitamin D levels with on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.