Owner and Medical Director, Spark Health
Solana Beach, California
Greeting us with a warm welcome and sparkling smile, Dr. Cicerone is immediately engaging and full of life. She is a physician with a true heart for healing and who describes her role in the lives of her patients with words like “partner”, “advocate” and “navigator”. She describes it as a “privilege to share the lives of my patients” – the ups and downs that make us human on our path to optimal health.
Tell us more about your approach to medicine.
For me it’s all about empowering patients- being patient centered and helping them realize they have a true say in their own health. Many people don’t really realize they can change their health in dramatic ways! I tell them, “This is about YOU and what’s right for you.” Each person needs to pay attention to what’s inside and to what’s right for them. Each person is unique- which is why we use the term Personalized Medicine and designed a logo that shows an individual fingerprint.
I partner with my patients to navigate the best path to look, feel and perform best in every important area. I am deeply committed to a holistic approach and take the time needed to explore causes that sometimes aren’t obvious. Our time together is a conversation between equals in a safe place where each of us can be Real. Sometimes they cry, sometimes I cry or we find ourselves laughing and sharing stories about our pets and kids and everyday stuff that makes us who we are! It’s not ‘command-control’ between doctor and patient. I strive to create an environment of empowering support that helps people own their health and take control.
Why the name Spark Health?
Our name speaks to that process of getting in touch with the part of each person that ignites the passion . . .
What advice can you give for women who are starting up or growing a new business or department?
First of all, I like to ask “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” I’ve failed before- so what? I get up again! Who’s telling you can’t do it? Don’t let fear immobilize you!Another thing important for women in particular is that there is a pressure to “do it all and have it all” – but in reality nobody has that- it’s just a façade. Give up perfectionism! Pick the thing that makes you happy, that you are good at, and do whatever you can to make that happen. I’ve seen my friends take a seed and grow it. They start slowly, methodically- without trying to be biggest and best overnight. Just keep taking the next step that’s in front of you!
Also, just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean you know the best action steps to take next! I finally realized you don’t have to do it on your own- in fact you can’t really and succeed. You have to be open to letting people help. Doctors often make poor business managers- so I partnered with a person with business expertise. Hiring a business manager or coach lets you focus on what you are good at!
Lastly, I realize that for my business I have to be authentic. I have to walk the walk, be the healthiest I can be or I can’t give my patients everything they deserve! If you run yourself into the ground, how can you help others… what example are you setting?
How do you hope to grow your business?
This is our flagship location here in Solana Beach and we will continue to keep it at full capacity. We keep our practice here contained, a “one stop shop”, so patients don’t have to go all over the place to get lab work or supplements or other services. Our integrative model, offering a wide variety of treatments and therapies in one place is catching on, and our ability to work easily with conventional doctors is a huge plus. We like to be close to people’s homes or businesses so our next step is to launch satellite clinics in other regions in California and expand.
Finally, we like to ask, what truly makes your heart sing?
Personal transformation! Giving people the tools to make life easier. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle -it can be beautiful and joyful every single day. It doesn’t have to be reserved for the one to two weeks a year of vacation when you can finally get away! That just doesn’t work very well and it is too much pressure! Elements of pleasure, joyfulness and letting loose need to be built in every day. Helping others create a daily wellness lifestyle that works for them is such a joy to me.
Another big thing is the opportunity to educate and provide others with options and a variety of paths to achieve the outcome – including conventional physicians who sometimes don’t realize the expertise a Naturopathic Physician can bring. As an expert in combining conventional and naturopathic oncology treatments, I’m able to be a great resource to other docs- which is another privilege.
What is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician (ND)? How are you different from a naturopath?
A licensed ND is regulated like an MD with a national organization that oversees standards of practice. Just like MDs, a ND completes four years of post-graduate medical school and a residency, and is licensed by the state. However, ND programs focuses on incorporating complementary and natural therapies into conventional treatment approaches. In the states that license NDs, they are qualified as primary care physicians and usually combine conventional and non-conventional treatments, partnering with their patients to achieve the best outcomes.
A naturopath, on the other hand, is usually a non-medical health professional who has completed courses offered online or in-person that vary according to personal interest.
Dr. Cicerone’s credentials and practice
Dr. Aliza Cicerone earned her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She holds an additional Board certification in Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO). Dr. Cicerone began her career as a staff physician at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. To her surprise, she discovered after a few years doing exactly what she had thought she had always wanted to do, that her true longing was to start a practice of her own. Since then Spark Health has become an industry leader in personalized natural medicine offering services such as hormone balancing, weight loss, pain management, detox programs, vitamin shots and IV nutrient therapy. Dr. Cicerone’ special focus is cancer treatment and survivorship.
Learn more at www.mysparkhealth.com or visit her lovely location in Solana Beach.