Nancy Neighbors, M. D.

Board Certified in Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine

I spent the first 30 years of my medical career managing illness in the traditional way.  Typically I scheduled patients for 15-minute appointments, wrote prescriptions and referred patients to specialists.  When needed, I admitted patients to the hospital and followed them through their recovery. This was what my traditional medical training prepared me to do and was what most patients expected.  The prescriptions I recommended often helped patients feel better but seldom stopped the underlying diseases from progressing.  The problem was a failure to fully address lifestyle issues which were often the root cause of illnesses.  

After years of searching for better ways to help my patients, I learned about an emerging school of medical thought that emphasised evidence-based cures using lifestyle changes as the first line of therapy for most chronic conditions.  With my new knowledge, I began treating patients that had shown little progress from traditional medicines.  In time, I began to see more patients improve the quality of their life as they improved their lifestyle. As a bonus, many reduced or eliminated prescription medications.

It has been many years since I began my medical training at the Bashkir State Medical Institute in Russia. Following graduation as a medical doctor and completion of a residency in 1984, I began my first medical practice in pediatrics.

As time passed, it became evident that some illnesses would be difficult to treat without having the family involved. This led to extending my knowledge of pediatrics to include family medicine.  In 2002, I completed a residency in family medicine and subsequently began a private medical practice as a board-certified family practice physician in Huntsville, Alabama.

From the years of clinical experience with traditional approaches that followed, it became evident that while there is very nearly a ‘pill for every ill’ it was not the type of medical care most people needed to live a long healthy life.  This observation and my need for additional evidence-based training led me to the emerging medical specialty called lifestyle medicine where lifestyle changes are the preferred first-line therapies.  In 2018 my training through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine led to board-certification in lifestyle medicine.

While I am trained in traditional medical therapies and use them as appropriate, my passion is prevention and quality of life through lifestyle change.  I appreciate that each person has unique needs and that their care should be as unique as they are.  Often, this requires knowing my patients at a deeper level than afforded by the typical 15-minute appointments that often allows time for little more than, “‘what’s your complaint and here’s your prescription.” In my practice, most appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes and longer when needed.

If change was easy most people would not need my advice. For most, changing long-held beliefs and habits is difficult.  For that reason, I believe in progress over perfection.  My goal is to honor and respect the path each person has the ability to follow.

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