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A doctor’s warm heart

Dr. January’s warm heart

Local physician looks to tackle women’s health crisis through fitness and diet

By Charlotte Beard

Dr. Eboni January’s career is still in its early stages, but the impact she has already made on women’s health has been immense.

January, an Obstetrician Gynecologist (OBGYN) at Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers (PHC), was one of 30 North County St. Louis leaders honored on Oct.31 by North County Incorporated (NCI). The regional development association’s honoring was to recognize their annual “30 Leaders in Their Thirties Leadership” awardees for the impact they have made in their careers and community in North County.

January is co-founder for Pavlov’s Wellness Firm.

“I noticed that many companies were spending a ton of money on insurance premiums,” said January. “So, I along with a friend of mine – co-owner – decided to start a wellness firm where we bring comprehensive health care and health into corporations and companies.”

January added that many companies offer a free gym membership to their employees without coupling it with tools to make the membership effective. She states that health and wellness have a lot to do with what goes into the body.

“We wanted [a comprehensive collaboration] where you brought in nutritionists and talk to people about eating right,” said January. “I come in and talk to people about how to make eating healthy work with their lifestyle. Many people have kids and extra-curricular activities. We bring in a personal trainer, we bring in meal plans, we bring in a nutritionist, we offer gym memberships. [These tools] are to attack every aspect of health and wellness, to decrease chronic illness and disease, and to increase productivity in the workplace.”

January is a native of East St. Louis, Illinois who graduated from East St. Louis Senior High before going on to University of Missouri – Columbia (Mizzou). She graduated from Mizzou in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, minoring in Chemistry and Anthropology. She completed her med prep post baccalaureate program at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and received her medical degree in 2010 from Wright State University – Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. She completed her residency training at Mercy Hospital – St. Louis.

January serves on the executive board of one of NCI’s members The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery. The nonprofit is committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and provides emergency intervention, respite care and support to families in crisis.

Another health challenge January discovered and has worked to resolve was found with her personal patients. She discovered a pattern of young, significantly-overweight women having cancer. She attributes being significantly overweight to being at-risk for cancer-related illnesses among women. As an OBGYN, January started talking to her patients about weight, health, and fitness more than gynecological issues because the latter issues were secondary to the excess weight. However, she was challenged with determining how to stay connected with her patients outside the office and decided she would use technology, specifically texting.

“The one thing that I found is that they would only eat once a day. Not eating is worse than overeating.  That’s on the first page of my website,” January said. 

According to January, the practice of not eating kills the metabolism.

“I would talk with them, write out a meal plan. They [would start] and do great, then fall off the wagon,” she said.

January’s text coaching fitness program, which is available through her website (www.doctorej.com), opens with this message on the welcome page: “Message from Doctor Ej:”Not eating is worse than overeating. Eating infrequently causes you to store body fat. This program works because I never allow you to forget to eat! I call it ‘Text Coaching.’” 

There are three levels for the program: basic, intermediate and advanced. Each level is a four-week program that can be utilized independently. January states the program texts a participant every two to three hours with when and what to eat, and workouts that can be done at home. As a person progresses in the program they can move on to working out in a gym and be provided more of a structured meal plan based on the level chosen.

Registered nurse Anne Newman attests to January’s coaching reaching beyond her patients to her colleagues. “She’s always on us when she sees us not eating something healthy,” Newman said. “She’s our own personal fitness coach.”

Newman reiterated January’s stance on weight control playing a big part in cancer prevention related to women’s health.

January expressed that in addition to health she has a great passion for mentoring both adults and youth. Her concerns for the youth are goal setting, resume building, effective test-taking, classroom skills, and effective study skills. Her mentorship of adults is focused on managing one’s self – self-management – because she holds the philosophy that you can’t truly manage time.

Newman, who has been Dr. January’s registered nurse for close to a year in collaborating on the care of her patients, expressed that their relationship goes beyond colleagues to mentoring.

“She’s great to work with…she has a positive attitude. She’s very passionate about doing the best she can for [her patients],” Newman said.

CUTLINE: Submitted photo Dr. Eboni January’s is an Obstetrician Gynecologist (OBGYN) at Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers.