Andra L. Hall, PA-C
Let me tell you my story...
My name is Andra Hall. I never thought my life would take this turn. The turn into Functional Medicine, I mean. I was given the opportunity several years ago to pursue a lifelong dream, and I became a Physician Assistant. I worked in Midland at an Internal Medicine office....and I had the best job in the world. I enjoyed my work and was blessed with amazing patients, many of which left long lasting impressions on my life. I did notice one thing though; my patients were never fully healed from their ailments. The longer I practiced, the more it bothered me that nobody was getting better. They were stable, and their quality of life was acceptable, but many people were not thriving. I was becoming discouraged and thought I must be missing something. Then I met someone who changed everything...
Dr. Ben Edwards of Veritas Medical was speaking at a local church in Midland. A friend and I attended his presentation, and immediately his words began to resonate with me. THIS was the kind of medicine I always wanted to practice. After the presentation, I introduced myself and he graciously invited me to his practice to learn about the world of Functional Medicine. I coordinated to spend some time at Veritas in Lubbock and was shocked at what I learned. The patients at this clinic were actually getting better! What??! People were beginning to thrive again, living and enjoying life. It was not rocket science either. People were being guided on how to restore their health, and their bodies began to heal themselves. This was a game changer for me.
About Our Team
My name is Sandra Culp. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and am an Ordained Senior Chaplain with the International Fellowship of Chaplains. I’ve worked in the oilfield and in education and have served in a number of ministry positions. I believe we should never cease to learn. I began researching functional medicine as the optimal way to health because this approach treats the root of the problems, not manages the symptoms. I was elated to find the Balsam Institute for Healing here in Midland. When I first came to the Balsam Institute, there was a sign on the front door that said, “Yes, you are in the right place.” Indeed, I was! Now, in addition to being a member of the Balsam Institute, I also have the privilege of working as an administrator with this amazing team and empowering our members to walk in health!
My name is Denise Pounds and I serve as administrator at The Balsam Institute for Healing. I hold an A.A.S degree in Medical Assisting from Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado. I have spent my entire career working in the medical field in both administrative and clinical roles for various specialty clinics. Since joining the Balsam team in February, 2018 I have gained a great appreciation for this growing field of Integrative Functional Medicine. It is such a breath of fresh air to actually see clients moving from sickness to walking in health.
In my free time, my husband, Chuck, and I enjoy traveling and spending time with family, especially our seven precious grandchildren.
My life quote:
“You are most contagious when you smile”!
I’ve always been passionate about food, wellness and helping others, so years ago when I became concerned about my own health, I went back to school to get my bachelor’s degree in holistic nutrition. As I learned about the healing properties of foods, I was able to experience healing in my own body. This put the ball into motion for me to begin teaching others how to experience wellness just as I had done. In my opinion, eating healthy, life-giving, REAL food IS a lifestyle and NOT a diet. I believe that the process of preparing and cooking one’s food is just as important as sitting down to enjoy a wonderful meal. Our bodies feel satiated and grounded when we experience every aspect of a meal from preparation to doing the dishes. I feel honored and blessed to work here at The Balsam Institute for Healing because I totally agree with the functional approach that healing involves each person as a WHOLE: mind, body and spirit. My mission is to encourage others to improve their own health, to walk beside them as they go through the process of healing, to teach them that healthy food can actually taste good, and that balance is a beautiful thing! “Don’t start a diet that has an expiration date; develop a healthy lifestyle that will last forever!” ~ author unknown
I have spent the past 25 years in lab related work. I have worked all over the Permian Basin, including Big Spring, Andrews, and all over Midland. I retired in 2016, and Andra talked me into coming back. I forgot how much I missed it! I really love working at Balsam, so I guess I will stay awhile.
I came home and began to learn all I could about Functional Integrative Medicine. The concepts made so much sense to me: find out what the body has a deficiency in or an excess of and correct that. I always believed the body would heal itself if given the right resources. Now I was learning what those resources are. Naturally, I began to experiment on myself by making some changes to diet, becoming more diligent with my yoga practice, etc. Soon I was feeling better and others were noticing. I shared the concepts of functional medicine with family and friends. Many of them started to make some changes and soon they started feeling better too. Maybe there's something to this.
Behind the scenes, the Lord was orchestrating a major change in my life. In February 2016, I got laid off. Of course, I was upset and very sad to leave my patients, but I decided to use this as a catalyst for a major change. I decided to make the switch from conventional medicine to functional integrative medicine. It was time to bring a vision to life: create a place where people can get the resources needed to heal their bodies. I shared my thoughts with Dr. Edwards at Veritas who wholeheartedly invited me to train with him and his staff. He has a passion that people be healed and was excited about what I was doing. After spending several weeks with him and his staff, I returned to Midland to breathe life into the idea I had.
During the time of preparation, I was sharing my vision for healing with a dear friend who is a pastor in the Middle East. I was explaining to him why I liked the word "Balsam" and its connotation for healing. Immediately he grabbed his Bible and went to Jeremiah 8:22: “Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of my people.”
I was astonished. The Lord confirmed what I had been thinking: Why do we have access to the most advanced health care but are the sickest nation on the planet? What did we do with the healing God provided, the proverbial Balm of Gilead?
Right there in my friend's living room the Lord established The Balsam Institute for Healing. It was no longer just a fun idea I had. It is a reality that the Lord is serious about: His desire that we be healed and walk in wholeness. It is truly my desire that people come to The Balsam Institute for Healing and start to generously apply our resources to their own life and walk in the health and wholeness in which God designed us to walk. To further assist our members in their health recover process, I have become a Certified GAPS practitioner. Additionally, I hold a certification in IV Nutrient Therapy, Ozone Therapy, and Prolozone Therapy.
In closing, I want to extend a special thanks to the many people who have been instrumental in the establishment of The Balsam Institute for Healing. I don't want to embarrass anyone by naming names, but you know who you are: my dear friend "Q" who helped me develop the name 'Balsam', the design of logos, financial support, those who gave an attentive ear and good advice, helped with the restoration and decoration of our building, countless hours of prayer and preparation. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Flippin, my supervising physician, and her husband. You are both a delightful answer to prayer and I am grateful for your friendship and support. I also want to thank the amazing group at Veritas. Your support, encouragement and wisdom have been invaluable to me. Without the collective effort of so many people, The Balsam Institute for Healing would still be just a crazy idea I once had. Because of each of you this idea is now a reality. I pray God blesses each of you richly.
Now it's your turn...tell me your story…