Dr. Dani Urcuyo, MD, IFMCP
SteadyMD Medical Director
You could say Dani Urcuyo, MD, IFMCP, has already lived a large life for someone so young. Born in Germany, he moved to the U.S. when he was seven. He grew up dreaming of becoming an opera singer. During his college years, he discovered CrossFit and medicine. Amazingly, he was able to find a career where he could utilize his interests and pursue a music side gig. Here he explains his passion for telemedicine, his dreams for the future, and how Electronic Dance Music (EDM) plays into his life.
How did you hear about SteadyMD and what role did you take on?
It all started in 2017 with CrossFit. SteadyMD co-founder Yarone Goren was looking for physicians to oversee exercise specific practices. They wanted to build a CrossFit-focused primary care practice that was 100% virtual. I was a CrossFit athlete and a medical resident, so it was the perfect fit for me. My world at that time consisted of being a family medicine resident, learning functional medicine on the side, doing CrossFit, and seeing SteadyMD patients.
When I completed residency in 2018, I had really enjoyed my time at SteadyMD and started working for the organization full-time. Over the years, the SteadyMD CrossFit practice evolved into a broader primary care practice. It matches patients with doctors according to common interests and preferences beyond their exercise activity of choice. It wasn’t long before I began serving as one of SteadyMD’s medical directors and now help lead several of SteadyMD’s partnership programs.
Can you explain the difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine?
The core of functional medicine is to look at the human body as an integrated system. When someone becomes ill, it’s usually not just one system that’s affected, but multiple systems. Furthermore, there’s a root cause for a particular illness and functional medicine aims to identify that cause.
Let’s say someone develops high blood pressure. The conventional medical approach would be to prescribe a blood pressure medication, along with a lifestyle change. In functional medicine those interventions are still prescribed, but the doctor attempts to find out why the patient developed high blood pressure in the first place. It’s a much broader approach to treatment.
“I love functional medicine because I’m a firm believer that chronic diseases or autoimmune diseases don’t just fall out of the sky.”
How would you describe SteadyMD’s “Clinicians Leading Clinicians” (CLC)?
I don’t think CLC accurately sums up what we really do here. I would expand it as “Practicing Clinicians Leading Practicing Clinicians.” When you have someone who is leading a group of clinicians, that person needs to experience the effects of their policies, workflows, and how things are structured. To me, it’s non-negotiable if you want to have a successful healthcare organization. I think it’s really important to have practicing clinician leadership.
“It’s so important to have clinicians as part of the business decisions, and CLC is aiming to accomplish that.”
Where do you think healthcare is headed?
SteadyMD began with the mission to improve access to healthcare and to create a better clinician-patient relationship. We felt the best way to accomplish this was through telemedicine. Now, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has become a necessity. Patients no longer need to take time out of their day to travel to see a doctor.
Furthermore, with telemedicine, a patient can theoretically see a doctor from anywhere in the world. In the future we could see a healthcare system that’s primarily cloud-based with several local clinics around the globe for when patients need to be seen in-person. This could really benefit individuals living in rural communities or those who don’t have the ability to see their doctor in person.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I really enjoy Electronic Dance Music (EDM). I’ve been involved in music my entire life, and grew up singing opera. I even applied to music school, but decided to pursue medicine instead. Now I DJ for fun. It’s an active way for me to enjoy music.