Dr. Jessica Schneider
Founder and CEO, Empowered Health Institute
Planner or procrastinator?
“The Power of One,” (series by Bryce Courtenay)
Anything by Ingrid Michaelson
Favorite sports team?
USA Olympic swim, dive and gymnastics teams
Favorite website or app?
Age and current hometown:
Briefly describe your company: Empowered Health Institute is a primary care clinic led by myself, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, that provides a membership-based approach to care that challenges the standard health care model.
We follow the philosophy that health is more than the absence of disease and use a root cause approach to address active medical concerns.
Located in downtown Richland, Empowered Health provides primary care, health coaching, health-focused wellness programs and functional medicine consults to offer patients personalized, focused care.
How long have you worked for Empowered Health?
Nearly two years
Education: Bachelor of science in biochemistry (summa cum laude) Washington State University, Honors College; doctor of medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin; internal medicine residency, Medical College of Wisconsin and Affiliated Hospitals; integrative medicine fellowship, University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.
Do you have family?
Yes, I have a husband and two children (ages 5 and 7).
Did you grow up here?
I grew up in the Tri-Cities and am a Hanford High graduate. You can’t beat the limited commute times, low cost of living, quality public schools and economic growth of this community.
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?
I have lived in the Tri-Cities since the age of 1. I took a 15-year hiatus for college (Go Cougs!), medical school and clinical practice in the Midwest. My family and I moved back 3 ½ years ago.
A trip to the moon; I have always wanted to travel to space.
Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities?
Visit a winery with an out-of-town guest, hang out in water on a 100-degree day, or hike Badger Mountain followed by brunch at Fiction @ J. Bookwalter.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I like proving to myself that I can do physically challenging things. For example, I took a course during college to certify in scuba diving. I also obtained my motorcycle endorsement, and, even though I have never driven a motorcycle since, I enjoy knowing I have achieved this.
Describe your job and how you got into it: After working as a primary care physician for years both locally and in the Midwest with large hospital groups, I became frustrated with the insurance-driven system.
With only 15 minutes per patient, I knew I wasn’t being given enough time to understand patient concerns, explain results or provide education to promote change.
I learned of different models being used, including the membership model where a patient pays a flat fee to be part of the medical practice, thereby removing insurance-driven time restrictions. Since opening 1 ½ years ago, I have had the pleasure of serving my patients in this new, effective and gratifying way.
Now, the majority of my patients feel better, get sick less frequently, remove medications under my direction and report improved quality of life.
Toughest career decision?
The most challenging career decision has been related to the transition from being an employed physician to starting a private practice.
As an employed physician, there is security with income, benefits and the support of a large medical group. Choosing to leave that, in addition to investing a large portion of savings and trying out a new primary care model, was a challenging decision.
I am happy to say that it has been everything I could have hoped for, both for myself and the patients I serve.
How did you earn your first dollar?
I worked two jobs simultaneously in high school, one at Papa Murphy’s and the other at the Richland Rollarena. I was responsible for paying for part of my college, so this was a way to save for that expense.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
This is a work in progress; however, I have found boundary setting to be successful. I allow myself to have time that is focused on work and separate time that is focused on family, exercise or relaxation. I also religiously use ToDoist, a task organizer, and have developed routines around setting this list for the day.
Community involvement and service?
Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, board member, January 2020 – present: A volunteer position where I attend bimonthly board meetings.
Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, speaker, January 2020: presenter at Women in Business Conference where I discussed the foundation of health required to support achievement of career and life goals.
Gesa Credit Union, associate board member, 2019 – present: A volunteer position, where in addition to attending monthly board meetings and an annual strategic retreat, I serve on the policy committee for quarterly review of executive level policies.
Synergy MedAesthetics, Medical Supervisor, 2018 – present: A compensated position, where I supervise a medical provider to safely provide skin care services.
Recovery and Wellness Center of Eastern Washington, Medical Supervisor, 2017 – present: A compensated position, where I helped to implement a new partial hospital program level of care for patients with eating disorders. I was the sole medical provider for two years and have recently transitioned to a supervisory role with a new medical hire.
Kadlec Health Planet, Clinical Decision Team member, 2017-19: A volunteer position, where I attended monthly meetings to advise on implementation of new and best practices in the clinic environment.
Medical College of Wisconsin and Affiliated Hospitals, Residency Curriculum Committee member, 2012-14: A volunteer position, where I acted as a resident advisor for the residency program to evaluate curriculum and resident training practices.