We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Jeffcoat, DPT and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
I’ve worked hard to advocate for better pelvic health for all. Postpartum women, transgender folks, BIPOC mothers and beyond have all benefit from our community outreach and in-office services. Better pelvic health starts with access to basic education. Pelvic problems rarely resolve if only the pelvis is addressed. A total body approach to care is needed to help people fully recover from chronic pain or incontinence. Care for these pelvic health services goes way beyond teaching them how to do Kegels. In fact, Kegels make most pelvic health conditions worse. I’m on a mission to educate and provide top level services so folks can get the care they deserve.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a physical therapist, there is an assumption that you will enter in to and thrive in an insurance model — you’ll be “busy”. The problem is, for physical therapy, there is no recognition for reimbursement for an acute ankle sprain versus an individual with a 20 year history of chronic overlapping pain conditions. The latter requires more skilled interventions by licensed therapists. Group exercise provided by unlicensed staff is no better than doing a routine on YouTube. I moved away from the insurance model as my patients deserved better. So I was was “less busy” if you define the number of patients I see in a day, but I’m able to provide care that is meaningful to their pain or dysfunction. They deserve actual care for their chronic conditions, not just the idea of care. By advocating this level of care, it gave me a name locally, nationally and internationally because patients that failed “pelvic PT” with others were now getting better under my care. I wrote a book called Sex Without Pain: A Self Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve so that women would have access to professional advice should cost or location be a barrier to them. I learned if you truly care about your patients getting better, you look something up when you don’ t know, even if that means you aren’t getting paid for that time. You must have the passion for this kind of work. Without passion, you can’t help them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The night she arrives we’d get sushi from Kiwami in Studio City. The next morning we’d stop by Whole Foods for cheese and crackers then drive up to Paso Robles. We’d have time to stop at a vineyard before checking in to our Air BnB. The next couple of days we’ll visit about 3 wineries a day–starting with Halter Ranch and DAOU. Dinners will be in downtown Paso Robles and we’ll spend all day catching up since we hardly get to see each other. Heading back to LA we’ll do some of the drive down PCH before heading home.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank all my patients that helped me refine my techniques over the years. I listened to your feedback, I adjusted. We made progress together and you have helped all the patients that have come after you reach optimal levels of recovery.
Headshot (in blue shirt). Credit Travis Guba Event photo credit: Julia Swain