Riordan Clinic – A Finalist for the 2012 Small Business Awards
In the application process, the Riordan Clinic was asked not only to provide revenue and profitability information, but also narratives in five main judging elements: community contribution and involvement, diversity, employee relations, entrepreneurship, and leadership and performance. These narratives are available to read on our website, www.riordanclinic.org.
The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony luncheon on May 9, 2012 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in downtown Wichita. The following is what the Riordan Clinic submitted during the nomination process:
The Riordan Clinic began as the incredibly fortunate intersection of a dream and a vision. The dream was that of Dr. Hugh D. Riordan, a curious, gifted physician. The vision was that of Olive W. Garvey, a bold, insightful philanthropist.
Hugh Riordan, a medical doctor, practiced psychiatry in Wichita, KS since his arrival in 1958. One of the first things that Dr. Riordan learned as a resident was that a good way to keep mental patients out of the state hospital was to give them intravenous vitamin B complex. It was quite effective. Witnessing positive changes in those patients initiated Hugh Riordan to begin investigating the brain/body connection. In those years it took enormous courage to support the notion that health and disease were linked to nutrient status, but because Dr. Riordan was known as the doctor who would take the most difficult psychiatric patients and produce surprisingly positive outcomes with them his ideas slowly gained respect in the medical community.
In 1975, Dr. Riordan was introduced to the Garvey Foundation. Olive Garvey, the widowed head of the Garvey enterprises, had a keen interest in nutrition and health. There was an instant meeting of the minds. Two weeks later, Olive agreed to provide funds to found the clinic based on Hugh’s one-page hand written proposal, which said in essence, “You don’t know what I am going to do and I don’t know how I am going to do it, but if you fund it I will devote three years of my life to making it work.” Mrs. Garvey noted some years later that after having given millions to hospitals and related organizations, she was pleased to report that the money she had given to start the Riordan Clinic was the best philanthropic spending she had ever done.
The Bio-Center Laboratory at the Riordan Clinic is especially important because many other laboratories do not test for nutritional levels. Vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, hormones, lipids, proteins, fatty acids, heavy metals, and special assays collected from blood, hair, urine, and skin swabs are the foundation for finding the cause of diseases.
Research programs in the Riordan Clinic Research Institute attracted medical doctors from around the world. RECNAC (cancer spelled backwards) started in 1985 with a goal of finding orthomolecular (natural) means to cure cancers. This research was designed to be of benefit to the patients as directly and as quickly as possible. High dose IV vitamin C research was the cornerstone of RECNAC. As a result of the Riordan Clinic’s preeminence in the use of high-dose vitamin C, physicians from many foreign countries came thousands of miles to learn more, and today many follow the Riordan IVC protocol. As a leader in biomedical science, our research accomplishments challenge the medical community to consider all options rather than just “quick-fix” pharmaceuticals. Over the course of 35 years our research institute has been awarded thirteen patents. A complete list of our medical journal articles (over 125) can be found on the website at http://www.riordanclinic.org/research/journal-articles/.
The core of the Riordan Clinic is our outpatient services provided in the Olive W. Garvey Center for Healing Arts, led by Ron Hunninghake, M.D. who arrived at the Clinic in 1988 and trained with Dr. Riordan for 17 years. Dr. Ron and his team of caring professionals offer hope and relief to thousands of patients each year. We practice nutrition-based medicine, which seeks to resolve health issues by optimizing vitamin and nutrient levels in the body. Our belief is that a proven nutrition-based remedy is always better as a first defense. The key is accessing your biochemical status via blood-based nutrient testing performed at our onsite laboratory. We test for levels far beyond what mainstream medicine looks at or even considers. The results yield a wealth of information that will set our doctors and the patient on a path to optimal health and wellness.
Olive’s vision and Hugh’s dream are eloquently summed up by a comment Mrs. Garvey made in the 80’s: “The Center [Riordan Clinic] represents the growing philosophy of keeping well and not just curing sickness or treating symptoms, but finding the cause behind the symptoms and eliminating it.”
Community Contribution and Involvement
Community contribution and involvement has always been a part of our culture in some aspect. In the recent years, as we’ve undergone a “re-birth” of sorts with a new company name and new marketing efforts, we’ve come to the realization that the local community has many misconceptions or unknowns about who we are and what we do. In addition to the many things we currently offer by way of education to the community and medical professionals, we are striving to be more involved in the community around us. Several staff members attend chamber events on a regular basis to connect and learn with others. Our newest doctor (who moved to Wichita in March of 2011), Jennifer Kaumeyer, ND, is making more connections and meeting more people through her run for LLS Woman of the Year. The Riordan Clinic will be donating to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society by hosting two fundraising events on their behalf: a community 5k walk/run and a casino night. We’ve started attending tradeshows (Exposure, Women’s Fair, etc.) to educate the community about who we are as an alternative or adjunctive to traditional medical care. The Riordan Clinic is also a current finalist in Wichita’s Healthiest Employers awards.
Dr. Hunninghake, our chief medical officer, is a board member of several organizations, including the International Schizophrenia Foundation, Japanese College of Intravenous Therapies, and Pure North S’Energy Foundation. In 2011, Dr. Hunninghake received the honor of being named Orthomolecular Doctor of the Year by the International Society of Orthomolecular Medicine. He is the 3rd Riordan Clinic doctor to be so named. Both Dr. Hunninghake and Dr. Kaumeyer take personal time to speak to local clubs, organizations, and educational classes. The goal here is not only to alert the community to who we are, but help individuals gain important health information that can better their quality of life – even if they never set foot on our campus.
Though we are a non-profit organization ourselves, we have recently supported and donated to local charities and fundraisers such as Dress for Success, Wichita State University, and American Heart Association. We also offer $1700 in cash prizes to Wichita USD 259 fifth graders and their teachers through our annual Health Is…essay contest.
Education, locally and internationally, is continually a role of the Clinic. In the early days, a children’s show was produced and aired on public television called “One of a Kind”. Currently, the Health Hunters Newsletter, available free from our website, provides monthly updates on the latest health issues. Plus, for decades, doctors and community members have interacted with groups during the Lunch and Lecture series held monthly at the Clinic. Lectures are open to the public, as well as on streaming video via the internet around the world.
In the past, the Clinic has sponsored 15 International Conferences, which spawned numerous books published under the Clinic’s Bio-Communications Press. Within the last 3 years, the Clinic has held two IVC (intravenous vitamin C) and Cancer Symposiums in Wichita, hosting hundreds of medical professionals locally and from around the world. The next symposium is scheduled for October of this year.
The Clinic has also sponsored an extensive volunteer program over the last 35 years. Many of these volunteers have had a personal experience of healing at the Clinic and want to “pay it forward” by helping the Clinic help others. Others simply believe in the work that we do and want to take part. A current volunteer who has been with us for 23 years stated, “In doing volunteer work [at the Riordan Clinic] we feel needed, appreciated, and valued; all things that buoy the human spirit and help give meaning and purpose to life.”
Another goal of the Riordan Clinic is to serve as a model for the training of other medical professionals on our nutritional medicine philosophy. Doctors, nurses, and health professionals from all walks of life, are invited to come and spend a week observing the special care provided at the Riordan Clinic. Open minded, inquisitive medical professionals come here to expand their learning on how to best help patients using nutritional medicine. We like nothing better than to immerse these individuals in our unique medical setting. Our learning program continues to be a key component in how we fulfill our mission of, “stimulating an epidemic of health.”
This is an excerpt from a letter to our staff at the recent holiday party from Dr. Hunninghake which captures the spirit of our company culture, “It is each of you, coming to work each day with a willingness to give of yourself to that almost defeated patient, that complaining customer, that tearful patient. Your smiles, the time you take, the words of consolation you give, the professionalism you display…all of these intangible services SERVE the mission of the Riordan Clinic… to create an epidemic of health.” Our employees do not come to work only to earn a paycheck. They come to make a difference in lives of our patients and their families.
We believe we have an excellent employee benefits program. As a nutrition based medical clinic, the Clinic fosters an atmosphere for healthy living: ample opportunity and locations for daily walks, encouragement for healthy snacks in the workplace on a daily basis and during staff events, access to filtered (by reverse osmosis) water in all areas of the building, constant education on health topics, free yearly physical, subsidized health club membership, opportunities for additional education at the company’s expense, what we call ‘healthy time’ which allows our employees to take time off for whatever reason, courtesy credit for doctors appointments, laboratory testing, and clinic therapies for themselves and their family, discount on professional-grade vitamins, and immediate access to nurses and doctors for questions and concerns.
Because our employees utilize these measures, our insurance premiums not only did not increase by the average of 8% (information given to us by our insurance carrier), but we will have a 25% decrease in our premium with the same coverage! We were able to continue our company’s same contribution to the employee and lower the premium for the employee. Thus, they will see a significant increase in their paychecks, just because of the difference in premiums.
To enhance employee morale, we like to celebrate some of the special holidays as a staff. We close the doors a bit early for after-work parties during Halloween and Christmas. The company also sponsors an employee appreciation holiday party yearly for all staff and volunteers that provides an evening of dinner and entertainment. This past December, we gave tickets to staff and their family to help support Botanica and go see the beautiful light displays. In the spring each year, we hold and Employee Appreciation Day where the staff takes a day to play together.
Though the last two years of changes and growth have been difficult (see leadership & growth section), the Clinic has a dedicated group of employees that give us a reputation to be proud of. We work closely to support each other and the patients and families that come to us for help. “I would like to see [the clinic] have a real lively sense of community where there’s a buzz and an energy that’s appropriate for such a special place,” says Brian Riordan, CEO. Mission accomplished.
As a place that emphasizes providing health, hope and healing to the world, we have an incredibly diverse campus.
Our patients come from all over the world to receive treatments for various ailments. We’ve treated the very young to the very old, from all walks of life. With our current reputation, people contact us from all over for patient advice and to gain professional training.
From a staff perspective, we are an equal opportunity employer and employee people from all nationalities. Currently, our staff consists of those from Russia, Vietnam, Canada, of course, America. In past years, we’ve had others from Iran, China, Bangladesh, Taiwan, England, Korea, Africa, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Costa Rico.
From a design standpoint, our buildings are quite diverse as well. The geodesic dome design was “green” before being “green” was cool. This dome shape gives strength to the buildings, and it also encloses the greatest volume of interior space using the least amount of surface area. The sphere with an open interior allows air to circulate without obstruction, which means it takes less air to cool and heat because the air circulates more freely through the space. Most of the domes have skylights that provide an abundance of natural light and banks of windows that open and allow fresh air in from the outside. All the domes are connected underground and most of the domes have large “daylight” windows that allow abundant natural light and fresh air into the lower level. The interior design also includes glass atriums and an abundance of plants. The structures create a wonderful environment for staff and our patients.
Over the years many people have hypothesized about the true meaning behind the design. The truth is far less intriguing than the rumors; we’re a nutritional medicine clinic that seeks natural solutions verses pharmacologic ones. The really intriguing thing is the help, hope and healing we provide—our fancy looks are just a bonus.
Leadership & Performance
With the help of new leadership at the beginning of 2010, the Riordan Clinic has transformed the way we present ourselves. Few people knew what the old name — the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International — meant. Our brand was indistinct and confusing. Now, with the new name –Riordan Clinic – we are attracting patients, recruiting excellent people, and attracting new contributors. We’ve also cut our losses in half in 2010 over 2009. In 2011, losses were cut by more than half again. We plan at being at break-even or even better this year.
When he took over operations, Brian Riordan, CEO, was criticized by some for his increased emphasis on a business approach. There initially was turnover as well, but the clinic — and its future — is much better off financially today.
As always, patient care is our focus, and we’ve never done anything to diminish that or sacrifice it. In fact, it’s better than ever. We emphasize “whole” patient care. Our philosophy focuses on addressing the underlying cause/causes of your illness, not just the symptoms. We see patients with illnesses ranging from chronic diseases like cancer and fibromyalgia to undiagnosed problems that have been plaguing their
quality of life for years. We are treating the whole person.
The Board of Directors has defined a very exciting future for the Riordan Clinic. Together with the talented, dedicated Riordan Clinic staff, we are working to ensure our organization continues to lead the world to ever higher levels of health and wellness. Some of the goals we have set for ourselves are:
1) Constantly improve the level of care for our patients. Friendly, professional care has always been the hallmark of a visit to the Riordan Clinic. Our mission is to continue to delight all of our visitors with individual attention and the highest standard of medical care. We are using training, technology, on-site research, and creativity to bring a new kind of special experience to our visitors.
2) Expand our capacity to share our expertise with a greater number of patients. As the world grows ever more frustrated with a “pharma” approach to disease, the number of people seeking care at the Riordan Clinic is growing rapidly. We are not happy with the length of our waiting list and are actively recruiting likeminded medical professionals to join us. We view this as a continuing priority for the Riordan Clinic as demand for our innovative approach is increasing at an ever higher rate.
3) Expand the Board. The Riordan Clinic has historically operated with a very small board of directors. As our approach to health and wellness has moved from the fringe of medical thought to one if its pillars, the demands and expectations of our organization have increased greatly. Adding greater experience, perspective, and resources to the Board will give the Riordan Clinic a greater capacity to contribute more to the world.
4) Establish a Scientific Advisory Board. Our extraordinarily innovative research has thrust us from the provocative edges of science to the center of the big leagues. We are the leaders in understanding two areas that are drawing increasing attention from all corners of the scientific community: High dose vitamin C and the role of circulating adult stem cells in determining our level of health and wellness. Our new scientific advisory board will align our stature in the scientific world with our out-sized achievements.
5) Provide an opportunity for a like-minded people to contribute to our mission. We will be making new efforts to make it easier to contribute ideas, resources, and energy to the Riordan Clinic. We are seeing ever more interest in promoting health and wellness and are eager to combine forces with people and organizations who share our enthusiasm for stimulating an epidemic of health. One major push in 2012 is our new HealthMarkers executive and corporate wellness program. We can now offer other businesses a program to help their employees achieve the same health benefits that our program has proven for our own employees.