A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh
Singh hopes to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients
Dr. Tulika Singh is leaving DAP Health, after serving as Director of Research and Associate-Chief Medical Officer for five years. She is beginning a fellowship program at The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She plans to become Board Certified in Integrative Medicine before returning to patient care.
“I hope to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients,” she says, “Incorporating alternative and conventional medicine to offer them the best care possible.”
While at DAP Health, she received FACP & FIDSA honors, given to Internist and Infectious Disease MDs for exceptional work. She also led groundbreaking research in new antiretroviral long-term use injectables. And she helped update HIV Primary Care guidelines for IDSA/HIVMA, used by thousands of clinicians in the U.S.
Dr. Singh is certainly not leaving conventional medicine behind. This Board-Certified HIV Specialist and Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Physician says she wants to go even further to help make people well.
“It is important that I finally pay attention to the other side of medicine,” she says. “If conventional medicine was the only answer, then why are we so unhealthy in our country?”
Integrative medicine uses conventional science-based approaches, such as drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes. But it also utilizes wellness practices and non-Western medicines. It calls for including behavioral and emotional health in treatment, and for looking at non-medical factors affecting a patient’s health.
“It is a completely different ballgame,” than traditional medicine, says Dr. Singh. “It includes taking time to get to the ‘why’ of a patient’s illness and addressing it.”
DAP Health patients utilize wellness and social services in a dedicated wing on the campus, a practice developed when alternative and holistic therapies were the only options for people with HIV in the 1980s.
“Long-term HIV survivors are so resilient and strong,” she says. “I have utmost respect and admiration for their journey.”
Dr. Singh has been practicing HIV specialty care since 2009.
Although antiretroviral therapy is a modern miracle, many patients need help managing pain, decreasing stress, and maintaining life balance.
“I really appreciate the multiple alternative medicine options that DAP Health patients have access to, like acupuncture, massage, yoga, reiki, and physical therapy all under one roof,” says Dr. Singh. “I see how much that has helped them.”
Understanding the value of non-Western and alternative healing methods comes naturally to her, given her Indian parents both were specialists. She still remembers the advice her father gave her when she sought his blessing for her attending medical school.
“Go and learn your modern medicine,” he said, “But you’ll learn Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy have their place.”
25 years later, says Dr. Singh, “and he’s right!”
Inspired by Patients and Coworkers During Pandemic
“The resilience and adaptability in our patients throughout this have been so inspiring,” she says.
Dr. Singh worked to keep her patients engaged in their health during COVID lockdowns, ushering in telehealth and Virtual Visits when coming to the medical offices was impossible. During the worst days of the pandemic, DAP Health patients received uninterrupted and ongoing care because Dr. Singh and her team made connecting with technology painless for patients.
“COVID slowed us down, but it didn’t stop us,” she says. “We got on the phones and computer monitors and we took care of patients.”
Finding a way to keep medical care going during COVID, she says, is credited to the flexibility shown by patients, DAP Health leadership and her fellow medical staff.
“We came together, and we became more resilient and caring, more than we were ever before,” she says. “It was an exciting as well as a humbling experience.”