Alice Tsai, M.D.
Pono Health MD, LLC
E X P E R T I S E
Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Medical Cannabis Certification
I N T R O D U C T I O N
For over two decades, Dr. Alice Tsai has been a well-respected board certified pediatrician practicing in Baltimore and Howard County. She is most well known for her passion in taking time to provide quality care and guidance to her pediatric patients and their families, and for her thoroughness and meticulous attention to detail. Dr. Tsai’s interest in functional and lifestyle medicine sprung forth from her sincere desire to support her patients and close family members and friends who developed chronic diseases over the years. While medical treatments and medications allayed the symptoms temporarily, Dr. Tsai was concerned that these could not address underlying causes. Thus began Dr. Tsai’s interest in integrative and complementary medicine to support her patients.
Functional medicine seeks to use an individualized, patient-focused, science-based approach to treat the underlying causes of diseases and promote optimal health. Similarly, lifestyle medicine focuses on exploring the root causes of diseases and uses evidence based therapies to address lifestyle factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress. The study of epigenetics explores the powerful effects of lifestyle factors on the expression of genes and thus health. This means that although certain individuals can inherit genes predisposing them to certain diseases, whether or not the disease develops is not inevitable and can be strongly influenced and directed by environmental factors. Thus genes do not necessarily equate with destiny. Dr. Tsai’s mission is to partner with individuals, through lifestyle choices, to positively impact their health.
Dr. Tsai's approach integrates standard medical management with ancient wisdom and science-based natural remedies such as essential oils, herbs, and homeopathy. She has completed training through CEDH (Center for Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy) and pursued additional coursework through the Institute of Functional Medicine. Moreover, Dr. Tsai has completed mentorship and research regarding the latest ground-breaking discovery of the endocannabinoid system, an endogenous system present in all vertebrates, which is critical for establishing and maintaining health. Plant cannabinoids, with their beneficial physiologic and medicinal effects on the endocannabinoid system, aid in modulating pain, inflammation and the immune system. Dr.Tsai helps guide patients in the use of plant cannabinoids and phytochemicals to support the body in restoring homeostasis.
Expanding her practice to include patients of all ages, Dr. Tsai aims to provide individualized and holistic care based on each patient’s unique genetic, social, and environmental circumstances. Her greatest desire is to educate and empower patients with the goal of restoring harmony, greater health and balance in their lives.
Dr. Tsai has chosen to fully devote her time to Integrative and Complementary Medicine, and no longer practices primary care. This allows her to focus on partnering with patients to find the best integrative healthcare solutions. Dr. Tsai will be happy to work in concert with your primary care physician for your best care!
Who is Dr. Tsai when she is not working? Dr. Tsai is married to Dr. Jackson Tsai and has two children. She loves spending time with them on the tennis courts or walking the family dog. Dr. Tsai has been an avid animal lover since a child. When not at work or with family and friends, she can be found volunteering and working with dogs at the Howard County Animal Shelter. Dr. Tsai has a passion for plant based cooking and loves to share her healthy delicious recipes with friends and family. To balance her life, Dr. Tsai devotedly practices the art of Tai Chi, Qigong, and meditation. She is an avid nature lover and photographer.
Residency: University of Maryland Medicine
Medical School: Washington University in Saint Louis
Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University
CEDH (Center for Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy) trained
CERTIFICATIONs & MEMBERSHIPS
Board Certified in Pediatrics
CEDH (Center for Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy) certified
Member of the Institute of Functional Medicine
Healer Certified Medical Cannabis Wellness Advisor
Mold-Literate Certification from Dr. Jill Crista
GI Advanced Practice Module
Walsh Institute Certified Practitioner
S E R V I C E S O F F E R E D
Integrative adult and pediatric consultative care
Laboratory studies and testing may be ordered if indicated
Medical cannabis certifications
Who Can Benefit?
*Patients with a family history of autoimmune disease, cancer or other conditions who are interested in taking a proactive approach to healthcare.* Since scientific evidence has demonstrated that conditions fostering chronic diseases often develop over years, small lifestyle changes instituted early can have great benefits. Dr. Tsai partners with patients to promote food choices, toxin avoidance and lifestyle habits to strengthen and promote optimal health.
*Prenatal consultations and infant care.* Dr. Tsai has extensive experience managing newborn issues in the nursery at Howard County General Hospital and is a strong proponent of breastfeeding. She has expertise in issues related to breastfeeding, newborn care and infant nutrition.
*Patients interested in enhancing or restoring gut health.* Groundbreaking research demonstrates the critical importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome for overall health. This delicate balance of trillions of symbiotic bacterial and yeast organisms, residing in the gut and other systems, supports the immune system and aids in producing beneficial nutrients. The predominant source of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, a healthy microbiome is essential for optimal brain function, mental clarity and focus, mood regulation, as well as for enhancing sleep. Core influencing factors in later developing health problems can often be linked to a history of imbalance in the microbiome. Threats to a healthy microbiome include overuse of antibiotics, toxins in the environment including herbicides and pesticides, excessive intake of sugar and processed foods, and chemicals in food.. Dr. Tsai counsels on strategies to support and restore gut health and strengthen immune function by guiding patients to make better food choices that enhance nutrient intake and minimize toxins exposures.
*Patients seeking guidance on utilizing food and lifestyle management to heal.* Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” and “All disease begins in the gut.” Based on cutting edge scientific literature, Dr. Tsai shares her expertise in harnessing the power of food to heal. Based on the tenets of lifestyle medicine, food is a foundational pillar of health. Advocating for a whole food plant based diet and limiting animal protein, Dr. Tsai recommends avoiding, as much as possible, consuming factory farmed meats full of a lifetime of accumulated stress, adrenaline, fear, synthetic hormones and antibiotics. Other lifestyle factors that promote health include exercise, sleep, stress management, and loving community support.
*Specializing in infant and toddler patients for guidance on food choices to promote health, for avoidance of environmental toxins, and for advice on utilizing natural and complementary therapies.* The National Pesticide Information Center states that infants and children are more sensitive to the toxic effects of pesticides than adults due to their still developing organ systems, immature livers and kidneys that are not as effective at detoxifying, increased exposure due to greater surface area relative to body weight, spending more time close to the ground where pesticides may have been applied and increased likelihood of putting fingers and objects into their mouths. Dr. Tsai provides guidance on effective complementary methods to manage common childhood conditions such as teething/colic, injuries, allergies, developmental concerns, and toxin avoidance, as well as strategies for detoxification etc.
*Patients interested in learning complementary therapies to heal such as homeopathy, herbs and essential oils.* Dr. Tsai completed CEDH training in homeopathy for medical care providers and is CEDH certified. Complementary therapies can be a wonderful solution to help with symptom relief of many conditions such as stress, anxiety, sleep problems, colds and illnesses, abdominal complaints, headaches, fatigue, injuries, skin conditions, hormonal issues, and immune support. These natural treatments are effective and generally safer with less risk of side effects than synthetic pharmaceutical medicines.
*Patients looking for guidance in the integrative management of chronic conditions.* Including but not limited to asthma, behavioral and attention problems, adhd, anxiety, eczema, sleep problems, constipation, chronic abdominal pain and headaches, migraines, frequent infections, environmental and food allergies and sensitivities, weight issues, diabetes, high cholesterol, autoimmune conditions, joint pain, idiopathic and chronic pain.
*Patients seeking evaluation for certification for medical cannabis.*