Dr. Danielle DonDiego: A Trailblazer Bridging Empowerment and Culture
In a world often defined by norms and boundaries, Dr. Danielle DonDiego stands as a vibrant symbol of breaking barriers, embracing one’s passions, and carving a unique path. While known for her expertise in obesity medicine and entrepreneurship, her journey encompasses a fusion of empowerment, culture, and the courage to rise above challenges.
Beyond the accolades and accomplishments, Dr. DonDiego’s story encapsulates an inspiring transformation. Having navigated the tumultuous waters of an abusive relationship during her medical residency, she emerged not only as a survivor but as a beacon of hope. Her best-selling book, “Self Care Rx: A Doctor’s Guide to Transformation After Trauma,” serves as both a personal testament and a rallying cry for those seeking strength amidst adversity.
Dr. DonDiego’s influence extends to empowerment and entrepreneurship, transcending traditional boundaries. As a mentor for women in medicine, she empowers them to embrace their passions and create businesses aligned with their unique identities. This, in turn, propels a movement challenging norms and redefining success, embracing diversity and multi-dimensional endeavors.
In a culture where stories often echo uniformity, Dr. Danielle DonDiego shatters the mold, infusing empowerment and cultural shift. Her journey, encapsulated by her resilience, advocacy, and mentorship, reframes the narrative by embracing individuality. As a trailblazer, she propels a cultural shift, inspiring others to own their narratives, embrace their diversity, and thrive beyond boundaries.
Who is Danielle DonDiego? Dr. Danielle DonDiego is an expert physician in obesity medicine, a business mentor for entrepreneurs, as well as Best Selling Author of “Self Care Rx: A Doctor’s Guide to Transformation After Trauma” a book that tackles leaving an abusive relationship and mental health. Her goal is to help women in medicine step up and create businesses they love, using skills they spent years perfecting through medical school and creating a life of freedom and flexibility to prevent physician burnout. She believes the things you do in life are not your identity and is helping release stigma around being multi-passionate, diverse, and successful in all your endeavors as she leads the way for millions of women to follow.
You are a survivor. Can you share more about how you’ve learned to overcome your traumas? Yes! I survived an abusive, narcissistic relationship that almost took my life during my residency training. I escaped and slowly rebuilt my life with the help of a specialized therapist, support from friends, and healing myself via various methods. I don’t define myself by my past, but instead used it as a catalyst to create a new life. Our experiences and how we handle them are pivotal moments in life, but the bigger part of the story is what we do with it. That tells you who a person really is.
You published a book in 2021 and you’re a best-selling author. What was that experience for you? And what means writing for you? My book “Self-Care Rx” started out as a cathartic way to process what I had experienced. I had never written anything previously but felt an overwhelming desire to put my experience on paper, hopeful that someone suffering in silence would feel seen. It helped me to see myself! Survivors often diminish their trauma by thinking “Well, it could have been worse,” but seeing my experience in words reminded me how much I had to overcome to survive. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence, so it’s important to wave the flag that they aren’t alone. Additionally, it may be those of us that look like we have it all together that are living in hell at home.
How do you believe your work impacts your community? There are a few ways: First, the underlying goal of helping healthcare professionals create businesses is to lessen their time in the grueling environment of healthcare, and ultimately decrease the prevalence of burnout, depression, and physician suicide. Second, I want to empower women to believe that they are powerful, creative, and brilliant, and do not need permission to create the whatever life they envision. Lastly, I want to teach healthcare professionals how to create a business that is sustainable and authentic to who they are as a human before what is listed on their resume.
Can you share a story of a client whose life you have positively impacted through your work? Absolutely! One client I’ve been working with since 2022 is an ICU/pulmonary physician who worked through the pandemic and felt she wanted to help in a different way. Together we created a program centered around breathwork and other healing modalities that she provides at different facilities, online, and in a retreat format. She combines her expertise in pulmonary medicine, anatomy, and physiology with evidence-based alternative methods that have even helped her through her toughest times. She has been able to lessen time in the high-stress environment of the ICU, spend more time with family, and still impact patients in a meaningful way.
Another client is a special education teacher who was burnt out after years in the school system. Her second child was born with cleft lip & palate, and she decided to change her career path. She authored a children’s book centering on cleft children called “Sharing Smiles”, she works as a cleft coordinator at a large university hospital with surgeon specialists, hosts retreats for moms of children with special needs, and mentors parents of these children.
It’s amazing what we can create from our own life experience combined with our education and work history. There are no limits when you create your own path.
How has your work evolved over time? My work has evolved tremendously! In healthcare, I have transitioned from hospitalist and private practice work to full-time telemedicine. I also consult with and advise telehealth companies after spending years in this industry.
In mentorship, I initially started coaching self-care practice for doctors. I found my clients asking me over and over how to start businesses, given my MBA degree, and realized that no amount of self-care practices would outweigh the stress of working in healthcare. They need to work less, or in a different environment altogether. So I evolved my offers and created a business mentorship program. After my book, this has been the most successful and fulfilling offer to date.
Can we expect to see you on the road for a live event anytime in the near future? A live event would be a dream! After the last few years, we are all craving in-person connection. I have been hosting in-person retreats as an extension of my entrepreneurship mentorship program and I have another one in April 2024. Professional women wanting to transition and grow in entrepreneurship will learn so much during these 3 days.
You’re also a successful entrepreneur what inspired you to start your entrepreneurship journey? My entrepreneurship journey started as a desire to help others create freedom in their life outside of healthcare. I found relief from burnout in healthcare by empowering myself to create income in other ways of service. Physicians have one of the highest rates of suicide and struggle with mental health while maintaining a consistently difficult, high-risk profession. The best way for me to stay in medicine and stay healthy was to create other ways to make a living and practice as much as my health would allow. I now help others create other streams of revenue based on purpose and authenticity to who they are as people rather than just their credentials. We are multi-dimensional human beings, and medicine today doesn’t allow much time or space for us to embody the other parts of ourselves. In my opinion, it’s part of why we suffer in our profession today.
Are you planning or working on a new book? If yes, what can we expect and what direction are you giving to your writing? Yes! I’ve been in the brainstorming process for my next book. I have come so far that the experiences in my first book feel like a past life. It’s time to tell the story of where I am now, stay tuned!
What advice do you have for anyone interested in learning more about what you do? Seek out support and mentorship in whatever your current hurdles are in life. Being truly self-made is a myth, everyone has asked for or was given help at some point. Those who are more successful aren’t any smarter or harder working than you. Don’t let comparison kill your dreams.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or initiatives you’re working on? Our Retreat coming up in April 2024 is in Miami, FL, and is meant for new entrepreneurs to come and learn from experts for 3 solid days while relaxing in luxury. Work should be fun, so we’re ditching the conference rooms and suits and trading them for pools, fireside chats, and business workshops in loungewear.
Medically I spend my time on social media educating and advocating for affordable obesity treatment, and demolishing stigma against having a larger body – or being different in society in any way. The goal is equitable healthcare for all, and one way I am working for that is by using the power of social media.
I consistently partner with other survivors of abuse to share their stories and provide a platform to help others wave their own flags to those silently suffering.
What message do you hope to share with the world through your work? Whatever you think your low point is in life is a catapult into another reality if you let it be. As someone who was almost taken off this earth at age 30, thought I’d be living in fear the rest of my life if I did survive, and felt like I was an imposter everywhere I went, I’m so grateful I kept going because today I created so much good from that turning point. You also don’t need to wait for a low point to seek out therapy or help, it’s the best decision I ever made.
Something that you are looking forward this year? This year I have expanded my openings for private mentorship clients. I’m excited to be alongside the next wave of healthcare entrepreneurs, and radically changing what self-care means by creating a new definition of having a balanced career.
Where can we find you? You can find me always on Instagram and TikTok @drdondiego.
Link to Book, “Self-Care Rx”: HERE
E-mail list to stay up to date with what I’m doing: HERE
Mentorship information: HERE
Retreat information: HERE