I have had the pleasure of knowing Michelle Houchens for over fifteen years. Interestingly, my interactions with Michelle through the years have evolved (as relationships often do) into what now would be considered two diametrically opposed scenarios. I first met Michelle when she was a District Manager (DM) for Medtronic, Inc. She was in their Cardiac Rhythm Management Division (CRMD) – an area classically known for its conservative approach to just about everything.
Medtronic is a Fortune 100 (actually top 10) company with a history of classic corporate mentality. The world of CRM is one of “inside the lines” thinking with little or no tolerance for an “outside the box” approach. Michelle excelled in this role and climbed the corporate ladder to become one of only a handful of women to achieve such a high level of success at Medtronic. That said, one could always see that she was a bit of a rebel deep down and that, for some reason, she was gifted in areas other than the corporate rat race. When Michelle left her DM position at Medtronic I believe I was one of the first people she contacted. We have stayed close friends and been involved together developing several ideas which we hope to bring to fruition in the areas of ‘comprehensive’ medical therapy – ideas more along the lines of conventional thinking.
Over the past several years I also have come to know her in her “other life”. I have found her to be a perceptive person who has provided me with tremendous insight not only into the lives of others but in my own life. Truthfully, I am about as much of a “Doubting Thomas” as one could meet. My background is in the sciences (Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Chemistry; PhD in Cardiovascular Physiology; MD with Internship/Residency/Fellowship in basic research and clinical investigation) and through the years I was taught to believe in only things that I could prove either by experimentation or observation. The concept of medical intuition or other ‘alternative’ approaches were foreign to me and very difficult for me to swallow. While I continue to be Michelle’s foil in many ways – always questioning and doubting – I have come to accept and respect her extraordinary talents. I have learned to trust her intuition and have become so trusting that we actually have initiated collaboration on several additional ventures in the area of unconventional/disruptive technology.
Michelle is an honest, forthright, thoughtful and perceptive person with an engaging personality – I can see why she has earned the respect of so many people. She uses her background in business, nursing and management to compliment her unusual skills. She immediately evokes confidence from the moment you meet her and has the ability to build upon that trust to the benefit of her patients. I am hopeful that she will be able to continue to share her rare gifts. I look forward to my meetings with her and wish her nothing but the best in her efforts to bring her intuitive skills to others.
Michael J. Barber, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS, FAHA Medical director, Penrose-St. Francis Cardiovascular Center