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Look Who’s Talking the Changing Face of Healthcare

Dr. Marti Peters-Sparling

Dr. Marti Peters-Sparling is a family physician and the co-owner of Southwest Michigan Health Matters. Growing up with a love of Biology and other sciences and a desire to do something meaningful and help people, medicine was the clear choice. Earning an MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Marti started her career at Oakwood (now Beaumont) Hospital in Wayne, MI and eventually transferred to Bronson where she worked for ten years before deciding to forge her own path and open a clinic where she could have more freedom to practice holistic medicine and devote more time to her patients, following the Direct Primary Care model.

Dr. Marti enjoys the variety in her work and getting to talk with people from many different cultural backgrounds, life experiences, upbringings and religious beliefs. Helping people take back their own health, teaching others the benefits of a plantbased diet and taking care of our planet Earth are some of the things that are most important to her.

A wife and mom of two little boys, Dr. Marti enjoys meditation, pottery and gardening. One of the biggest inspirations in her life was her grandmother. Dr. Marti fondly remembers, “She always seemed like such a strong, independent woman, not afraid of anything and down to earth. She made the best rolls, knew how to use a shotgun (to keep squirrels off her bird feeder) and always had a big smile on her face.”

After a long day she likes to go for a walk outside to unwind and re-ground herself. Lately, reconnecting with the Earth helps her feel less disconnected from her community. Dr. Marti also enjoys reading and just finished Wabi Sabi Simple by Richard Powell. Her favorite indulgence (lately) is movies. Her family just watched Onward! and they are eagerly awaiting Trolls World Tour to be available for rental.

For optimal wellness, Dr. Marti encourages everyone to take time out every day, sit and reflect, move every day (outdoors if you can) & eat more plants!

Emily Betros

Emily Betros is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, certified health coach and the owner of Reclaiming Health, LLC. Seeing so many friends and family members struggle with body image issues and constantly being consumed by the latest fad diet inspired Emily to become a certified health coach.

Emily’s passion is helping people give themselves permission to break free from the destructive cycles of “diet culture” and live a more intuitive life.

Earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Michigan State University and her Health Coaching Certification form the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Emily set out to help people take their health back and realize that their self-worth should never be tied to a number on the scale.

Emily loves to see her clients show up for themselves and watch their determination and courage grow at each session. It is humbling and inspiring to hear their stories and witness their strength as we navigate their journey to health. Some of the most powerful tools she equips her clients with are also her favorite tips and they include; practicing flexible thinking around your goals and expectations, get outside and deep into nature as much as you can, check in with your body daily to see what it needs, practice your own version of meditation or reflection and extend compassion toward yourself and others.

Emily lives in the Milwood neighborhood with her husband Matt and their two-year old daughter, Luna. She loves a good cup of coffee from one of our local coffee shops and is currently reading several books; Befriending Your Body by Ann Saffi Biasetti, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Annissa Gray and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

Emily is inspired by the amazing women in our Kalamazoo community. She says, “If you have a personal or professional dream, need someone to talk to, or guidance in some way, chances are there’s another woman in our community that can help. Reach out, get to know your neighbors, get involved in the community and find your place. I couldn’t have started my business without the help of many other women in our community who had done it before me.”

Jenny Opdycke, PA-C

Jenny Opdycke is a physician assistant (also known as an Advanced Practice Provider), spiritual teacher and the co-owner of Southwest Michigan Health Matters. In addition to a Master’s Degree in Medicine from Western Michigan University, Jenny has extensive postgraduate training in; nutrition, crisis intervention(CISM), counseling, Neuroemotional Technique (NET), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), motivational interviewing and non-violent communication. From the time she was a small child, Jenny has known that she was a healer. It brings her great joy to help people and bring love and compassion. It is her life’s purpose. With clinical experience in cardiothoracic/vascular surgery, general surgery, gastroenterology, critical care/rapid response, palliative care/hospice, rheumatology, internal medicine, urgent care and family medicine, Jenny is an extremely skilled provider who is devoted to her patients.

After experiencing growing frustration with the inability to spend much needed time with patients due to insurance regulations, Jenny began looking for a solution. She and Dr. Marti Peters-Sparling began exploring the Direct Primary Care model and opened their practice in 2019. Focusing on six pieces of powerful medicine which form the cornerstone of health (stress management, quality nutrition, exercise, sleep, healthy relationships and spiritual relationships), she believes that there is no one size fits all approach to health and works to individualize a plan for each patient.

Jenny loves teaching and helping people awaken to their body’s capacity for health and healing. This often includes helping her patients explore spirituality which she loves. One of the causes that is most important to Jenny is helping physicians and health care providers where burnout and suicide has been on the rise. She has a real passion for healing the healers. Sleep, meditation and movement are among Jenny’s tips for wellness.

Mom to eleven-year old twin girls and three fur babies, Jenny loves to curl up with a good book and a nice cup of tea after a long day. A woman who truly inspires Jenny is her dear friend, Dr. Elizabeth Warner. Jenny says, “She has been such an important source of love, encouragement and support. I am constantly inspired by her brilliance, her heart, her capacity for love and her strength. I am grateful beyond words for her friendship.”

Jenny’s favorite indulgence is a Starbucks Café Americano with cream, sugar-free vanilla syrup and a dash of cinnamon. She also loves a good book and has been revisiting Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch which sent her on her spiritual journey over 15 years ago. An important take away from this book: love trumps fear like nothing else can.

Jenny strongly believes that awareness and a supportive partnership with your health care provider is key.

When creating the editorial plan for this edition I envisioned four women committed to brining health, happiness and wholeness to the women of our community through their work as healers. The first woman I invited to be on the cover and to be featured in this story was my friend & acupuncturist of almost ten years, Jessica Silber.

Tragically and unexpectedly, Jessica passed away on March 4th before we had the chance to complete her interview. I cannot let this edition be published without honoring the beautiful life that was, Jessica Silber.

Jessica Silber, MSTOM, Dipl. OM was first and foremost a wonderful mother to her five-year old son, Nolan. She was born in Santa Rosa, California and grew up in Paw Paw, Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from MSU and tenaciously pursued her desire to be a healer by earning a Master of Science degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. She became a National Board Certified and Licensed Acupuncturist and owned a practice in Kalamazoo. Jess was a healing presence for many and was passionate about bringing new life into the world, nurturing moms and babies and supporting those around her on their physical and spiritual journeys.

Jess ran cross country in high school and was a devoted lifelong runner and soccer player. She loved playing piano and being a wildlife rehabilitator at Kalamazoo Nature Center. She passionately supported the empowerment of women. She will forever be loved and missed by her family, her friends and her community.

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