She’s a Certified Dermatologist & Coach to Women Who Want More Out of Midlife. Meet Author & Doctor Keira L. Barr
Dr. Barr’s approach combines science with soul, beginning with bioidentical hormones, cutting out what doesn’t belong in your life, and making room for what sets your soul on fire. When we work together, you move from wanting to burn it all down to being fully lit up in your greatness.
Q: At what age did you realize you wanted to pursue a career as a Doctor?
KB: It was the end of my freshman year of college. When I went to college, I wanted to try something new and didn’t take any science classes. By the end of that first year though, I felt like something was missing. I was not fully aligned with my true calling. I knew I had to balance my passion for the humanities, which I majored in, with science, so I went to summer school to begin my pre-med prerequisites and get on track towards pursuing a career in medicine.
Q: Today, you’re a global speaker, an internationally best-selling author and educator, tell us, has it always been a smooth road?
KB: I’m sitting here laughing to myself as I look back and reflect how unsmooth it has been at times. That being said, I’m so grateful for all the detours, potholes and rough patches along this journey because without them, my book would never have been written and I wouldn’t have travelled around the world to speak and have the pleasure of meeting so many incredible people. My mess became my message and my mission.
Q: Can you share with our audience the work you do at Resilient Health Institute along with your roll as Founder & Chief Wellness Officer?
KB: I know, when women in midlife feel comfortable in their skin, they own their confidence, truly love themselves, and easily access the radiance and vitality needed to make the impact they want to make in the world. Using hormone replenishment therapy and lifestyle shifts, my methods blend science with soul by combining the latest in evidence-based medicine with mind-body practices to help women in menopause ditch the discomfort, shame and guilt during this transition and embody confidence, radiance and vitality in all areas of their lives. When I work with women, we strip away the layers holding them back so that they can look and feel rejuvenated and revitalized in every area of their life again.
Q: Tell us about some of the discoveries you’ve made including those pertaining to skin cancer?
KB: My extensive training as a melanoma specialist, never prepared me for having to diagnose myself with this skin cancer. At the time of my diagnosis, I thought I was doing everything “right” as a practicing dermatologist. I was wearing my sunscreen, protective clothing, hat, sunglasses, eating what I thought was a healthy diet and I was running ultra-marathons. But I was wrong. I had had dozens of changing and atypical moles over the preceding decade that were biopsied. I just accepted this as part of getting older. But skin cancer was a wake-up call for me. It made me stop and take notice, and when you take notice you can take action. I had to take an honest look at how I was living my life. I had to evaluate my priorities.
What I discovered is that your skin and body are sending messages and giving clues all the time and the key is to hear them when they are just a whisper rather than a shout. Hence, the title of my book, “The Skin Whisperer.” My skin and body had been shouting at me for over a decade and I hadn’t been paying attention. Once I was willing to take notice, I was able to truly tune in to what my body needed to not only heal but thrive. It’s been 8 years since I’ve needed a biopsy and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. It’s this level of self-awareness and self- care that I help my clients and patients discover for themselves.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
KB: The fear of detouring from the status quo. As a traditionally trained physician, there is a very linear path that most of us follow. When I left my academic career eight years ago, I could never have imagined the path I am on now, but I had to follow my gut and lead with my heart. I believe we teach best what we need to learn the most, so I have had to overcome my fears and give myself permission to pursue the lessons.
Q: What are the best practices you have employed to build a successful career?
KB: For me, one of the best practices is to always be learning, discovering and being open to new ideas. Medicine and technology are evolving so rapidly that it’s important to stay curious and informed. That being said, I truly believe that communication, collaboration and connection are the foundation. We can’t practice in a vacuum and it’s vital that my clients/patients feel seen, heard, and understood.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
KB: Keeping an open mind and following your heart. If you had told me eight years ago that as a dual board-certified dermatologist, that the focus of my career would shift to supporting women in menopause and that I would be teaching health care professionals about mindfulness and mind-body skills, I would never have believed it. But remaining open to possibilities opened up opportunities to experience so much greater satisfaction.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
KB: Every woman has a story that needs to be heard. I learn something from every woman I have the pleasure of meeting and for that I am grateful.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
KB: The beauty industry and the media are constantly bombarding women with images, fads, trends and products that send messages that they aren’t good enough as they are, rather they need to “anti-age,” and transform their lives and bodies to fit some arbitrary ideal. It creates unnecessary stress, shame, and anxiety and it needs to change. I have a teenage daughter and I see the impact that social media images and messaging have on her. None of us are “Benjamin Button” aging in reverse, we are all aging. The goal is to embrace the age we are and thrive at every moment. That’s why I focus on preventative skin aging and nourishing our bodies on all levels to make that a reality for midlife women.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who wants to pursue a medical career?
KB: Go for it! It’s not a short or easy road, but it’s fascinating. Having a mentor is something that I wish I had when I was going through my training, so my advice would be to find a mentor early on.
Q: What's your advice for women in male-dominated fields?
KB: Medicine used to be a male dominated field, and now there are more women in medical school than men….so my advice is, follow your interests, and don’t let stereotypes be a deterrent.
Four Things About Dr. Keira Barr
1. What were you like as a student?
I’m a slow and steady kind of gal. I would read things over and over again and give myself plenty of time to prep and study, so I felt fully prepared with time to spare and relax before exams. There were never any “all-nighters” for me, a good night’s rest has always been top priority.
2. If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Honestly, I would be my dog Angus. He is the sweetest, gentlest chocolate lab who is the best snuggler ever. He just loves to be with his people and is perfectly content no matter what he is doing.
3. Which celebrity do you most identify with?
That’s a hard one because I’ve never walked a day in someone else’s shoes and I have no idea what’s happening behind their curtains, so I’d say it’s the one my kids think I am. There is no greater gift and joy for me than having a strong bond with my teens who are proud of me.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday afternoon?
You’ll find me hiking or biking the trails with my family, on the sidelines of a sport’s field cheering on my kids, or in my kitchen experimenting with new recipes. My kids and I love recreating recipes to make them gluten and dairy free.