Heidi Iratcabal

Don’t wait to be perfect. Don’t wait until you have all the answers. You just need an idea and integrity and the answers will find you. Stay the course, know your goals, and focus on the process.


Dr. Heidi Iratcabal is co-founder and creator of Carpathia Collaborative, a functional medicine clinic committed to providing reliable and customized strategies to help people take control of their health and wellbeing. To achieve this, clinicians at Carpathia assess and analyze aspects of a client’s physical, emotional, environmental and psychological inputs to unlock the patterns of disease and chronic illness. Functional medicine is an approach in which practitioner and client work together to uncover and treat the root cause of health dysfunction rather than give a pill for an ill.

Dr. Iratcabal’s interest in health and nutrition stems from a career in athletics in both the United States and in Europe. She began her athletic journey with a scholarship to the University of Nebraska for javelin and Heptathlon, then eventually moved to Europe and discovered bicycle racing. She was selected to ride for the first women’s professional team, Euromarche, in France. During the four years of racing, she was exposed to an integrative approach of targeted diet and nutrient therapies for high athletic performance. These inspired her to study these concepts as a profession.

After retiring from racing Dr. Iratcabal returned to America to pursue formal training in the alternative field of health. She studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy and formal Functional Medicine training with the Institute for Functional Medicine, a highly regarded certification for medical practitioners.

She is also currently pursuing her Board Certification in Functional Neurology.

For 20 years prior to opening Carpathia Collaborative, she owned and operated Center of Health, a functional wellness clinic that addressed a wide range of conditions such as sports performance, fertility challenges, diabetes, and adrenal fatigue.

Carpathia Collaborative is the brainchild of 40 years of experience between the two owners. merging the concepts of integrative and functional health care and making it available on a larger scale.

Where did the idea for Carpathia Collaborative come from?

For 20 years, my business partner and I had our own independent functional medicine practices and would often refer to each other. Then, four years ago, we decided to merge and create Carpathia Collaborative- a functional medicine center where multidisciplinary collaboration could provide whole health care for clients. The name “Carpathia” is symbolic, and an homage to the ship Carpathia that attempted to rescue the people on the Titanic. This represents our mission to help people who have not found answers to their health concerns in the traditional medical model.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My day differs from traditional medicine in that I will spend 60-90min 1-on-1 with my clients. This makes it so I only see 6 people a day. During our sessions, I establish a timeline of their heath, recommend appropriate testing, lifestyle and diet changes, and treatment protocols. To make my day productive, I have an admin team who monitors my schedule and cancellation list, so if I have a client cancel or reschedule, they can fill that slot. This way I never have gaps during the day. I also allow myself an hour lunch to serve as a buffer to catch up, discuss clients with colleagues, and mentally regroup for the afternoon. I often will meet with my business partner and office manage at the end of the day to discuss any business concerns and updates on future projects. On Fridays we have an extended collaborative session with all practitioners, nurses, and dietitians to discuss protocols and cases. This improves productivity because we can more efficiently and effectively agree on a treatment plan and execute without delay of care.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas are presented to the office manager by myself, business partner, and colleagues. We discuss timing, implementation and logistics. Our manager gives us feedback on financial possibilities, the steps needed to bring these ideas to fruition. We then present to our colleagues at the collaborative session to get their input as well.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am most excited about the plethora of scientific research that shows we can prevent or cure 80% of diseases through diet and lifestyle changes. We do not have to wait until we need surgery or medication to cure a disease.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

You have to show up, and that means not waiting for someone else to do it. If a toilet paper roll needs to be changed, do it. It is about getting the job done and doing it well, not being above doing any task.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t wait to be perfect. Don’t wait until you have all the answers. You just need an idea and integrity and the answers will find you. Stay the course, know your goals, and focus on the process. This is where the meat is.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

One thing that no one wants to talk about is accountability, setting boundaries and seeing that they are honored. When we don’t hold ourselves and our employees to a standard, we are failing each other. It is difficult to do, it is tough love, but it is mutually beneficial. Accountability will make you stronger, wiser and more valuable in your position.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I really believe in showing up every day, in heart, mind, and spirit. As an owner, you are automatically a leader and you want to inspire employees to follow you, to better themselves and the company. It does not matter if it is just you and 1 assistant, or you plus 50 employees, you have to show up so you can serve your client base.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Our strategy has been to fill a need that is not being met in the traditional medical model. This different approach to health care integrates the psychological, emotional, and physical connections because it all matters when looking for root cause of illness. Root causes are our primary focus. This approach has helped thousands of clients who otherwise were not getting their questions answered, and this has translated to primarily word-of-mouth referrals.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

We planned too small. The need was greater than we anticipated and we were caught off guard and unprepared for the growth trajectory. We overcame it by creating better processes and procedures that allowed us to more efficiently filter people through the clinic, yet maintain quality 1-on-1 care.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A case coordination business that can connect multiple care modalities for clientele who are looking for alternative and functional health care but don’t know where to start.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently purchased an online course on how to read people, by Vanessa Van Edwards who wrote the book Captivate. This course teaches you how to take charge of your interactions with people, to be more confident in social situations, and how to read facial expressions and body language. In learning these skills, I can better assess if a potential hire would be a good fit with our team. It has made me more aware of my own body language, so I can convey my message more clearly.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Our main software we use is MD-HQ, our online medical record system. This system was built specifically for functional medicine practitioners, so unlike most EMRs, it is not heavy on insurance and coding. This EMR is more interactive for the client and practitioner to communicate as well as offers more education, diet, and lifestyle programing within its matrix. However, it maintains HIPAA compliance and medical efficiency when needed.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I love Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller. He ingeniously breaks down the steps to refine your message within your brand so it is clean, clear, and more engaging for your audience. He teaches you first and foremost that the success of your business is based on your ability to listen to your client’s story, rather than telling them all about yours.

What is your favorite quote?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”- Maya Angelou

Key learnings:

  • Be bold. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before starting something you are passionate about
  • Show up mind, body, and spirt for yourself, your employees, and your clientele
  • Have processes and plans in place for best and worst case scenarios. Don’t get caught off guard with exponential growth.
  • Read Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller to clarify your message


Heidi Iratcabal on LinkedIn:
Heidi Iratcabal on Twitter: @DrHeidiND