Influencer Ursula Marchena
Interview May 2021
Could you share with us some information of your family life?
I was born in Curaçao, I am married and I have a daugther of 23 years and I have one younger sister. I had a great time growing up. My parents were very supportive to whom I am right now. From the moment I can remember, I was playing around with my dolls and it was related to care, like hospital care with my Barbie dolls as patients and I also played a lot in the garden and in hindsight it explains my deep fascination and passion for herbs. I would make tea from leaves I would collect from the garden and I had no idea what herbs were. From my mother I learned the love for gardening and until this day I plant a lot of herbs.
From my father I learned yoga and that has also influenced me a lot. I also had two aunts that were yoga teachers back then and the rest of my family are into law or they are linguists. Only my grandfather use to work as an assistant-pharmacist in a pharmacist. Probably that is were I got this interest to study medicine. I went to Radulphus College and after finishing it, I went to Washington DC in the USA and did my pre-medicine studies there. After that I went to Costa Rica and studied alopathic medicine and became a family practioner.
How long have you been a general practitioner?
I am 23 years now a family practitioner, but I always collaborated closely with the alternative medicine sector. I have always been willing to refer patients to alternative therapies, like to Rudolf de Wit, Kenneth van Eer for their knowledge of acupuncture and homeopathy. Dinah Veeris for her knowledge of herbs. Furthermore my husband is from India and every two years we visit India and there is where I’ve learned Ayurveda. I have also take some courses on Ayurveda given by Carlo Monsanto in the past. In India Ayurveda is very normal and mainstream. A patient would prefer an Ayurveda general practitioner over one applying allopathic medicine. So that is how Ayurveda crossed my path. But as I was working in Curaçao in an environment where SVB dictates our work more or less, I was unable to apply preventive medicine. Only if the patient is open for an alternative approach and willing to pay for these services, be it consultations or supplements that are recommended to them by me, does it work. During the start of Covid Pandemic, I felt that the Universe send me a cue that now was the time to implement my approach and I ended up at Golden Village. Because of the Covid Pandemic, I started to see the absurdity of the situation I was in, as the whole world came to a stand still as there was no real solution readily available.
You are a holistic general practitioner, could you tell us what this entails and what it is not?
I have my own approach towards patients, but I don’t reject the allopathic, main stream medicine. I firmly believe in a holistic collaboration with other practitioners applying the mainstream medicine approaches. Like if someone has some issue with his heart or a kidney problem, you can’t just decide to suggest him to stop using his medicines, because he might have a permanently damaged heart or kidney situation. That is why I always, through forms patients have to fill in, create a medical file with the medical history of the patient, as this will make the subscription of certain herbs prohibitive for example. That is why I ask the patient for their last blood sample. I am very interested in herbalism and Ayurveda. Based on the constitution I would then tell the patient what I see, I classify the patient and determine what would be the best course of action to be taken, to balance this patient.
What is Ayurveda?
It is the science of longevity. It connects the external universe with the internal universe, and we help patients to integrate those two. So if a person is more like “fire” we would suggest actions, like types of food to eat, yoga poses, lowering of noise in his work and home environment, all to dim his fire. All in the name of prevention and balance.
How is it to work and create awareness on the importance for patients they approach their health from a holistic point of view and that they have the responsibility of their health in their own hands?
I would tell it to them, straight in their faces, with a diplomatic touch. Some people were born with certain issues and some have genetic tendencies. But in the end, we are responsible for where we are now at this moment regarding our health. I would tell them that it is your choice to be healthier, balanced and become more mindful of what you put in your mouth, of what you say and of what you think.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now and doing what you are doing right now?
Every time I see a person, how this person behaves and think, I can predict how this person would end up. But also what this person could do, to reverse the trend. So easy to do and so easy not to do it. Nature gives us everything to live to be happy and have a healthy life internally and externally, so they can become the best version of themselves. That is my motto.
You are also partially involved with Golden Village, and what made you join this platform that also serves as a meeting hub for like-minded people?
To connect, align and create impact. This is the reason I joined because it is a meeting hub for like-minded people and an opportunity to work together. Isn’t it better for all of us that all of us are here in Golden Village? Especially these days, when the Covid Pandemic has created an opportunity for some of us to break the isolation and join together. It inspires us and gives us strength. We often feel alone and isolated and don’t feel supported by the mainstream allopathic medicine practitioners. If I recommended “magnesium” and a specialist would say, absurd, this will not be the best way to go for the patient, right? I have had a lot of support of Rudolf de Wit, Carlo Monsanto and Angelo Luidens. They have been helpful in these hard times when I had to, at times, overcome the sarcastic remarks of some colleagues. I am now where I just don’t care so much any more of what they say. I have made my decision as I have seen it enough in my life as I have accompanied people on their deathbed before they passed away. This feeling that you have experience it, have felt it, felt loved. If you haven’t, you would feel disappointed. You have to be open for that and take actions, and it is worth the disappointment. Our youth are not having fun these times. Because of Covid, you are not even allowed to hug your teacher. I had such an easy childhood when I grew up compared to what they are going through right now.
When do you consider that you have been successfull in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
I am already successful and I am already feeling it.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
How to navigate between the regular, mainstream and holistic health sector. Unfortunately the main stream health sector is very quick to attack and it requires a lot of energy to go through this navigation in a safe manner.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up?
I do it from my feeling part.
How does that work for you?
Under a tree in meditation.
How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
I read a lot and participate in courses, that is how I keep it up.
What are your strengths?
I love to smile a lot, I am a very positive person and I like to learn.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
Apart for the passion for herbs I am a bad cook. I love knitting, embroidery and I write a lot for myself and for the broader public.
I would like to interview people some where 1,5 to 2 years from now, to share with me the herbs they are cultivating. I would like to go around and find people In Curaçao involved in their own plantations. Since we had wide spread chigunguya, more and more people went back to nature. I do collaborate with Dinah Veeris and she is looking so young and energetic. Btw, she told me that is because of her herbal garden. But I want to do this and maybe Share2Uplift can give a helping hand in this.
How would you describe Ursula in one word or one sentence?
In love with this world.
Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
Dinah Veeris because of her vast knowledge of local herbs and Vasant Lad my Professor in Ayurveda. On a personal level, my father.
What is a trait that is still work in progress?
What was a defining moment in your life?
You know, I have never gone through major crises in my life. I already knew intuitively that our body has a tremendous healing capacity. But to mention one defining moment that moment would be some years ago I had chikungunya and with this virus the mainstream medicine didn’t know what to do exactly. A lot of people started visiting Dinah Veeris to get papaya leaves, and from that day on I could notice more interest in preventive health care. I then also got dengue. This kept me one month long in bed. I am not a vegetarian but I am pescatarian. Through the healing capacity of my body and the use of natural remedies, I cured completely. And some colleagues of me, saw my blood samples and they were surprised how well I healed. And I can see what these two viruses can do with some patients and then we also got zika and this became my defining moment as I saw how patients with a healthy lifestyle and that took good care of themselves using supplements and herbs, could heal slowly but surely completely. That was my defining moment. While other patients and the costs for their care in our health insurance system are sky-high, they are still not completely cured. And last year we experienced the Covid Pandemic and this was my defining moment to change what I was doing as I personally had experienced total healing.
Where do you want to be 15 years from now with your career?
Be a 100 % holistic general medical practitioner.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
Ursula brought a smile to their faces and helped me a little to become my best version of myself.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao as we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, recession and in the middle of growing environmental challenges because of the global warming consequences?
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
There is always hope.
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Dr. Ursula Marchena is a dedicated, open-minded, curious (loves to learn), optimistic, holistic general medical practitioner, that loves life and loves to laugh. As a medical practitioner, she has always been open towards collaboration with alternative medicine and seeing it as complementary to the allopathic medicine. Her curiosity and openness made her study the benefits of medicinal herbs, she collaborates with Dinah Veeris and Ayurveda has led her to understand how important preventive medicine would be for her patients for who she cares for a lot. Over the years, she learned how powerful the healing capacity of the human body can be if this is based on a healthy lifestyle added with supplements. Navigating between the regular and holistic health sector has been a continuous challenge, but after some hard lessons and experiences with chikungunya, dengue, zika and now Covid 19, made her all the more convinced that she should increase her efforts to stay this path. Because of her continuous efforts to complement the regular mainstream medicine with alternative medicine which includes medicinal herbs, we dearly love and respect Ursula Marchena and consider her part of the 250 Influencers of the island representing the sector Health sector.