Erica Chowning has always loved working with people and making them feel better. So she doesn’t regard being the owner and practitioner at Vibrant Med as a job. “As Thomas Edison said, ‘I’ve never worked a day in my life. It was always fun,’” she smiled.
That’s been Erica’s irrepressible attitude since she was young. She was born in the small town of Carrollton, just north of her current Vibrant Med offices in Crestwood, KY. A serious student, she played piano, read voraciously, and edited her middle school newspaper. As a fourteen-year-old, she begged her mother to let her volunteer at a nursing home behind her house as a Helping Hand (a program like the Candy Stripers hospital volunteers). Her mom agreed on one condition: Erica had to keep her grades up.
She did, graduating in the top five of her high school class. But she also showed up at the nursing home at 7am on her scheduled mornings, doing any dirty job asked of her. She also took classes and written exams from The Red Cross to become a Certified Nursing Assistant by the time she was 16.
“I fell in love with caring for people,” she said. “I wanted to do more.”
It was no surprise when she attended University of Louisville, graduating cum laude with a degree in nursing. Just two years later, she was named ICU Nurse of the Year at Baptist Northeast in LaGrange, KY. Her caring attitude was again at the forefront. “When working in ICU, I had the philosophy that no one should die alone. If someone were passing, I’d hold hands with that person to offer some comfort.”
“I think healthcare has become so depersonalized, and I’m a firm believer that you have to look at the individual, not just an electronic chart.”
Driven by this belief, Erica (an admitted perfectionist) continued her education, becoming a Nurse Practitioner with her degree from Northern Kentucky University in 2012. She is Board-Certified as a Family Health Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and is also a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners as well as The Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives.
In her first job as a Nurse Practitioner, she did primary care, but also functional and regenerative medicine, such as weight loss and hormone therapy. This opened up a new area of interest, and she began to think about the aesthetic side and the idea of opening her own Medical Spa—partly because she saw the ways it helped patients, and partly because she saw ways that she could improve on the Med Spa concept (her Type A personality at work again).
That’s how Vibrant Med came to be. And it certainly has Erica’s personal touch. She oversees all operations and is certified with advanced training in aesthetic injectables including neurotoxins, fillers, and Kybella® as well as laser treatments and modalities such as Ultherapy®.
“We set aside probably double the time as other practices, but that allows us time to listen to and understand our patients,” she said. “We really get to know each patient and what he or she wants to be. They see we genuinely care.”
You feel that from the moment you walk through the doors. Vibrant Med is located on the outskirts of Louisville, so there’s no traffic to worry about. Instead of a small waiting area, the reception lobby is open and welcoming, with a modern but warm feel rather than a clinical medical atmosphere. Treatment rooms have the same comforting vibe.
Erica designed the offices herself. And the staff is hand picked, based on exceptional skills and caring attitudes.
“We are constantly tweaking and improving our organization,” Erica noted. “Because the aesthetics field is continually evolving.”
She’s very excited about new technologies. “It used to be that if you wanted any significant improvement in appearance, you had to resort to surgery, but that’s not the case anymore,” she said. “Just in the 21st century, we have gained injectables like Botox® and dermal fillers. And in the last 20 years, those technologies have made major advances. We can be very precise in the changes we make. It’s a combination of science and art, and it continues to get better.”
She said new treatments can do even more. “Now, we have treatments that stimulate the body to produce its own natural collagen, so it’s easier to blend treatments for a more natural look. Then there are nutraceutical supplements that patients can take as a part of wellness. And someday with genomics, we’ll be able to help patients select treatments and nutrition that are best suited for their genetic makeup.
“We’re just getting started,” she said.
When she’s not working, Erica is focused on family with husband Jeramie, son Blake, daughter Kaden, goldendoodle Sophie, and Scratch the cat. She reads anything she can get her hands on whenever she has a spare moment. She loves traveling, anywhere near the ocean, and can be found on vacation, sand between her toes, listening to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.