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Dr. Rachel: The Teaching Doctor

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Got a question for Dr. Rachel? Send her an e-mail at

Dr. Rachel Reitan is the host of her own medical segment on News with a Twist, Dr. Rachel: The Teaching Doctor, which won a Suncoast Emmy in November 2013 for On-Air Medical Reporting. Launched in 2012, Dr. Reitan has used the Dr. Rachel platform to better inform people about their health and their body. Her ultimate goal is to help people realize that they only have one body and they should treat their body like a palace.

Dr. Rachel takes complicated medical information and turns it into easy-to-understand information. She is passionate about teaching her patients and viewers simple ways to get and stay healthy. She is also known for tackling topics that are timely, life-saving, and sometimes controversial.

No stranger to television, Dr. Rachel has been featured on television newscasts on CBS, NBC, and Fox in Los Angeles and the Dr. Phil Show-”Women in their 50′s having babies.”  She has published health articles in many magazines and newspapers.

Dr. Rachel is a specialist in Minimally Invasive Surgery. She is a certified DaVinci Robotic Surgeon as well as Single Incision Surgeon.  She is also a member of the International Society of Cosmetogynecology.  She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) and fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She is on staff at Louisiana State University Health Science Center, Pediatric/Adolescent Consultant at Children’s Hospital, Women’s Health Specialist at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Administration Women’s Health, and The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office-Rape Division.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa she was the first interracial adoption with Lutheran Social Services in Iowa.  She grew up in Decorah, Iowa, the youngest of 5 children. She studied Nursing as an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California and worked as a Registered Nurse at Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, before deciding to go to medical school.

Dr. Rachel earned her Medical Degree (MD) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Rachel did her residencies at John Hopkins and LSU. She practiced Academic medicine at University of California-Irvine before returning to New Orleans nine days before Katrina!

An avid animal lover, she rescues stray puppies and kittens, has them spade/neutered and finds them good homes. Dr. Rachel is a member of SPCA, New Orleans SPCA Spade and Neuter Program, New Orleans Feral Cat Program, and The Human Society.

Dr. Rachel loves football, Zumba, and having fun with good friends and family. One of her top destinations for her out of town guests—a spin through a drive thru daiquiri store! They are amazed.

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Injuring yourself on purpose by making scratches or cuts on your body with a sharp object is called cutting. Cutting is a form of self-harm. It is not a suicide attempt. Some people self-harm by burning their skin with the end of a cigarette or a lit match.
Self-harm typically starts at about age 14 and continues into adulthood. Cutting has long existed in secrecy. But in recent years, movies and TV shows have drawn attention to it so a greater number of our kids, as young as 11, are trying it.
People may cut themselves on their wrists, arms, inner thigh, or bellies. Cuts can easily be hidden under clothing and sometimes no one else knows.
The mix of emotions that triggers cutting is complex.
Cutting is a way some people try to cope with the pain of strong emotions, intense pressure, or relationship problems. Cutting provides a distraction from painful emotions such as rage, sorrow, rejection, desperation or emptiness through physical pain. Some people cut to feel a sense of control over their body through physical pain. Some cut to feel something, even if it is physical pain when they are feeling emotionally empty.
Some people who cut have had a traumatic experience, such as living with abuse, violence, or a disaster.
Cutting is usually a person’s attempt at feeling better but it doesn’t really do that.
You may be surprised if you ask your child if they know anyone who cuts. It is not uncommon and there is help for those who do.

Dr. Rachel gives tips for keeping your pets calm during the July 4th celebrations. Local PETCO locations are offering an Anxiety & Calming Seminar for dogs Saturday, June 28th, and Sunday, June 29th, at 2pm.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Summer is just around the corner, how is your core? Do you really know? Our teaching doctor Dr. Rachel explains what your core is all about.

Your core muscles are not just your abs; they’re all of the muscles in your entire mid-section, which includes your abs, back muscles, side muscles, as well as your hip muscles: glutes, hip flexors and pelvic floor muscles.

Your core muscles are involved in all of your daily activities, so they are very important muscles to keep strong and healthy.

Having strong core muscles makes it easier to do everything from playing sports to getting a glass from the top shelf or bending down to put on your shoes.

Weak core muscles lead to chronic low back pain, poor posture, flabby abs and muscle injuries.

Core muscle exercises train the muscles in your abdomen, lower back, hips and pelvis to work together which leads to better balance and stability, enhanced flexibility, better breathing, a stronger body and of course flat, strong abs which leads to a sexier you.

The great news about core muscle exercises is that you do not, I repeat, do not require a gym. You can do them in the privacy of your own home.

The secret is you must do them.

If you have any medical questions for me, send me an email:

Dr. Rachel: Get Naked to Prevent Skin Cancer

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - It’s that time of year to have some fun in the sun, but watch out! Sunburn can lead to skin cancer.

Our teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel, gives us the 411 on how to protect yourself.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Sleep plays a vital role in good health and your over all well-being. Yet, millions of people do not get enough sleep.

You may think of sleep as “down time”—when your body shuts off and rests. Not true.

While you are sleeping, your brain is hard at work forming new pathways to help you learn, create memories, and retain information. Your body is also repairing itself from your day and preparing itself for a new day.

Adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night to be well rested. Losing even just 1–2 hours of sleep each night can make you function as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.

Without enough sleep, you have problems with learning, focusing, working, making decisions, and reacting quickly.

Sleep deficiency affects your ability to drive more than drunk driving. A lack of sleep causes mood problems. And a chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infections.

Naps may provide a short term boost in alertness. But naps do not provide all of the other benefits of night-time sleep. The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life.

AGE Recommended Amount of Sleep
Newborns    0- 6 months 16- 18 hours a day
Toddlers    6 months to 2 years 10- 14 hours a day
Preschool-aged children    2- 5 years 10-12 hours a day
School-aged children     6- 12 years At least 10 hours a day
Teens    13- 18 years 8- 9 hours a day
Adults    19- 64 years 7-8 hours a day
Older Adults    65+ years 7-8 hours a day


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - In an emergency do you co-workers and friends have the information they need to save your live?

Our teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel says you should put that info on I.C.E!


Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs are getting a lot of attention right now here are some facts so you can understand why they are getting this attention.

E-cigs work by heating up liquid nicotine into a mist or vapor that gets inhaled into your lungs. There is even an LED at the end that lights up when you inhale. There’s no fire, no ash, and no smoky smell like with traditional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes do not contain ALL of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes. But, e-cigarette vapors do contain toxins such as propylene glycol along with nicotine, flavoring and other additives that are not good for your lungs.

There are no restrictions on e-cigarettes so they are reaching our children at an alarming rate. Their use has doubled among high school and middle school students in the past year. Kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become addicted to nicotine and use real cigarettes.

Nicotine is a highly addictive dangerous substance, whether it is delivered in a traditional cigarette or an e-cigarette.

No e-cigarette has been approved by the FDA as a safe and effective product to help people quit smoking. In fact, about 80% of people who smoke e-cigs will continue to smoke traditional cigarettes.

The best thing you can do is to not smoke anything at all. Your lungs will definitely thank you.


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Did you know that volunteering to help someone else actually helps you?  It doesn’t just make you feel good, volunteering gives you a reall, physical boost! Our News with a Twist teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel explains.