Jennifer Pearlman, MD, says that at her essence she’s an entrepreneur. “I am practicing the medicine of my dreams – the medicine that I’ve always wanted to practice. But, it is a model in medicine that did not exist. I had to build it,” says Dr. Pearlman, an expert in women’s health and aging, with a cosmetic medicine practice in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Her dream practice is the result of a 20-year evolution. Dr. Pearlman’s career included time as a high-ranking financial analyst, a menopause expert helping to run the largest menopause clinic in Canada, and operating a thriving concierge health practice and cosmetic clinic, PearlMD Rejuvenation, for over a decade. In her role today, she owns and operates an integrative health practice that combines personalized full-service cosmetic care and concierge precision medicine.
Always Drawn to Aesthetics
Dr. Pearlman learned about Botox’s (Allergan) aesthetic potential alongside the pioneers of this popular neuromodulator.
“I happened to be the medical student working with some of the early investigators of Botox, a group of Canadian doctors. So, very early on I had access and exposure,” she shared. “And from a very young age I had been drawing female faces. As a lover and observer of art, fashion and beauty, I knew this new segment of medicine was for me!”
The appeal of medicine arose early on for personal reasons. Dr. Pearlman’s dad had a massive heart attack when she was a teenager. She became determined to save him, and ended up helping to identify the technology that has saved his life many times since, an implantable cardiac defibrillator.
But, she never lost sight of her pursuit of beautiful faces. Dr. Pearlman began her injectable practice while simultaneously completing a fellowship in functional, anti-aging medicine and establishing her concierge health practice. She was committed to creating a unique and intimate experience for each patient, with highly personalized, expert and comprehensive care addressing the inside and outside. Her high touch model was in contrast to the common high-volume and low-value medspa model operating at the time.
“It was an interesting time. There was a lot of excitement in the industry and there were few options. You didn’t have to differentiate on a service and high-value basis because the medspas were one of the few games in town that were doing Botox,” Dr. Pearlman recalls.
Not a Straight Line to Aesthetics
Dr. Pearlman knows how to juggle things. She earned her designation as a Chartered Financial Analyst® in 2003 and worked as a healthcare analyst studying the global healthcare industry for more than a decade. She continued to practice in a concierge executive practice and at the hospital with a strong ongoing commitment to her medical career.
“I was planning to launch a healthcare fund in the midst of a booming stock market, when my world changed unexpectedly. For the better, both personally and professionally,” she recalled.
That was about 14 years ago, when Dr. Pearlman and her husband found out she was pregnant.
“I knew very quickly that being a woman in this man’s world of finance was very difficult. I could see my future change. The pregnancy was a wakeup call,” Dr. Pearlman expressed. “It was a quick and massive pivot in my career. I walked away from a very lucrative job and steady paycheck. But I knew it was the right time to build my dream, and I’ve never looked back.”
Dr. Pearlman built a practice based on high-quality and high-touch. She offers all of today’s nonsurgical services, from injectables and her own line of medical skincare, to laser and light-based devices, minimally invasive soft surgical technologies, treatments for skin, face and neck, body contouring, fat reduction, muscle toning and more. She also focuses on women’s wellness in a concierge model of practice, offering gene-based health optimization and personalized nutrition with her own line of proprietary health supplements.
“I built an approach to health and beauty that is holistic, personalized, patient-centric, high-tech, ever-evolving. It creates an experience like you’d expect at the Four Seasons or a fine boutique, but delivered by a team of experts in a way that is just right for each patient,” she stated.
She named the clinic PearlMD Rejuvenation, with the tagline “Ageless Vitality.” These were novel concepts 20 years ago.
“I’ll never forget my husband at the time said no one knows what the word ‘rejuvenation’ means. And no one uses the word ‘vitality,’” Dr. Pearlman shares. “Fast forward, these are now buzz words.”
Dr. Pearlman knew she wanted to differentiate herself with a relentless commitment to deliver the most advanced expert personalized care with unparalleled service and an extraordinary experience.
“I’ve always described my deliverable as what the patient is looking for, not a widget or commodity,” she explained. “I am focused on patients and delivering for them. There is so much we do from skin, face, body, fitness, health, sexuality, vaginal health...I felt it was pretty well described by the concept of “Ageless Vitality”. Regardless of your age you could live a healthy and vital life. That means so much more than the absence of sickness, which is what sick care or disease-based medicine delivers.”
Dr. Pearlman’s Advice to Other Aesthetic Practitioners
To master aesthetics, Dr. Pearlman says physicians have to focus on the science and ongoing learning. She teaches physicians around the world and attends medical meetings of different specialties to get new perspectives.
“Never lose focus on your fiduciary – who you are responsible to. That’s your patients and in my case my staff, as well,” Dr. Pearlman says. “Uphold professionalism and integrity in all your decision making. Look outside the industry for inspiration, so you can be true to yourself and not a copycat.”
Aesthetic providers who dilute or erode professional integrity, or are conflicted by convoluted commercial relationships, are harming not only themselves but the specialty.
“I do think there are ways to have healthy relationships with industry. I think there are ways to harness social media, to brand yourself, to grow your business, but still uphold all the tenants I mentioned,” she says.
What Colleagues Might not Realize
Dr. Pearlman is a mom to two boys, ages 13 and 10 years.
“My kids are my life,” she says. “Cuddling them, being with them, tucking them in every night, talking with them. That fills my heart and spirit and puts everything into perspective.”
Another important aspect of this entrepreneur’s life is exercise. She loves to go on long runs from her country cottage.
“The Japanese call it ‘forest bathing.’ I get totally lost in my thoughts. I feel like I’m in my zone and can conquer the world,” she says.
Good to Know
Fast Facts about Dr. Pearlman
Q: What are your three favorite songs?
Everything Drake because of my boys; “Dancing with a Stranger,” by Sam Smith; and I love Michael Bublé.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
“Stand by Me.” It is a coming of age movie.
Q: What do you think is the greatest medical invention of all time?
The implantable cardiac defibrillator. That singular device is pretty profound.
Q: What is your favorite treatment or procedure to perform?
Facial sculpting. I love working with fillers to sculpt the face.
Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor. And I really wanted to be a spy in the era of WWII. I had a lot of family that perished in the Holocaust. I am an observer of humanity and I always knew even as a little kid that I could have used my mind as a weapon or counter weapon for goodness.