Dr. Tracy Gapin recently made the ultimate career pivot, in launching a new medical practice that seeks to take high-tech personalized medicine mainstream.
For 17 years, Dr. Tracy Gapin was part of a traditional urology practice, treating patients and doing surgeries for issues like kidney stones and prostate cancer. “But I got to the point where I felt like there was more out there for me,” he says.
His own health journey inspired his next move. After a routine physical where his weight and cholesterol were higher than normal, he began reading up on topics like health optimization, nutrition and preventative and precision medicine. By applying what he learned, he not only lost weight and lowered his cholesterol, but felt better and more energetic, too.
‘I may spend an hour with patients now, where I used to have six minutes. I get to really focus on areas of health that they don’t otherwise get to focus on.’ Dr. Tracy Gapin
“I’m always looking to innovate, looking for new approaches and for the cutting edge of health,” says Gapin, 49. “Through my own health issues, I found a new world of health optimization with a focus on genetics, hormone optimization, peptide therapy, integration of wearable technology, physiology and longevity. And that was where I got super excited. … There’s more to health than just the traditional disease model of medicine that I was entrenched in for so long.”
In July 2020 he gave his practice the required one-year notice, and in December 2021 he officially opened the Gapin Institute in Sarasota to help patients optimize their health the way he did. Dr. Gapin declined to provide revenue figures or patient counts, but he says “we’re growing quickly month over month.”
Patients come to the institute for issues like low energy, weight gain, brain fog and sexual performance. Dr. Gapin started out focusing on just men, but the practice now treats women as well. Over the last four years, he’s developed his proprietary personalized and data-driven N1 Performance Health Program that includes a health evaluation, genomic testing and a personalized plan to improve patients’ health and performance. According to the Gapin Institute, 98% of patients report improved energy levels, 90% lose weight in the first 30 days, and 87% of patients experience better sleep quality.
The Gapin Institute’s typical patient? “A high-performing executive who’s super busy and doesn’t have time in his busy life, but recognizes the importance of finally paying attention to his health,” says Dr. Gapin. The practice works with wealth advisors, C-suite execs, entrepreneurs, business owners and retired athletes both from the local area and who live all over the world and come to the institute for treatment.
It’s a different patient population than the one he treated at his former practice, and his services aren’t covered by traditional health insurance. To get the word out about what he’s doing, he’s been speaking at conferences and events and on podcasts, creating online content and utilizing social media and digital advertising. “A lot of it is really aligning with like-minded individuals,” he says.
There are some challenges. “A lot of people aren’t ready for this type of medicine yet; they aren’t ready for the optimization type of model,” he says. “Many people are still stuck on the disease model: Give me a prescription medicine to treat the symptom. I’m not here to treat a symptom. I’m here to really address the underlying causes so they can get beyond the issue. It’s kind of a mindset shift for patients that’s been challenging at times.”
That’s why education and outreach are an important part of the equation. There are also the expenses of starting a new business, which Gapin has self-funded. He declined to quantify startup costs other than saying it was a “large personal investment.”
But he’s already seeing benefits to setting off on this new path. “I get to do what I love,” he says. “I am incredibly passionate about this and am constantly learning more, studying, researching and applying what I learn.”
He’s also developing stronger relationships with patients. “I get to spend a ton of time with my patients,” says Gapin. “I may spend an hour with patients now, where I used to have six minutes. … I get to really focus on areas of health that they don’t otherwise get to focus on.”
The Gapin Institute has a staff of about 20 and is already maxing out its 3,200-square-feet of space off University Parkway in north Sarasota, behind the Whole Foods plaza. “We’ve got to make it work for the time being, but it’s already much tighter than I expected,” he says.
Gapin is also working on creating a certification program to teach other physicians how to offer and run his N1 program. “It’s really the future of health and performance, what we do here with using technology, using genetics using data,” he says. “Everything that we do is cutting edge. … A lot of people don’t realize how bad they feel until they’re able to make a change.”