‘I recommend girls play outside and get dirty’

‘I recommend girls play outside and get dirty’

Ingrid LeVasseur, who grew up in Fort Fairfeld, says she has been exploring alternative health since she was a teenager. Before she was married, she taught meditation at the Ayurvedic Health Center for Stress Management and Behavioral Medicine in Massachusetts with Deepak Chopra.

“That was an exciting and fulfilling time,” she says.

In 2006, after her 28-year marriage ended, LeVasseur opened Inner Image Clinical Thermography in Falmouth, where her clients come for infrared breast screenings. Infrared screening was registered 30 years ago by the Federal Drug Aministration as an adjunctive tool in the breast screening toolbox, but most insurance still doesn’t cover it. The images, which are read and interpreted by specially trained doctors, are created without the use of radiation or compression of the breast.

As someone who strongly believes in providing patients with alternative methods of healing and diagnosis, LeVasseur was intrigued with this technology and with the chance to offer women another screening option – one that has been shown to detect metabolic changes in breast tissue that may be precursors to tumor growth.

LeVasseur points out that thermography is not meant to replace mammography. In fact, only about 20 percent of her clients rely solely on thermal imaging for breast screenings. Because most insurance does not cover it, LeVasseur is still one of only a few providers of thermography in New England. She travels from her office in Yarmouth to Connecticut, Massachusetts and midcoast Maine two to three times a year to provide screenings to those who can’t travel to Maine for them.

“People who come to me are conscientious and want to take advantage of whatever they can,” she says. And LeVassuer is happy to be able to offer it to them.

Q

What do you think are the top characteristics of an innovator – a woman who breaks the mold?

A

An innovative woman has courage of her convictions. She sees the end result and is determined to get there regardless of the obstacles.

Q

Who are your role models?

A

My role models are my clients. They break the mold every day when they decide to use thermal imaging as part of how they take good care of themselves. Each of them brings me some gift in the form of a vital piece of information, a needed contact, a pearl of wisdom, sound advice or a shared laugh. I love every one of them.

Q

Do you or have you had a mentor, and how significant has this person been in helping you achieve your goals?

A

I have no mentor, but my sisters were indispensable in the start-up period. They each gave freely of their skills and perspectives in helping launch this venture. Now I’m using a business coach (I prefer to call her a trusted adviser) to help me create that next leap of growth.

Q

Have you been thwarted by sexism at any point?

A

Not in the breast imaging business.

Q

What can mothers do to encourage breaking-the-mold thinking in their daughters?

A

I’d encourage mothers to model the behavior they want to see in their daughters. If we as mothers take time to expand our knowledge, let ourselves be open to new ways of solving problems and question some of the “truths” we’re so sure of, our daughters will be influenced and inspired. I recommend girls play outside and get dirty.

Ingrid LeVasseur

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