As a child, growing up eating organic vegetables from the family garden seemed natural to me. It was long after I moved away from home that I realized how growing up on a natural foods based diet affected good health. Before deciding on a college education, I left home still as a teenager, to study natural medicine and massage therapy for a year long program located in a rural region in Oregon.
A few years later, while I was working as a medical assistant at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, OR, I learned about the differences between nature based medicines and western modern medicine. They seemed to be opposite medical paradigms and initiated my interests to study how the two could be blended together.
I moved to Appalachia where I began my medical studies in a Physician Assistant four year degree program. This region happened to be where my father was raised by my Italian immigrant grandparents. Besides spending time with them, I studied and learned rural medical health care. After completing the Bachelor of Medical Science curriculum which included a yearlong medical internship in a Washington D.C. area hospital, I completed the national Physician Assistant licensing board exam.
I continued to practice rural community medicine until I was offered a clinical position at a leading Integrative Medicine clinic in New York City. This is when my medical acuity shifted to treating chronic diseases using a blend of evidence based nutritional medicine plus modern western medicine.
Dr Ronald Hoffman, the medical director of the clinic, offered advanced natural treatment modalities which also included acupuncture therapies. What sharply drew my attention was that when I referred my patients to receive acupuncture, I began noticing undeniable improvement. Ultimately, it triggered a fundamental shift in my medical thinking about how the body works and heals on a deeper level to maintains its equilibrium and well-being.
To study the deeper truths of East Asian medicine I moved to San Francisco to attend one of the first nationally accredited acupuncture schools; American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). Where after three years of study and a six month internship in Sichuan, China, I received a Masters of TCM. This was all in preparation for the national and California state board examinations.
Then, after more than 15 years of practicing acupuncture, I was drawn to deepen my studies of East Asian medicine further, and was especially drawn to acupuncture in the Japanese tradition. After an intensive program at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) and a specialty internship in Tokyo, Japan, I received a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree.
I have been practicing Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, CA for more than 20 years, where I specialize in offering the benefits of modern medicine combined with evidence based nutritional medicine plus acupuncture and herbal therapy. Many of the patients I see have been failed by modern medicine alone. Often they have already seen doctors and specialists who have prescribed them multiple types of medications or surgery. There was no one who had looked at the connection between whole body systems that were impaired. And no recommendations were made to improve diet, nutrition, lifestyle, medication interactions or to counter genetic predispositions.
These patients are usually the ones who have chronic diseases like heart disease, blood sugar disorders, hormone imbalances, mood disorders, digestive problems, immune disorders and pain syndromes. Over time, I have seen phenomenal results by blending the combination of Integrative Medicine therapies. In my practice I aim to restore optimal health and open the door to more natural treatment options for patients with deteriorating health conditions and for those who have good health; to stay healthy and experience long term well-being.
I have a passion for education. I write for peer reviewed journals and offer seminars, lecture at conferences to medical doctors, acupuncturists, and patient groups on topics of preventative medicine and care of chronic diseases using Integrative Medicine. I also continue to teach the doctoral students at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco.
I see a growing interest in my patients to seek good clinical health care. They are looking for a medical model that is both restorative as well as medically efficient without detrimental side effects. I think this craving stems from the desire to feel satisfaction about their health and the choices they have made to maintain it.
My practice offers Integrative Medicine as a Blend of Medicines that offers more Choices in Individualized Healthcare.