Priscilla Abercrombie, RN, NP, PhD
Dr. Abercrombie has been a women’s health nurse practitioner for 30 years with a focus on the health care needs of underserved multiethnic women. She has a doctorate in Nursing and has conducted research in women’s health primarily in the areas of HIV, domestic violence, integrative health and gynecologic health. She completed a two-year fellowship in integrative medicine through the University of Arizona Tucson and is a board certified advanced holistic nurse. She also has a certificate in Integrative Imagery and Integrative Health Coaching. She provided care at the San Francisco General Hospital Women’s Health Center for 27 years. In her role there she provided colposcopy and gynecology services for women with HIV and developed a chronic pelvic pain clinic among many other things. She created a group visit program for women with chronic pelvic pain using the Centering model and conducted feasibility and outcomes research on the program. In addition, she saw patients at UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, was the lead clinician at the UCSF Chronic Pelvic Pain Clinic, and was the gyn consultant at Laguna Honda Hospital. She was a Clinical Professor in the UCSF Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences in the School of Medicine and Community Health Systems Nursing where she lectured and mentored both medical and nursing students and residents. She has published numerous articles on a variety of women’s health–related topics and lectures nationally. She contributed two chapters in the text Integrative Women’s Health. She has a passion for caring for women using an integrative approach. She is now living in Healdsburg, California where she is re-establishing her private telemedicine practice called Women’s Health & Healing. She offers women’s health consultations, coaching and integrative imagery.
Jeffrey Geller, MD
Jeffrey Geller practices family medicine, integrative medicine, and group visits and is the immediate past president of IM4US. He has served as the Director of Integrative Medicine for the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Lawrence Massachusetts since 1999. GLFHC is a federally qualified community health center in one of the poorest cities in New England. His practice integrates the most accessible of allopathic and alternative medicine including acupuncture, hypnosis, herbal medicine, mind body, nutrition, functional medicine, and OMT. He serves as faculty for the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency and lectures frequently as a clinical professor to medical students at Tufts and the University of Massachusetts medical schools. He is now mainly identified as an innovator in delivery of health care by creating and using an empowerment based model for group medical visits including POEM-gmv. These are a form of shared medical appointments. He created and is the director of the HIP Fellowship (Holistic, Integrative, and Pluristic), the first fellowship of its kind designed to train family physicians in integrative medicine skills specifically aimed at treating the underserved. He is one of the founding members of IM4US.
Dr. Geller has a background in electrical engineering and math and was awarded the title ‘Most Outstanding Electrical Engineer’ at the University of Massachusetts in 1988. He went on to medical school at Tufts University in 1992. His work with groups started in 1996 in his residency years when he noticed that loneliness was a large factor in his patients well being. He started medical group visits for his own patients soon after and using his statistics background began doing award winning research (AAFP research paper of the year 1999) showing the direct relationship of loneliness to increased health center and hospital utilization. He has been involved in community participatory research through REACH 2010 (CDC funded) to treat loneliness and depression in diabetic patients. His research showed that not only did loneliness and depression improve, but biometric health indicators as well. This elevated group visits as a viable treatment model for chronic illness. He has contributed the ideas of the ‘linked medical visit’ ,’open’ and ‘enclosed’ terminology, and the Group Visit Empowerment Model to the field. In 2008 GLFHC was visited by the U.S. Surgeon General and was awarded the Champion of Health Award for their innovation and leadership these approaches. Particular emphasis was given to the POEM (Pediatric Obesity Empowerment Model) which is funded by The New Balance Foundation and he continues to receive support. More recently Dr. Geller received “The Power to Change Our World” award from the Family Medicine Educational Consortium for this work in October 2012.
Today there are as many as 50 group medical visits weekly with over 8 medical providers and 2 HIP fellows. Dr. Geller’s current focus is on spreading these ideas and training others in the empowerment model. He has created several manuals to help those interested. These models are being replicated throughout the US providing efficient and effective healthcare in a financially sustainable way that eliminates barriers to health and provides services otherwise unavailable to many patients.
Sharad Kohli, MD
Dr. Sharad Kohli has dedicated his career to working with the underserved and to attaining health equity. He received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine in 2000, and completed a rural Family Medicine residency at Cascades East Family Practice in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
His first job out of residency was at the Eureka Community Health Center in rural Northern California where he bore witness firsthand to the effects of the opioid epidemic, and began to understand the impact of trauma on communities.
Sharad moved to the Bay Area in 2004 where he worked with LifeLong Medical Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary care to a diverse urban underserved population. Over the course of a decade, he began to realize the importance of addressing the social and structural determinants that impacted health, and developed and expanded programs that emphasized wellness, prevention, patient empowerment and community building, including food access programs, cooking classes, exercise groups, holistic team-based care, and a robust group visit program. Additionally he was instrumental in incorporating other integrative modalities into the practice such as naturopathy, acupuncture, Alexander Technique, strain counterstrain, yoga, and Ayurveda.
In 2014, Sharad moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked for the Texas Association of Community Health Centers. As Director of Clinical Affairs for the state’s Primary Care Association, he provided clinical support to the 70+ FQHCs serving over 1 million people throughout the state. He led initiatives and trainings focused on provider self-care, integration of care, chronic pain, and group medical visits. While in this position, he learned about the importance of policy and advocacy, which he has employed in his roles with IM4Us. Sharad has since returned to direct primary care and is currently working at People’s Community Clinic, an FQHC in Austin strongly committed to addressing social determinants of health.
Sharad joined IM4Us in 2010 and co-founded the annual conference, first held in 2011. He was a member of the founding Board of Directors, currently chairs the Policy Committee, and is the co-chair for the 2018 Conference Planning Committee. Sharad is IM4Us’s representative on the Board of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium and serves on IHPC’s Integrative Approaches to Pain and Addiction Committee.
He is married to a naturopathic physician from whom he learns daily, has two wonderful energetic daughters, and an ornery dog. He loves the outdoors and live music, something in abundance in the Central Texas area.
Ben Zappin, LAc
Benjamin Zappin is an herbalist with over 15 years of experience, and is a Licensed Acupuncturist in California. In addition to being a clinician, Ben co-owns and operates Five Flavors Herbs, an herbal extract company and community herbal pharmacy in Oakland, CA.
Benjamin’s training includes a 4-year apprenticeship with Michael Tierra, studies at Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz, CA, and studies at Zhejiang College of TCM in Hangzhou, China.
Benjamin currently practices acupuncture and herbal medicine in San Francisco and Oakland, and also works at two community clinics in the East Bay. For more information, check out his website: www.benzappin.com. He is also co-director of the Sylvan Institute of Botanical Medicine, an herbal education resource for practitioners www.sylvanbotanical.com.
Connie Basch, MD
Connie Basch, MD, Board Certified in Family Medicine and in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, has been practicing integrative medicine since 2000, functional medicine since 2003(Certified in 2013!), and conducting group medical visits since 2005. She practices inpatient and outpatient family medicine.
She worked in Community Clinics for 6 years after residency and believes the two-tiered system maintained by these subsidized ghettos is deeply flawed – she has been a member of Physicians for a National Health Plan since her first year out of residency. After leaving the clinic she formed a private practice and continued to care for many of her previous clinic patients for the next 9 years in a rural Northern California Community, struggling to work out the economics to make that sustainable. She left to teach in the family medicine residency at Family Medicine of Southwest Washington in Vancouver, WA from 2008 to 2013 and has now returned to Arcata, California where she again has a private practice.
Director of Online Education
University of Arizona, Center for Integrative Medicine
Molly has been a part of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) since the inception of the online Fellowship in 2000. She has worn many hats that include instructional designer, project manager, and is currently the Director of Online Education for AzCIM. Early in her career she entered the healing arts as a licensed and certified massage therapist. With a bachelor’s in Media Arts/Photography, she dabbled in local television news as a videographer and editor before coming to the Center. In her spare time, she earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. Now she focuses on educational strategies to support the Center’s mission and the success of the wide variety of students participating in the Center’s educational offerings. Balancing work and home life is a wonderful challenge she tries to manage gracefully. She enjoys spending free time with her wife and being with their two children.
Tara DeMarco has a long-standing passion for integrative health and is dedicated to supporting the transformation of healthcare toward disease prevention, health promotion, and multi-disciplinary, whole-person care. She presently works as an integrative wellness consultant for individuals, families, businesses, and communities. She has expertise in interprofessional collaborative care within integrative healthcare centers and a special interest in initiatives fostering the wellbeing of vulnerable populations.
Tara began her career over 25 years ago as a mental health counselor in various settings, and as social worker advocating for at-risk youth in foster care. She later transitioned into healthcare, holding clinical operations positions at Marin Community Clinic, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, and UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.
Tara holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Boston University, a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and a Doctorate in East-West Psychology with a concentration in Integrative Health from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her dissertation research assesses the progressive landscape of interprofessional collaborative care within United States integrative healthcare centers. She presented her findings (research poster) at the 2013 International Congress for Clinicians in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, and lectures annually on multidisciplinary collaborative care to 4th year medical students rotating through the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine.
Tara is a member of the Advisory Board at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine, and served as co-chair for the center’s 2015 “Future of Medicine” fundraising benefit keynoting Dr. Andrew Weil. Tara presently lives in Chicago with her husband Paul Heiselmann.
Renita Herrmann, CCH, RsHom(NA), MS
Renita Herrmann joined IM4Us in 2013. As a Classical Homeopath, Renita maintains a private practice while working in the San Francisco Bay Area with the homeless and with veterans suffering from PTSD.
With degrees in various fields, Renita began her career as an airline pilot, while earning her MS in Natural Health in the 1990’s. A constant need for information, and fascination with homeopathy led her to a four year program at Institute of Classical Homeopathy in San Francisco. Once finished, she founded the first homeopathy clinic within the city-run Mission Neighborhood Clinics, where she volunteered for 8 years. In 2011, she added an additional clinics, while founding Homeopathy Institute of the Pacific to bring homeopathy to a wider population. The Institute runs various clinics serving the homeless and low income. The community clinics serve as an opportunity to train interns as homeopaths, while benefiting the local communities with an effective, low cost bridge to health. As Executive Director, she taught seminars and mentored other homeopaths, and has been a guest speaker at national conferences, as well as radio shows and interviews.
While the protocol to help veterans with PTSD has been a focus for many years, Renita also is a CEASE therapist for ASD, and has developed a protocol for Lyme Disease, incorporating a multipronged approach to helping those without other options. Renita still flies, but her focus continues to be furthering ways to help the underserved.
Safiya McCarter, ND, MSAOM
Dr. Safiya McCarter is a Naturopathic Physician licensed to practice medicine in the state of Washington. She is in clinical practice specializing in Women’s Health and pediatrics at Masa Integrative Clinic in Seattle, WA and Northwest Wellness Clinic in Federal Way, WA. In addition to clinical practice she serves as adjunct faculty at Bastyr University for the School of Naturopathic Medicine and the School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences and serves as Co-Director of the Daniel K. Church Center for Social Justice and Diversity at Bastyr University. In these roles she has been involved in curriculum design, development and implementation, accreditation standards review and the development and delivery of workshops and trainings related to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion for staff, students and faculty. She has also had the pleasure of presenting on the topics of cultural competency and cultural humility as a featured panelist and conference presenter in the Seattle area.
Committed to increasing access to Naturopathic medicine she has provided care to women in a transitional housing program for formerly homeless women. Her clinical approach incorporates psychological and emotional health and forming a partnership with her patients to assist them in the attainment of their health goals.
Dr. McCarter received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine in 2010 and her Masters of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree in 2015 from Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA. Her undergraduate education was completed at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Mathematics.
Rhonda M. Smith is an eight-year breast cancer survivor and the Founder of Breast Cancer Partner, a for-profit consulting organization with expertise in breast health education and breast cancer disparities, survivorship, and advocacy. She also has experience in developing and implementing community outreach, health promotion, and health behavior change strategies. She currently oversees a women’s health initiative focused on breast health, heart health, and diabetes to improve outcomes for underserved women in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Rhonda is also the Project Director for the LiveHealthy OC Initiative, a three-year initiative that aims to transform the model of care from disease-focused to prevention and wellness. She previously served as the Consultant/Statewide Project Manager for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative, an intensive two-year effort to identify evidence-based strategies to decrease the high mortality rate of African American women diagnosed with breast cancer, and address disparities at the system, community, and individual levels.
Rhonda has also consulted on an NIH/NCI funded breast cancer survivorship research study at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami targeting the diverse population of Black women in the South Florida community. The study focused on evaluating the impact of stress management and wellness education on survivors who were within twelve months of competing treatment. Her responsibilities included marketing, PR, community outreach and recruitment, and facilitating the study’s ten-week health and wellness education program to the control group cohorts.
Prior to her breast cancer diagnosis, Rhonda enjoyed a career that expanded more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, learning and development consulting, and business management, with companies such as Eli Lilly and DuPont. Rhonda has broad international consulting experience and has managed client engagements and projects on 5 continents and in more than 20 countries. Rhonda’s international consulting experience includes developing and implementing initiatives for companies such as GE, Office Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, Glaxo SmithKline, Abbott Laboratories, Novartis, Rolls Royce, and Xerox Corp.
Rhonda appeared in the October 2010 issue of More Magazine as a first runner-up in the magazine’s essay contest on “Why this is the Most Fabulous Time in My Life”. She wrote an essay on her breast cancer journey and how she has emerged from that experience with a new identity and sense of purpose. Rhonda was also chosen to participate on the 2012 Merz Aesthtics’ expert Advisory Panel for their “Stand and Deliver Campaign”, a national initiative that recognizes women who stand up for a cause they believe in and have an impact in their community. Rhonda was also profiled and recognized as a woman who stands and delivers on the More Magazine Reinvention TV Show in November 2011.
Rhonda earned her MBA in Marketing and Operations Management from the Colgate Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and her B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. Rhonda served the Mission Integration Chair for the American Cancer Society 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and a member of the Baptist Health South Florida Breast Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council. Rhonda is a Leadership Charlotte alumnus, Past-Chair of the Board of The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, and a past CEO Forum member of The Commonwealth Institute South Florida. Rhonda served on the 2007 NFL Super Bowl Special Events Committee, and in 2006 was named one of South Florida’s “25 Most Prominent and Influential African-American Women” by Success South Florida Magazine.
Michelle Steinberg, MS
Michelle Grace Steinberg is a nutritionist/herbalist and documentary filmmaker based in Oakland, CA. She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. She completed a 3-year clinical training program at the Ohlone Center for Herbal Studies and received mentorship from the Director of the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. In 2009, she started Consultas Naturistas, a free Spanish bilingual holistic nutrition and herbal medicine clinic at Street Level Health Project (www.streetlevelhealthproject.org). The program serves low income, uninsured clients with consultations on holistic nutrition and wellness, and provides free herbal teas, tinctures, and supplements. Michelle received the American Herbalist Guild 2015 award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her latest film, MET(T)A, explores immigrant and refugee experiences in the health care system, highlighting how communities use integrative practices to heal from trauma (http://www.underexposedfilms.com/met-t-a.html).
Jessica Aebi joined IM4US in June of 2016. In this capacity, she supports our board and committees and manages internal external operations including conferences, website, marketing, social media and finances. Jessica is a 15-year veteran of the nonprofit world and holds a BA in communications from San Francisco State University. Prior to joining IM4US, Jessica was project and operations manager for Social Venture Network and directed customer care and operations for The Green Office, a sustainable office supply company in San Francisco. Jessica lives and works in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood. In her spare time, Jessica loves running, cooking, and making soap and jewelry.
Sweatha Reddy joined IM4US February 1st, 2018 as our part time program coordinator, assisting the organization with conference planning and general administration.