Jeffrey Geller, MD
Jeffrey Geller practices family medicine, integrative medicine, and group visits and is the current president of the non-profit IM4US (Integrative Medicine for the Underserved). He has served as the Director of Integrative Medicine and Medical Group Visit Programs for the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Lawrence Massachusetts since 1999. GLFHC is a federally qualified community health center in the poorest city 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 Practice 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, which 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 a non-profit organization which aims to bring best integrative practices of healing to the poor. Often these healing practices are less expensive than the allopathic approach but are not covered by health insurance.
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 4 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.
Rick McKinney, MD
Professionally, Dr. McKinney describes that he gets to do the things he loves the most â€“ teaching residents and medical students, and practicing integrative medicine. Heâ€™s a faculty member at UCSF, teaching in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and practicing at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He came to that role after practicing privately for nearly twenty years, having experienced the full spectrum of family medicine in a wide range of settings. Practices have included both rural and frontier practices, small town settings, and busy inner city clinics.
The frontier practice was his first, in Seward, Alaska. With only two physicians within a 100 mile radius, their doctoring was full of exciting and challenging situations. These years provided satisfying experiences of doctoring, and powerfully fostered the growth of courage, independent thinking, and resourcefulness. These qualities became part of the foundation for his doctoring, and now serve as touchstones to help him navigate through medical chaos while remaining open and present.
Dr. McKinney practiced for the next 15 years in central Washington State, first in a tiny and very rural town, where he and his partners wore lots of different hats. Teaching for the University of Washington, they often had residents working with them for six months a year. Thatâ€™s when Rick learned just how much he enjoyed teaching. When he relocated to a larger town 35 miles away, Rick was moved to discover that more than half of his patients had chosen to continue their care with him. It was a wonderful gift to be able to care for many of the same people for a decade and a half. This experience of â€œsmall town doctoringâ€ provided valuable lessons of connection, commitment and community, further enhancing Rickâ€™s understanding of the art of medicine and opening him to the differing wisdom and beauty inherent in every patientâ€™s process of healing.
Rick moved to San Francisco in 1999 following a series of changes in his personal life. He began teaching part time at UCSFâ€™s Family Medicine Residency program, as well as serving as staff physician at free clinics in the Tenderloin, where he dealt with challenging patients, difficult problems and few resources. Dr. McKinney now serves as a professor for UCSF and an attending physician at SFGH, where he directs their new Integrative Health Office. His direct patient care is done at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Special interests include mindfulness, spirituality and healing, bringing integrative medicine to underserved populations, and clinician well being. Rickâ€™s doctoring experiences in the Bay area continue to nurture his growth as a physician, teaching him deeper lessons in listening, flexibility and compassion.
Dr. McKinneyâ€™s long work in medicine has made him profoundly aware of the mystery of healing and has led him into deeper exploration of the art of medicine. Personal issues opened him to search for his own deep healing, a search which led him to explore and experience a variety of alternative healing practices. He has incorporated many of these practices into his daily life, and has also shifted his framework of doctoring to include them. His practice has opened to embrace a mind-body-spirit approach to medicine, which holds space to allow the uniqueness of each personâ€™s healing path to be recognized and honored. It is a practice which is grounded in a stance of loving kindness, presence, listening, and openness, and which is comfortable holding both the hard science of allopathic medicine and the unknowable, mysterious aspects of healing.
Rick lives on a houseboat in Sausalito with his wife Katharine, their pets, and a huge number of potted plants. His daughter and his grandson each live within a few miles, and their two sons are in college. When not doctoring, he loves to laugh, to cook, to paint, to spend time with family and friends, and to enjoy the many blessings of life.
Renita Herrmann, CCH, RsHom(NA), MS
Renita Herrmann, CCH, RsHom(NA), MS 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 1990â€™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.
Andrea Gordon, MD
Andrea Gordon is an MD who became impressed by the power of osteopathic techniques and so has worked to learn how to use these in patient care. She teaches in the Tufts University Family Medicine Residency Program at Cambridge Health Alliance. Her training has included a faculty development fellowship with research on Therapeutic Touch, the Associate Integrative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Arizona and the opportunity to work with many talented integrative and osteopathic practitioners. She continues to practice office and inpatient family medicine and also does Integrative Medicine consultations at the residency program. The Tufts residency is (finally!) moving to make its entire curriculum wellness based, and she feels that Integrative medicine has helped to lead the way to this approach.
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.
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.
Maria Chao, DrPH, MPAMaria T. Chao, DrPH, MPA is a UCSF Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital and core research faculty at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. She received research training in socio-medical sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, New York and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in integrative medicine at University of California - San Francisco. Dr. Chao’s overarching goal is to investigate how complementary and integrative health approaches can advance health equity and improve quality of life among underserved populations. Applying public health frameworks and methodologies, she has modeled her program of integrative medicine research using three phases: detecting, understanding, and reducing healthcare disparities. She has analyzed national data to evaluate differences and understand how race/ethnicity and other social factors affect CAM use, reasons for CAM use, disclosure of CAM use, and overall healthcare utilization. Her current research focuses on group-based models of integrative medicine and acupuncture in conventional healthcare settings serving diverse patients. She is collaborating with safety net providers at the San Francisco Department of Public Health to develop and evaluate various integrative pain management programs.
Sharad Kohli, MD
Dr. Kohli has been a member of IM4Us since 2010 and is co-founder of the annual conference, which was first held in 2011.
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. Following graduation, he took a job at the Eureka Community Health Center in rural Northern California before moving to the Bay Area in 2004 where he began working with LifeLong Medical Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary care to a diverse urban underserved population.
For the good part of a decade, Dr. Kohli worked at LifeLong’s West Berkeley Family Practice site, the last few years as its Associate Medical Director where he oversaw the development of programs that attempted to address the social determinants of health and which emphasized wellness, prevention, patient empowerment, and community building. These include food access programs, cooking classes, exercise groups, team-based care with integrated behavioral health and health coaches, and a robust group visit program with anywhere between 30-50 groups per month. Additionally he was instrumental in incorporating other integrative modalities into the practice such as naturopathy, acupuncture, strain counterstrain, yoga, and ayurveda.
In August of 2014, Dr. Kohli moved to Austin, Texas. He currently serves as the Director of Clinical Affairs for the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, the state’s Primary Care Association, where he provides clinical support to the 70+ FQHCs serving over 1 million people throughout the state.
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.streetlevelhealth.org). The program serves low income, uninsured clients with 45-minute consultations on holistic nutrition and wellness, and provides free herbal teas, tinctures, and supplements. Many of the plant medicines used at the clinic are sourced from local medicine makers. Michelle received the American Herbalist Guild 2015 award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and has recently written an article on her clinical practices for the Medical Herbalism journal. Her latest film, Beyond Recognition (www.beyondrecognitionfilm.com), on the formation of the first women-led urban indigenous land trust, is currently on PBS stations nationwide and in film festivals.
Kim Tippens, ND, MSAOM, MPHAssistant Professor Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Natural Medicine
Dr. Tippens is a graduate of Bastyr University, where she received her doctorate in naturopathic medicine (ND) and a master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (MSAOM). She completed a family practice residency at the National College of Natural Medicine with an emphasis on community health. Dr. Tippens has recently completed a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Fellowship Award (F32), where she received training in health disparities and health services research. She is currently completing a Master of Public Health degree program through the Oregon Health & Science University.
Dr. Tippens’ research agenda includes evaluating disparities in access and utilization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within a multidisciplinary framework, drawing from social science, epidemiology, and clinical and health services research. Her goal is to contribute to the development of feasible, affordable, and culturally acceptable models of CAM delivery. Her current research looks at the role of CAM in specific health systems and at approaches that are being considered to improve health in minority and underserved populations. This includes assessment of models of alternative medicine delivery that may enhance access.
In addition to conducting research, Dr. Tippens works with students and faculty to incorporate coursework and training in social medicine and culturally competent health care delivery, with the goal of promoting diversity and excellence in medical education.
Ben Zappin, LAcBenjamin 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.