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EMC Launches the Eisenhower Wellness Institute

Recognizing the national movement towards integrative medicine, Eisenhower Medical Center has opened the Eisenhower Wellness Institute at the Argyros Health Center in La Quinta.

In its initial phase, the Institute will offer doctor consultations on preventative health care, memory assessment and preservation, and sports medicine. Phase two, planned for late summer, will incorporate complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and mindfulness meditation.

“We’ve come to learn that our patients want preventative care. There are a lot of wellness practitioners in the Valley, but physicians have typically been medically oriented. We realize it is time for us to offer these options,” stated Dr. Joseph E. Scherger, Vice President of Primary Care, who developed the program.

Scherger researched wellness programs offered by leading hospitals throughout the country and retained the help of Dr. Robert Bonaker of Scripps Integrative Hospital in San Diego. EMC sent three select physicians, Dr. Hessam Mahdavi, Dr. Sunny Vendiola, and Dr. Jennifer Sarayba to Scripps for certification in Integrative and Holistic Medicine.

Overseeing the Institute is Medical Director Dr. Patricia Avila, formerly Medical Director at the Hawaii Medical Service Association. Dr. Avila did her Preventive Medicine Residency at UCSD. Diana Berchem, R.N. joins the team as Patient Care Coordinator.

EWI currently offers these programs:

Integrative Medicine

  • Consultation, assessments and recommendations from a Board Certified physician with advanced training in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, on alternative practices and supplements as part of your health care regime (Note: Resource for standards are evidence-based reference journals on integrative medicine such as the Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database)

Cognitive Fitness/Memory Assessment

  • Designed to determine the health and fitness of a person’s brain by providing an evaluation focused on memory preservation.
  • Three levels of consultations are offered including comprehensive memory assessment and preservation, memory preservation, and a  neuropsychological consultation and exam.

Sports Medicine

  • Consultations and assessments on sports injuries and rehab with a focus on healing and returning to optimal functionality.

Executive Physical Program

  • Concierge service offering health assessment screenings and prevention strategies beyond what an annual physical provides.

In phase two, the program is scheduled to grow valley-wide with additional locations in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. “I see our wellness program growing to be comparable in size to our primary care program as they are very complementary,” adds Scherger.  And are all Eisenhower physicians supporting the effort? “We have 30 physicians in primary care,” states Scherger, “All of them are wellness-oriented and supporting this integrative approach to medicine.”

As with most wellness care, the programs are cash-based and most services are not covered by insurance.
When you consider what the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute has done for their community, as reported in last month’s issue of Desert Health News, the launch of Eisenhower’s program is very exciting for the Coachella Valley.

“We look forward to growing and to providing integrative medicine to the same standard of care that people have come to know from Eisenhower. The only limit to the program is what people are willing to do to care for themselves.”

For more information, contact the Eisenhower Wellness Institute at 760-610-7360.

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