The Scoop: The Integrative Medical Group of Irvine (IMGI) is committed to promoting optimum health in women of all ages by using a combination of conventional, naturopathic, and holistic medicine. Dr. Felice Gersh has 35 years of experience as an OB-GYN and director of her private practice, and she has taken a comprehensive approach to ensure women can get the best possible care. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you can turn to IMGI for assistance with family planning and pregnancy.
Dr. Felice Gersh is the medical director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine (IMGI). She is a board-certified OB-GYN, author, and world-renowned expert in women’s health. She received her medical degree from USC School of Medicine and was the top resident when studying obstetrics and gynecology at the Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles.
However, Dr. Gersh’s road to success wasn’t easy. When she started applying for positions as an OB-GYN in the early 1980s, she found she wasn’t a desirable candidate — simply because she was a woman.
“I’d go on interviews and be asked questions that would be illegal to ask today,” she recalled. “I was asked about having kids and taking time off for my family. I was not looked at as talented, qualified, and a great addition to the practice.”
Dr. Gersh told us that OB-GYN practices were almost 100% male-run and male-staffed at that time, so it was a discouraging time for a woman to enter the field. Nevertheless, she persisted. Dr. Gersh enrolled in a course called How to Establish a Medical Practice hosted by the California Medical Association, and she used that knowledge to jump-start her own private practice.
“I went out and found a space and built out a whole office and did the whole thing myself,” Dr. Gersh said. “That started my journey to be the CEO of my medical practice.”
Today, the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine stands behind women throughout their health care journey. Its medical professionals can consult with couples on family planning and work with women experiencing menopause. The team’s integrative approach draws from a combination of natural therapies, medicines, and strategies to foster optimum health.
Endorsing Natural Ways to Augment Fertility & Good Health
Dr. Gersh started her private practice with a focus on OB-GYN services, but she soon expanded to encompass almost all aspects of women’s health. The IMGI can conduct a basic physical, address infertility issues, consult on acute or chronic diseases, and offer other medical services regarding a woman’s health.
Holistic men’s health care is also an option for relationship partners seeking a similar lifestyle treatment.
The IMGI has a good variety of services and treatments available, and the medical professionals make a point to incorporate natural remedies and holistic therapies into their consultations. This integrative approach was pioneered by Dr. Gersh about 20 years ago.
Dr. Gersh wanted to provide more health care options to her patients, so she researched nontraditional therapeutic tools, including massage therapy, herbal medicines, and intermittent fasting. She designed a personalized health care system that went beyond prescribing drugs and performing surgeries.
“I learned about natural medicine to augment, not to replace, what I had learned in medical school,” she explained. “I want to acquire more and more skills to augment the services at IMGI.”
Women who are single, married, or in a relationship can count on IMGI to use every possible resource to help them through fertility issues, menopausal issues, or general health issues. The medical team makes a point to start with natural remedies — better sleep, daily exercise, and good diet — rather than immediately taking out a prescription pad.
The IMGI’s philosophy is that a healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy lifestyle, so the team encourages women to take steps to get the right nutrients and take care of themselves properly. By tackling underlying health issues, the team can help couples increase their likelihood of getting pregnant naturally.
“The goal is always to use the safest and most efficacious treatment,” Dr. Gersh said. “We look at all the different aspects of health and suggest natural solutions to work into their lives.”
Medical Professionals Work With the Female Body’s Rhythms
Family planning comes with its fair share of questions, concerns, and challenges. Women often seek the help of medical professionals to figure out what’s going on in their bodies and ease the tension in their relationships by getting sound advice.
IMGI is there to guide women through fertility challenges and educate them about the things they (and their partner) can do to increase their likelihood of getting pregnant.
Dr. Gersh said many of her patients don’t realize that their sleep habits and eating habits can play a major role in their fertility. These things are all part of the natural cycle a body requires for optimum health.
“Ovaries are circadian, meaning they work on a 24-hour rhythm,” Dr. Gersh explained. “The female body has natural rhythms, and we want to get women in the right place.”
The IMGI uses a combination of medicine and holistic therapies to help women get in sync with their body’s natural rhythm. This is critical for a healthy pregnancy, and it comes into play when a woman enters menopause.
Dr. Gersh described being in menopause as “living a life of jetlag” because their estrogen levels are down and that means it’s difficult for women to maintain a circadian rhythm and digestion system. They may experience sleep apnea or weight gain as a result of being menopausal. “It’s like their master clock is off,” she said.
Dr. Gersh said she can offer hormone replacement therapy to relieve some symptoms of menopause, but she believes it’s also important to suggest natural remedies. The IMGI’s healthy aging services endorse lifestyle changes that strengthen the mind and body in a more organic way than hormone therapy. Good exercise and proper nutrition can give women an energy boost and reduce the risk of age-related health complications.
Although the IMGI cannot offer a cure for menopause, its recommendations can help reduce the symptoms and avoid negative health issues associated with aging.
“You have to pull everything you have in the medical field to optimize years in the life of women,” Dr. Gersh told us. “Those can be long years, and we want them to be good years. Our goal is to have healthy longevity.”
Reaching a Global Community Through Telemedicine
California saw its first evidence of a coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, and government officials acted quickly to lock it down and stop the spread. In adherence to public health recommendations, the IMGI closed its doors to walk-in patients for two months and only made in-person appointments when telemedicine was not possible.
Dr. Gersh and her team had experience in using video consultations to talk to patients who couldn’t come to the office, so they were able to adapt quickly to the new circumstances and make sure their patients didn’t miss a beat in their health care experience.
In May 2020, the IMGI office started opening back up and implementing new safety standards to ensure patients felt comfortable coming in person. All patients and medical professionals are required to wear face masks at all times, and patients take a survey to see if they’re a high-risk for having the coronavirus.
“We function very safely,” Dr. Gersh told us. “Right now, we’re also seeing an uptick in telemedicine appointments with people around the world.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, most of Dr. Gersh’s patients were based in Southern California, but now she has built relationships with health-conscious women outside the city limits. Dozens of patients from different states, countries, and continents have sought her expertise and made telemedicine appointments at IMGI.
There are limitations to what IMGI can do via telemedicine, particularly when patients reside outside California. Although the IMGI cannot always write prescriptions or arrange for treatment to its long-distnce patience, the medical experts are happy to provide live video health consultations where they can come up with a strategy to tackle women’s health issues.
Looking to the future, Dr. Gersh said she’d like to continue offering online resources and learning programs that would support people trying to change their lifestyle and improve their health in a variety of ways.
The IMGI Helps Women of All Ages & Backgrounds
When she entered the medical field, Dr. Gersh experienced significant challenges and had to work hard to make a name for herself in a male-dominated field. Now she is one of the most respected OB-GYNs in Orange County and has established a trusting relationship with patients all over the world.
Dr. Gersh says she feels fortunate to wake up every morning driven by a clear purpose to help women (as well as their relationship partners) maintain good health. Her private practice delves into all sorts of medical and holistic treatments that have proven effective in supporting a couple’s fertility, reducing the ill effects of aging, and giving the body the nourishment it needs to move forward.
“It’s my mission. Working one on one with so many people and seeing changes made brings me joy,” she said. “When you help other people, it helps you as well. It gives me joy that I can be there for my patients and help them achieve good health in their lives.”