Dr. Peña and the road to a concierge, direct care medical practice
I graduated at the top of my class at Tufts University and received my MD from Harvard Medical School. While completing my residency at UCLA I attended an inspirational lecture presented by a doctor from the Pritikin Longevity Center. I went on to work there for 17 years serving as Medical Director. In 2001 I was recruited to be the Medical Director for the St. Helena Hospital Center for Health.
I have always felt that nutrition is critically important, and I was both surprised and disappointed that there was a lack of education in that area, a condition that sadly has improved little in 30 years. This motivated me to pursue integrative medicine, combining the best of modern science and technology with expertise in personalized proactive prevention. While at St. Helena Hospital Center for Health, I developed two new programs: “ONE” and “Transformations”. I also began giving lectures as faculty of the annual Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives medical conference sponsored by the Culinary Institute and Harvard Medical School. There I was given the opportunity to share my expertise with MDs, nutritionists, nurses and other health care providers.
Nature and our bodies know more about health and healing than we have yet discovered. I feel that science is still catching up with the understanding of what we can do to promote natural healing and vitality. I use the wonders of modern medical science, including sophisticated lab and genetic testing as well as imaging, as appropriate for each person, enabling me to better predict and prevent problems. I also believe that really listening to my patient’s story is often 90% of making the correct diagnosis.
I believe in and aggressively promote healthy aging. My responsibility as a physician demands that I not only take the time to analyze each patient's state of health but that I also take the time to include the five basic building blocks of health and longevity:
3. Stress Reduction,
4. Life Balance and Healthy Sleep Habits, and
5. Hormone Balance.
By combining education with friendly accountability, my partnership with each patient often brings amazing and gratifying results.
In 2011 I took another step toward creating a model of the kind of health care I feel is optimal and opened my own practice in St. Helena using the concierge or direct care model. Medical institutions are beginning to recognize that the art of hospitality, involving kindness, listening and compassion, is supremely important in creating a healing environment. Because I view the relationship with my patients as a true partnership, the concierge model allows the time for me to accompany my patients to see specialists when necessary, to make house calls on occasion, and to develop a plan unique to each patient.
With more than 25 years of pioneering work in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Pena's commitment to finding new, more effective ways to prevent and treat illness and provide for patient wellbeing is deep seated and longstanding.