The Beginning of DHR’s Health Wellness Institute

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Originally published in the Mega Doctor News newsprint edition of August 2018

For more than a decade, this publication has done hundreds of interviews with physicians and health care professionals. I can say that every one of those doctors agrees that to hold on to good health you need to be physically active, and above all, you must watch what you eat. That translates into proper nutrition as a critical element to a healthier life.

Just last week, there was a significant announcement of a new service by Doctors Hospital At Renaissance (DHR). For this, they hosted a group of men and women at a gathering called “Coffee at the Club” with Dr. Dimple Desai. The event served to announce the beginning of the DHR Health Wellness Institute.

Dr. Dimple Desai is the medical director of the new DHR Health Wellness Institute. She is board-certified in family medicine with further training in obesity, integrative and functional medicine. She is perfect for the area. A native of Mercedes, after she graduated from high school, Dr. Desai went on to graduate from Pan American University. She had met her husband while they both attended high school at Science Academy; he is Dr. Sohum Desai, a neurosurgeon, also at DHR.

Dr. Desai then attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where she earned her medical degree. There, she also completed her residency training in family medicine.

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In her presentation, Dr. Desai said, “Functional medicine is an integrative approach to health care. It focuses not only on the treatment of the patient’s symptoms, but on finding the root cause of an illness and enhancing the existing health.” She noted that it shifts the traditional medicine’s focus by looking directly at the person as a whole, rather than the condition.

She pointed out that traditional medicine is more about giving drugs to cure an illness; functional medicine is preventative by focusing on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that influence chronic disease. She said, “Wellness is achieved through preventative measures. So, we look at the mind, body, spirit, community, and all of those factors that influence a person.”

She asked her audience, “Why would you choose the Wellness Institute?”   She said that the intimate relationship with patients makes a difference. “The visits with the doctor are longer because we take detailed accounts and there is low patient volume. Plus, there’s the same day or next day appointments, and always access to the physician.”

It is essential to know about Dr. Desai’s notable distinctions. Further fueling her interests she also co-authored a book chapter titled the “Healthy Gut in Older Adults” in the book Integrative Geriatric Medicine. She has also won numerous awards during her residency for providing outstanding patient care including being selected as a chief resident by her peers and faculty. That is why, it is easy for her to say that patients will have access to her by personal visit, text, or email to be able to build outstanding care for patients.

Dr. Desai’s passion and her desire to start the wellness program are genuine. She spoke about personalized nutrition and wellness plans, in which she is ready to be the health coach for her patients. “Many times, patients are told to eat healthier without given much more guidance. However, with our wellness institute each person will have a different plan along with visits with the nutritionist and the physician,” she said.

We have known for many years that proper nutrition is the answer to better health.Food is information that our bodyneeds to function. If we eat the wrong foods, that’s called lousy nutrition. So, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines.

Marissa Castañeda, Senior Executive Vice President at DHR said, “We like to be innovative. We are good at making things that are old new again, creating care that is care not only for those that are ill, but care for those that are healthy.” Susan Turley, President at DHR, is the brainchild behind the Wellness Institute, and because of a team effort, there is an alternative to traditional medicine. “DHR once again stepped up to the plate and found the perfect physician to build and create an institute that was not only healing ailments, but the body and soul as well,” Marissa said.

What is functional nutrition? Dr. Desai said that it is a way to maximize your health and potentially reverse chronic illness as well. She said that we all have different genetic backgrounds, different preferences, and lead different lives, and this takes all of that into account. “The current healthcare system fails to take into consideration the unique genetic makeup of each person, like the toxins affecting them, their genetics affecting it, that is why nutrition is a key factor for a healthy life.”

She added that the prevalence of complex chronic diseases is increasing, such as diabetes and heart disease, to name a few. “Focusing on good nutrition, all of these can be prevented and following through with a healthier lifestyle, it is possible to reverse these chronic conditions,” she said. Yes, that­ is correct, reversing any of those diseases can be done by following a nutritious diet and having a coach like Dr. Desai.

She said that functional medicine diets emphasize the importance of high-quality foods and phytonutrient diversity to address clinical imbalances and help patients reach their optimal health. “Personalized therapeutic interventions create these lifestyle diets, so they can maximize a person’s health.” She continued, “We address nutritional status, food intolerances, nutrition deficiencies and insufficiencies, through a personalized diet plan.”

Dr. Desai predicted that practicing medicine now and, in the future is significant because potentially they can reverse a lot of chronic diseases. She emphasized, “That’s why there’s a big focus on functional medicine now. Previously there wasn’t, it’s pretty new, and it’s gaining momentum just because of this. We can cut back on health care costs by a tremendous amount if we prevent and control chronic diseases.”

DHR Health Wellness Institute is a one-of-a-kind healthcare facility in South Texas. It will open to the public in September of 2018.

The health of the Rio Grande Valley residents is the same as it is all over the United States. We recognize arthritis, diabetes and heart disease as the most formidable enemies of health. It is simple to fall into what can be a nightmare, because too much food, or bad food that gives our bodies the wrong instruction. We become overweight and yet undernourished; it affects our health tremendously. In a few words, what we eat is vital to our health.

As a matter of fact, one of the informative brochures about DHR Health Wellness Institute clearly stated a quote from Hippocrates,“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Dr. Desai said that good medicine is founded on sound science. “We use an integrative medical approach that focuses on the treatment of symptoms; but also, on the root cause of illness and enhancing existing health.” She said, “We believe wellness is achieved through preventative practices and self-care by balancing all areas of wellness of the mind, body, and spirit.” The doctor also said that they will address acute and chronic conditions using the principles of functional medicine to enhance the quality of health.

Dr. Desai introduced her team, that will be with her at the institute, they are unique and exclusive. First, is Clarissa Garcia, R.D., L.D.; she is a registered dietitian. Amy Viverette, B.S.N., R.N. is a registered nurse and is also helping to manage the practice.

DHR Health Wellness Institute will also provide therapies to maximize health. Intravenous (IV) infusions area unique way to put nutrients straight into the blood system to work better and more efficiently.

“Sometimes people are not able to absorb certain nutrients because of genetic issues or certain health conditions so IV infusions are a better therapy for them. There are studies behind it that show IV infusions help people,” Dr. Desai stated.

Based on this, they offer Myers Cocktail Therapy with and without Glutathione. “Myer’s Cocktail is different vitamins and minerals; it has magnesium, B complex, vitamin C, and antioxidants, so it’s a potent infusion.”  She said, “It helps with a lot of chronic diseases, and can be given with or without glutathione. It helps with inflammation and the immune system, and can help patients recover faster.”She said that it can also be used for chronic diseases. High dose vitamin Cis another infusion offered that is essential for the immune system and helps with inflammation.

The final infusion discussed was Alpha Lipoic Acid Therapy; which is also an antioxidant. It increases levels of vitamins C and E, it helps people with insulin resistance; it can help people with diabetes as well as patients with neuropathy. It can also help patients manage weight. “If other medications are not working, this is worth a good shot,” she said.

The DHR Health Wellness Institute uses the blending of both conventional and alternative therapies so the patients can achieve the most healthful outcomes.

Dr. Desai has been selected as the Mega Doctor this month for her unique dedication to making these innovative and alternative medical therapies accessible to the people of the Valley.