Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Melinda Silva.
Dr. Melinda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a young baby boomer, I have values that are deeply embedded in my core: have a strong work ethic, be kind to others, treat people – especially someone older than you – with respect, eat dinner with your family and love authentically. My Filipino culture nurtured the value of a nuclear family and stressed the importance of helping others when possible. I have always been motivated to do what’s right. I was given much responsibility as a preteen helping to take care of my 3 younger siblings. I have a strong sense of community and my first job was when I was 13 y/o trying to help the youth of my community gain employment. I graduated from UC Davis Medical School in 1993 and practiced as a Board Certified Family Physician for Kaiser Permanente for 13 years receiving accolades and awards throughout my career for teaching, leadership and clinical competence. A perpetual plaque bears my name at Kaiser Permanente Hospital for the award I am most proud – the “Most Compassionate Physician Award” – because it is given to one doctor yearly and chosen and nominated by patients. I learned early in my medical training that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. As a family doctor, I had trusting relationships with my patients and their families – I was a strong patient advocate and routinely empowered the patient to take control of their health. It was frustrating at times for me, because some patients just wanted to “take a pill” and I recognized that lifestyle interventions – like sound sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise – were important aspects of good health. Prescription drugs were not always the answer. Yet, the model in mainstream medicine is disease. And as doctors, we learn how to prescribe drugs that help treat “symptoms” of disease processes. We rarely looked at root cause of the disease process. As I began to treat more and more patients through the aging process, I grew frustrated with how little I could help ameliorate the challenges of aging. Everything changed in my life when the tables were turned and I was the patient in need of help. I had my fourth baby at 40 years of age and there were clear signs of my body changing. I did not bounce back like my other pregnancies, I tired easily, my waistline grew softer and my skin was drier – everywhere! I did not feel sexy and it was a chore to put on my tennis shoes to exercise. I still volunteered as Girl Scout troop leader and soccer mom but I did not have joy in my life. I was always a great multitasker – but then that became challenging and the brain fog set in. My hair started to thin and it was difficult to sleep. I was able to live with all of those bodily and physiological changes until I turned 46 y/o and then I truly became unrecognizable to myself. The deal breaker happened when I started to have emotional turmoil with my teenage son, who at the time was having his own emotional crisis with hormonal changes, I remember my son asking, “what did you do with my mom? I need her”. It was a pivotal point in my life – I was not that far gone to know my kids deserved their nurturing and patient mother and my husband deserved his loving wife. It appeared I had just enough energy for work and dedication to my patients. By the time I got home, I was just existing. I went to see my primary doctor and I was given the typical prescriptions for perimenopausal women: prozac and birth control pills. Because of my migraine history, the birth control pills would increase my risk of stroke by 4X. I knew that as a doctor, why would I want to take the risk? I knew that there was not much mainstream medicine could do, but somehow I thought it would be different when I was the patient. I started my trek of “healing” and I had to look outside of mainstream medicine for help. As a family doctor, my specialty is prevention, Therefore, I welcomed the “complementary” and “alternative” medical treatments that could be helpful without causing harm. I understood if I could strengthen my immune system my body could be stronger and heal. I discovered Bioidentical Hormone Treatments and it changed my life! I completed a 2-year fellowship in Functional Medicine studying and researching bioidentical hormones. As an Integrative Medicine Physician, my focus is now wellness. Instead of the disease process model of mainstream medicine, I now look at root cause of disease process and try to ameliorate the disease process by treating the root causes. For example, as we age, our hormones become depleted due to decreased production and affect quality of life issues, such as sleep, energy, mood, sex, stamina and weight. Instead of prescribing prescription drugs, I treat low or depleted hormones by balancing and supplementing what your body is lacking. I replace what nature has lost. After Bioidentical Hormone Therapy gave me my life back and I was able to offer an option to the synthetic cancer causing hormones – that’s when I made the difficult decision to leave mainstream medicine.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Medical school taught me how to treat and take care of patients. What I did not learn was how to take care of a business. I did not take any business classes in college and I was naive about running a business. As intimidating as it was to me, I knew that I could not turn back – because I was given my life back and I felt obligated to give others the same option. I left my comfortable position as an esteemed physician at Kaiser to open up a cash-only practice during the “recession” of 2010. My first obstacle was backlash from my peers – we did not learn about Bioidentical hormone therapy – why would I leave to go to something that was unknown to many? What my peers did not know was there is much evidence based research about Bioidentical Hormones. We just did not learn about it. I realized you know what you know. Unfortunately, you don’t know what you don’t know. I knew I had to educate myself so that I could educate my peers and patients. It was important for me to review the research and practice what was proven to be safe by the research. I wanted to preserve the Hippocratic Oath, “First do no harm.” I was excited that I could offer a treatment that is a safer alternative to synthetic hormone treatments known to increase risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease. Unfortunately, patients get confused because many doctors believe that all hormones are created equal. Many doctors are not aware of the Bioidentical Hormone Research that has shown the hormones to be a safer option, increasing quality of life, without harmful risks known from synthetic hormones. My daily challenge of my work is to educate and offer the information so people could make an informed decision about their health care. Completing the 2-year fellowship in Functional Medicine while still working and raising 4 children was quite a challenge in it of itself. I was motivated by the fact that I was better, so I knew I could be better for my patients, and that my patients could be better. My patients deserved to have this option, but I needed to be well educated about the subject so that I could offer the best possible care. I had experience as a doctor for 17 years before I decided to open up my own practice. I knew I had to be confident and brave that I was doing the right thing for the patients I was serving. For 17 years prior, I had believed that the perimenopausal changes for both women and men were a “rite of passage”, something all of us had to endure. For men, it was “midlife crisis” and for women it was something that we just lived through and suffered. I believed this dogma until I knew different. It was during this ‘trek of doctor heal thyself” that I became enlightened by the alternative of healing your body with bioidentical hormone therapies. It is a great privilege in my life that I do not take for granted. I have been featured on “The Doctors” twice and as medical correspondence for SD Fox 5 news for 6 years. I have been asked to discuss controversial topics such as “do bioidentical hormones cause cancer”. I have sat on panels with other MD’s who refute the bioidentical hormone evidence because they are not aware of it. My field is challenging because there are people who practice it with different levels of education and credentials. Some patients may be treated by providers that do not have as much clinical experience or education so the patient does not get quality care. As such, I am challenged by trying to balance patients’ hormones that might have been grossly overtreated or undertreated. Amidst all the challenges of opening up my private practice, I am so grateful to be able to help people live better and be better. People have told me, “I saved their marriage. I saved their life”, I have some patient testimonials on my website and also reviews online for your perusal.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Silva MD AntiAging and Wellness story. Tell us more about the business.
I am known as an Integrative Physician. That is, I bridge the two worlds of mainstream medicine and alternative medicine practices. I take the best of both worlds. Sometimes prescription drugs are necessary, e.g. antibiotics can save lives. I just don’t have a knee jerk prescription for Prozac. For example, out of 10 prescriptions of Prozac, maybe 2 people really need it to treat a chemical imbalance. 8 people may benefit from other lifestyle interventions other than Prozac. My expertise and clinical training can make that distinction. I am also known as the “TV doctor” seen on ‘The Doctors”, Fox 5, and internet TV such as “The Wellness Hour” and “Dr Gina”. I specialize in dealing with quality of life issues: sleep, energy, mood, sex, stamina, weight, skin and hair. I am highly skilled and trained in Botox and Fillers and strive for a natural look. I love helping people to lose weight and have some incredible stories to share with regards to that. I am most proud of my health care team. I have knowledgeable and kind staff members who take the time needed to serve patients’ best interest. I tell my team that I want them to care about the patient as much as I care about the patient. I had a patient last month tell me he “interviewed” the staff of 30 different doctors before he picked my office. He said my office stood out because every person he spoke to in my office or corresponded to by email (4 different staff members in total) were attentive and sincerely interested in helping. What sets me apart from other doctors is that I strive to be a compassion-centered practice. I come from place of compassion and health. For me, health is beauty and I know if I can help someone to be healthier from the inside, they will always look and feel better. Also, I tend to be on the affordable side, compared to other colleagues with similar practices of “concierge care”. I released my first book in 2014 “Aging Gracefully and Strong” which became an Amazon Best Seller ranking #1 in its category. What sets me apart from other doctors, is that I strive to be a compassion-centered practice. I come from a place of compassion and health. For me, health is beauty and I know if I can get someone to be healthier from the inside, they will always look and feel better. Also, I tend to be on the affordable side, compared to other colleagues with similar practices. I am proud to have much training and expertise in my field. I am asked to roll out different protocols because of the breadth of my knowledge and experience. For example, I have extensive training in Traumatic Brain Injury- helping patients with PTSD from deployment, war. athletics (especially football and skateboarding). Also, I was one of the first doctors to be trained using the EpigeneticsRX testing. This testing checks for 14 DNA mutations that can predispose one to chronic disease, inflammation, cancer, mood disorders, etc. The treatment is with supplements and lifestyle interventions (nutrition and exercise).
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
If I can make a positive impact or a difference in one person’s life on any given day – that is a successful day for me. Success for me is helping others to be the best version of themselves. I started this journey helping myself, and in turn, am able to help others. After a work day, I ask myself, did I contribute in a positive way to help someone else be better? I have done many live videos on Facebook and am amazed with how willing people are to share their story with others. 2 weeks ago, I had a patient that was having a panic attack, feeling like she was on a verge of a nervous breakdown. She did not have any heart history or medical issues and she was seeing me for hormone balance – but treatment was just starting and had not kicked in yet. On the morning of her panic attack, she drove to my office, not sure how she got there – that is how out of touch she was with her body. Her husband met her at my office and was shocked to see his wife, nervous, tearful and not herself. It was scary for the both of them. 2 hours later with meditation, prayer and natural supplements, I got her out of the panic attack. She returned the next day, back to her usual self and shared her story live on Facebook. It was intriguing to me that she was compelled to share – she put herself in a vulnerable position with hope to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation. When I can help someone – who can then help others – that’s success! The field of Integrative Medicine is ever changing and I am committed to learning advances and new treatments as they become available. Having said that, my patients have been my best teachers!
- Address: Silva MD Anti-Aging and Wellness 890 Eastlake Parkway Ste 103 Chula Vista, CA 91914
- Website: DrMelindaSilva.com
- Phone: 619-761-1574
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Silva MD
- Twitter: @TeamSilvaMD