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INTEGRATIVE MEDICAL CLINIC OF NORTH CAROLINA

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INTEGRATIVE MEDICAL CLINIC OF NORTH CAROLINA

Julie McGregor, MD
Will Pendergraft, MD, PhD

5915 Farrington Road, #106
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Telephone: (984) 999-0902
www.IMCNorthCarolina.com

Creating an Integrative Approach
to Healing in a Toxic World

The newly created Integrative Medical Clinic of North Carolina, a unique medical practice in Chapel Hill, embodies the essence of holistic health care. It is the creation of Dr. Julie McGregor and Dr. Will Pendergraft, two allopathically trained physicians, who knew from their own professional and personal life experiences that achieving health was a good deal more than handing out pills in a sterile room. Despite successful careers in conventional medicine, Drs. McGregor and Pendergraft felt certain there was more to offer to help patients in the healing process.

Doctors McGregor (right) and Pendergraft derive great pleasure in guiding patients on the path to robust good health.

In a conversation with Health&Healing, Drs. McGregor and Pendergraft talk about their Clinic’s holistic approach to care and reflect on the healing challenges presented by the toxic world we live in.

Dr. McGregor: In our own lives, we have been incor-porating many healing modalities beyond those conventions in which we were trained. Thus, it was our intent to find a way to incorporate the many approaches to healing we knew held value into a comprehensive practice. Now, we are able to provide to our patients what we were already doing for ourselves and our loved ones.

Health&Healing: What does this integration of healing modalities look like in practice?

Dr. McGregor: In order to have authenticity in our practice, it needed to recognize, include, and embrace the broad spectrum of specialties that contribute to true healing beyond standard primary medical care. So, in addition to primary, acute, and chronic care, we offer services such as naturopathic medicine, nutrition counselling, massage, Reiki, aromatherapy, healing touch, IV vitamin infusions, and crystal therapy. These are by no means our only services, but it gives a good idea of the scope of our perspective. We are also very good at working with difficult-to-diagnose diseases, particularly autoimmune conditions.

Dr. Pendergraft: We are also very evidence-based in our approach and use of these various modalities. My internal medicine training provides a vantage point from which to look at all the clinic has to offer, and to determine how much farther we can go with each patient using integrative medicine options. I am always looking for the line where using the techniques we know work in conventional medicine begin causing more harm than good. For example, when are we doing too much with pharmaceuticals and when we could allow a more natural, researched-based therapy to be our first-line option? It’s in finding this line and understanding how and when to walk it that we can help bring our patients to another level of health that goes beyond treating a symptom—but actually addresses the needs of the body, mind, and soul.

The Toxic Body

Dr. McGregor: Many toxins are introduced into our bodies each day, and most of them we put there ourselves. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat—a great deal of it causing mini-assaults that the immune system must constantly battle. There are people, or course, who are eating organic foods and using alkalinized water. But in general, most don’t. In truth, many of my patients coming in with illness could see vast improvements in their well-being if they just used a different approach to what they eat and drink.

The Integrative
Medical Team

The integrative medical team at IMCNC offers a range of complementary expertise to the Clinic’s patients:

The Physicians:

Julie McGregor, MD, is a board-certified internist and nephrologist trained in integrative medicine, with extensive clinical and research experiences in autoimmune diseases.

Will Pendergraft, MD, PhD, is a board-certified internist and nephrologist, with extensive expertise in difficult-to-diagnose diseases, especially autoimmune, chronic, and infectious diseases.

Maureen Dunn, ND, MPA, is a board-certified naturopathic doctor trained in primary care for the whole family, with expertise and extensive training in preventive medicine and women’s health. 

Lynda Morris Parham, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist working with diverse populations, including those dealing with relational struggles, life transitions, and racial and ethnic identity concerns.

The Practitioners:

Catherine Vosecky, LMBT (#907), FMT-1, is a massage therapist, originally trained in Swedish, Medical Massage and Shiatsu at the Swedish Institute in NYC.

Lisa Best, MBA, MS, PHD, is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN), offering holistic nutritional consulting and diet planning.

Chris Clark, RN, CHTP, CA, is a Registered Nurse with 35 years of experience in various areas of nursing, including long-term care, oncology, home health & hospice.

Tonya Sink offers treatment in Reiki, Polarity Therapy, Crystal Therapy and Tuning Forks.

Cherry Pfau, MSN, RN, is a Holistic Nurse offering Integrative Coaching, NES Health, Healing Touch, and Reiki Services.

In cases like these, where it’s clear that at least some of what is causing illness is a toxic diet, teaming up with our nutritionist is an excellent option. She is skilled in helping to detox the body by introducing a clean diet, devoid of the chemicals and toxins that contribute to un-wellness.

Dr. Pendergraft: The other toxicity issue we have to consider as physicians is that of the medications we prescribe. This is something of particular interest to me in my work with patients dealing with serious chronic health issues. Long-term medications are often required to manage chronic conditions; however, in addition to the active ingredient, medications contain binding agents and additives to help them dissolve properly, increase shelf life, and so on. All these additives introduce toxic components to important medications. This isn’t a huge deal if you take a Tylenol once every few months, but you can imagine how small amounts of toxins from a daily medication could build up in your system, helping one problem while causing the next.

Dr. McGregor: That’s why it has been so eye-opening to develop a relationship with compounding pharmacists. These specialists are able to remove some of the toxicities and leave what’s good about the pharmaceutical product. We often work with compounded medicine now—to the significant benefit of our patients.

The Toxic Mind

The kinds of toxicities affecting our health are not purely physical, the doctors point out. In order to maintain health, being aware of toxic environments that affect other aspects of human wellness are vital. Drs. McGregor and Pendergraft also recognize the profound ways a toxic mental state can lead to physical illness, as well.

Dr. McGregor: A patient I worked with—I’ll call her Anne—was strongly affected by our last national election. She was, for lack of a more appropriate medical term, heart-broken. She had tried meditation, eating organically, exercise, and acupuncture, but still felt unwell all the time—mentally and physically.

Anne then went on vacation to Europe and had a great time. On the plane coming home, she contracted a really bad chest cold. We all know airplanes mean shared bacteria, stale air, exposure to unfamiliar foods, and the stress of travel lowering your immune system. But even taking this into consideration, Anne stayed sick for an unusually long time. As we worked to figure out what was preventing her from getting well, we agreed she had been particularly vulnerable on her trip home—a vulnerability coming from her heart-center. She was broken-hearted about the country she was returning to. It seemed reasonable that her prolonged illness was more than her physical body’s inability to fight off a cold; her energy body was damaged as well. The toxic political environment of the last few years had taken a major toll on her mind and spirit, and she didn’t have the energetic reserves needed to ward off her physical illness.

We used healing touch and Reiki polarity therapy to help heal her energetic body, and an intravenous vitamin C infusion and physical detox to strengthen her immune system. This combination of approaches was a turning point for her; she was able to not only recover, but to feel like herself again.