10 QUESTIONS: Dr. Mimi Guarneri is proud to lead the charge for integrative medicine

Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, founder and president of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM), is an award-winning La Jolla physician specializing in cardiology and integrative holistic medicine. Board-certified in cardiovascular disease, internal medicine, nuclear medicine and holistic medicine, she founded Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in 1999, serving 15 years as medical director.

Senior advisor to the Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, she helped launch The Chambers Center for Wellbeing in 2014. She is expanding integrative healthcare into large systems including the US Veterans Health Administration by teaching hospital staff at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Locally, at Guarneri Integrative Health at Pacific Pearl La Jolla, she created a membership model combining MDs with naturopathic doctors (NDs) and internal medicine, cardiology and psychology. It features a comprehensive assessment with an MD/ND team and has acupuncture, healing touch, massage, bodywork, hypnotherapy and skincare providers.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I came to La Jolla in 1994 to train in interventional cardiology. Stents were pioneered by Scripps cardiologists Paul Teirstein, MD and Richard Schatz, MD, and I came as a Fellow to work with them for a year. I found La Jolla a revelation after winters in New York and knew I’d stay here.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

An instant change would be wonderful. I recognized the need for a more comprehensive, holistic approach to cardiovascular disease and opened the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine 16 years ago. My wish would be to fully transform the way medicine is practiced to be more proactive, focusing on body, mind and spirit with prevention as the foundation. La Jolla would be a national model for optimal health and community wellness.

Who or what inspires you?

Visionaries inspire me, of which La Jolla has had many, such as Martha Longnecker-Roth and Ellen Browning Scripps … people who identify a challenge and seek effective solutions to make our world a better place.

What are your favorite kinds of books and movies?

I am reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi. I was an English major and am an avid reader. My favorites are true, inspirational stories that bring out the best in human nature and speak to the power of the human spirit. Recent favorite movies are “McFarland, USA” and “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom would you invite?

My dinner party theme would be Spirituality and Health, and guests would include His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama; Mahatma Gandhi; Jesus; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Sri Narayani Amma; Dr. Deepak Chopra; Dr. Wayne Dyer and Paramahansa Yogananda.

What is it that you most dislike?

I am deeply saddened by intolerance.

What is your most-prized possession?

My most-prized possessions are my relationships, my health and my spiritual life.

What do you do for fun?

For me, fun is traveling, hiking and spending time at WindanSea Beach.

What is your motto or philosophy

of life?

Do unto others as your would have them do unto you.

What would be your dream vacation?

My dream vacation would be traveling the world and studying spiritual sites and traditions.

Editor's Note: Dr. Guarneri is also listed as No. 6 in the top 100 Integrated Medicine physicians, joining doctors Mehmet Oz, Mark Hyman, and Chopra, among the leaders. Dr. Chopra will join Dr. Guarneri, president of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM), as the keynote speaker for “People, Planet, Purpose,” AIHM’s annual global conference for healthcare professionals, Oct. 25-29 at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego.

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