South Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine exists as an option for patients that want a different health care experience. Our appointments are longer than most are used to because we want to work with you to figure out how we can reach your health goals. We're not just here to give you a pill to fix your ill, we're here to figure out why you are not feeling well and then work out what steps we can take to get you to where you want to be. It might not be easy but the rewards are worth it! We look forward to helping you on your journey to health. Please take a moment to read the stories of our practitioners below.
KIMBERLY SHIRK, PA-C
Kim is a wife and mother to 4 adorable girls. From as young as she can remember she’s always wanted to work in healthcare. At age five she was fixated on becoming a doctor. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Marist College she decided that becoming a Physician Assistant would allow her to spend more time with her patients and help them address their health needs. Kim went on from Marist to get her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Sciences from Saint Francis University. Kim has been practicing as a Physician Assistant in the traditional medical setting in both ENT and Pediatric Urgent Care since 2008. She became interested in holistic/nutritional medicine when she became pregnant with her second daughter. During this time she also began to realize that there was something missing in main stream medicine, a large piece of the puzzle that was failing to get people well. When the planned homebirth of her first daughter resulted in a hospital delivery four weeks early due to her water breaking, she knew her body was lacking the nutrients it needed to carry her baby full term. Kim was determined to have a natural, unmedicated homebirth with her second daughter. She began a personally tailored clinical nutrition program under a Nutrition Response Testing practitioner very early in her pregnancy and had an easy, full term pregnancy and the homebirth she so desired.
Kim has also seen the dramatic results a functional medicine approach can have first hand on her husband. When Kim’s husband suffered from back pain and left leg numbness due to an injury that resulted in a bulging disk in his spine, he sought out the care of a holistic practitioner. After being on his own unique clinical nutrition program and making some dietary changes not only did his back pain and leg numbness resolve, but he began to lose weight and feel better than he has in years. Kim is continuously amazed at how quickly her patients feel better, look healthier, and recover from illnesses.
Dr. Meshia Waleh graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 2008 and from Duke University's Family Medicine Residency Training Program in 2011. After graduating from Duke, Dr. Waleh pursued medical missions in Honduras and then taught at the University of South Carolina Department of Family and Preventative Medicine in Columbia, SC. She has a tremendous heart for the well-being of her patients and for the medically under-served both here and abroad. She is a fantastic asset to our staff. Currently, Dr. Waleh is not accepting new patients.
Lauren Mazzola, PA-C
Lauren is a wife and Massachusetts native who moved to South Carolina to pursue her passion for integrative and functional medicine with SCCIM. She received her undergraduate degree in Health Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts in 2014 and went on to receive her Masters of Physician Assistant studies at MCPHS University in Boston in 2017. During her three years at MCPHS, Lauren was able to successfully combine her empathic focused health care and love of travel by creating a volunteer program for PA students to medically serve both locally and internationally in rural communities of Nicaragua and Peru.
Lauren continues to regularly travel to Nicaragua to lead medical mission trips. Additionally, she has previously lived in Pisac, Peru where she studied under a local doctor to practice both western and traditional techniques of Peruvian medicine. She also lived in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia studying women's health under the local gynecologist where she was able to provide focused care for women of the community while assisting in natural birthing practices.
Lauren's interest in holistic medicine started as an undergraduate when she took multiple courses on complimentary and alternative medicine practices. She became holistically invested in her own health and truly dedicated to be able guide others in their own health and wellness journeys. After graduation from PA school, Lauren spent time teaching yoga, traveling, and became certified in aromatherapy.
KRISTYN Leonard, CLC
I'm Kristyn Leonard, Certified Lactation Counselor and mother of three.
My breastfeeding journey began in 2007 with the birth of my first son. He was a struggle, and the wonderful IBCLC in the hospital, Holly, stood by my side through going back to work full time at 8 weeks postpartum, months of sore nipples (from what I would learn 8 years later was an un-diagnosed tongue tie), mastitis, thrush, and a dramatic drop in supply at 4 months old when I took medication I shouldn't have. My goal was to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months before introducing complementary foods and continue until the age of 1. In the end I was able to meet my goals and we nursed for 15 months despite all our challenges. Her support inspired me with a desire to help and support other mothers the way she had supported me.
In 2012 I became a Certified Lactation Counselor as the first step towards my goal of becoming an IBCLC. The plan was to be in a position to go back to work when my daughter, born in 2010, started school. But as life usually goes, my plan didn't work out quite the way I thought it would; and rather than sending my kids to school so I could work, we started homeschooling in 2013.
My journey took yet another unexpected turn in 2015 with the birth of my youngest son. I noticed immediately in the hospital that something wasn't right with his suck, but was unsure of the cause, it could have been a lot of things that early on. At 6 days old he was diagnosed with a tongue tie and lip tie that we had revised when he was 10 days old. The experience of having a child with a tie, going through the revision process, and seeing the lack of resources in our area fueled the drive I now have to not only increase resources, but be a part of the solution for tongue tied babies in the greater Columbia area.
I started Columbia Lactation Care in 2015 to do my part in providing resources and solutions to mothers in our community who are struggling with breastfeeding for whatever reason.
My goal now is to be your Holly. To help and support you in meeting YOUR personal breastfeeding goals, whatever those may be. A week, a month, a year or three; it doesn't matter to me what your goal is. Only that you are able to overcome any obstacle set in your path and meet it. And maybe somewhere down the line, someone will remember me the way I still remember her.