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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

New Team Members at GW Center for Integrative Medicine

Jun 28, 2014 06:38AM

The idea of an integrated team is one of the most important elements of the mission at George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine (GWCIM).  Dr. Mikhail Kogan serves as the medical director for the team and thoughtfully brings new members aboard to fill out a vast array of medical specialties, so that patients can be provided with the modality best suited to their condition.  

“This is a particularly important time in the life of the practice,” states Kogan.  “Dr. John Pan, the founder of GWCIM, who is also seen as the ‘father of the practice’, has retired. Barbara Boston, another founding practitioner, considered the ‘mother of the practice’ recently died of cancer. While we can’t fill their spaces, we can keep their legacy going by adding new staff and new energy.”

The team concept is solidified through weekly meetings with the 20 practitioners of the center, who discuss issues that current patients face and collaborate on the treatment. This model of engaging disease and pain from different perspectives provides a comprehensive analysis and therefore, great success when diagnosing each patient.

The family of practitioners has recently expanded at GWCIM, with the addition of four new practitioners; Mary Naden, Yael Flusberg, Mary Starich , Ph.D., LMT and Julie Wendt.

Naden is an ATI certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a form of postural re-education that teaches patients to use their whole body with ease, efficiency, balance and power, to combat back and joint pain. It is often taught in music and theater schools to help prevent repetitive stress injuries and to maximize performance.

Mary Naden

 Naden brings more than 20 years of voice and movement teaching experience to her practice and her patients. She has seen the benefits of this technique as an effective tool in self-care, to counter the effects of tension, strain and physical wear on the body, particularly in helping patients eliminate back, neck, jaw and joint pain. In addition to her work at GWCIM, Naden is also on the faculty of Catholic University.

Flusberg has been a friend to GWCIM for several years; first completing her Reiki Master’s program at the center, followed by a innovative six-month clinic fellowship in 2010, where she taught Reiki to GW medical students and hospital residents. As part of that fellowship, Flusberg provided Reiki treatment at the MFA Breast Care Center Clinic and at the GW Hospital and participated in the GWUH Palliative Care Team, as well as the interdisciplinary CIM team.

Yael Flusberg

In addition to being a Reiki Master Teacher, Flusberg is a board-certified polarity therapist, yoga therapist, leadership coach, organizational facilitator, as well as a poet. At GWCIM, she offers sessions in Reiki and yoga therapy. Her individual sessions help patients integrate physical, creative and spiritual aspects into their own unique healing journeys.

Starich provides Rolfing Structural Integration at GWCIM. After working in research and facilities management for the National Institute of Health for 15 years, with a undergraduate degree in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry, she switched careers; first becoming a massage therapist ,and later certified as a Rolfer. In this role, Starich provides services for individuals with injury and chronic pain issues, people who have completed routine physical therapy and are looking for additional mobility, competitive athletes, women addressing postpartum body changes and people who simply want to improve their posture and well-being. She also enjoys working with children to improve their alignment, mobility and physical ease.

Like many healers, Starich’s interest in bodywork is personal, having explored its healing from two auto accidents. When traditional care did not resolve her impaired posture and gait patterns, she was introduced to Rolfing, which enabled her to restore her to healing. 

Mary Starich

Wendt brings her expertise in the field of functional nutrition counseling and works from the belief that “the human body has powerful healing capacities that, when supported, can bring a person to his or her optimal state of health.” Wendt works individually with patients to implement diet and lifestyle changes that have been recommended by the patient’s physician. This support comes in the form of accountability check-ins, tours of the grocery store to learn how to make positive food choices, as well as cooking classes. 

Wendt’s work is grounded in the fundamental notion that food is medicine. This concept has played an important role in her own life, as the mother to a colicky baby years ago, and later as she was making choices to feed her growing family with the foods that lead to optimal health. She brings this passion for helping individuals find the right foods for full health to her work at GWCIM.

            With the addition of these new practitioners to the team, GWCIM is making great strides to provide even greater integrative care for its patients. Its next challenge, already underway, is to construct the AIM Health Institute, a nonprofit organization that will provide free and reduced-cost services to patients who are unable to pay for them. 


To learn more about these providers and others in the practice, visit


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