O U R P R O F E S S I O N A L S
Meet our Team
Founder & CEO
Kara wore several medical hats since the start of her nursing career in 2008. She practiced in Critical Care , Surgery, and operations management before starting IFM. Kara completed her undergraduate (BSN) degree at the University of Iowa, her master’s (MSN) degree at Grand Canyon University, and is currently completing her Nurse Practitioner degree. Des Moines is home for her. Having grown up here, she always knew she would live and raise her family here. With the support of her husband Tyler and son George, she’s ready not only to work, but to give back.
Her own health journey led her to this place. After traditional medicine held no answers and she faced undiagnosed symptoms and ineffective treatments, she found her own answer in integrative medicine that included lifestyle changes and a multi-pronged approach to total healthcare that not only changes health, but that changes lives.
After discovering the number of people who had stories similar to her own, she found herself in a unique position to do something about it. Not only did the integrative model open up treatment opportunities not available in traditional medicine, but it also allows her, as a provider, to become independent of healthcare systems that prioritize revenue over patient care.
At Integrative Family Medicine, she assures clients that they will be heard and their symptoms validated. In this community, the client has an opportunity to do the same as she did; to access everything they need to attain health and healing.
Founder & Chief Medical Officer
Sarah has a lot of notches in her healthcare belt that prepared her for a career both bold and innovative. While married to a Marine Corps veteran serving in Iraq, she worked as an RN in Pediatric, Neonatal, and Life Flight; and as a Nurse Practitioner working in both a specialty clinic for urology and sexual health and in the Iowa Women’s Correctional system. She has experience to spare. Experience alone, however, did not lead to Integrative Family Medicine. Life did.
Sarah is also one of nine siblings, wife, and a mother of two whose upbringing and nurturing taught her generosity, caring, and kindness, qualities she too often failed to see in traditional healthcare models. She wants to change that. She knows it’s possible to provide good, complete healthcare, control costs, offer accessibility, build meaningful relationships with clients and their families, and give back to the community she serves.
Sure, that’s a tall order, but Sarah believes that the people of Des Moines deserve it. She is building Integrative Family Medicine to be more than a clinic or medical center. She is building a caring healthcare home.
MSN ARNP FNP-C
Jackie is home. Not just because she grew up in Des Moines, but because she’s found a medical practice that shares her values. A Family Nurse Practitioner, Jackie has a passion to be an advocate for her patients. She wants to spend time getting to know them using her natural gift for building relationships. She also wants the freedom to practice holistically, to help people feel better using alternative methods in addition to medication. “I want to take the time to listen. I know I’ve been successful when a patient tells me they’ve never had a provider do that for them before.” That’s what brought her to IFM. “I love what I do.” Values and time. That’s why Jackie found a home at IFM.
DNP, ARNP, PMHNP-BC
Justin came back to Des Moines just in time. A registered psychiatric nurse with a doctorate in mental health nursing, Justin practiced in Austin for a few years before coming home to Iowa and has a special interest in mindfulness and natural healing, which makes him perfectly suited for IMF’s approach to healthcare. His practice is characterized by his willingness to dig in. He takes a trauma-informed approach, meaning that he is comfortable working through deep trauma. “Spirituality,” he says, “is also an very important aspect of my care, which is one of the areas that traditional psychiatry neglects.”
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Danielle’s medical career in mental health took shape with help from her own experiences. It started in 2011 in a labor and delivery unit, continued with work in urology, where she met Sarah, and then she came to a mental health crisis observation unit, where her life’s work coalesced. “I wanted to help people”, she says, “I wanted to help them earlier in their lives, before their mental illness progressed that far.”
Her belief that mental health begins even before birth, and that some patients can be predisposed to depression even before they show obvious symptoms, has led her to look at mental health in a new way. In addition, her own experience with postpartum depression and the lack of sufficient medical care and understanding she experienced when she needed it most provided additional motivation to work in mental health and now, at IFM, she can prescribe more therapies than she would otherwise be able to do in a traditional practice. “I love taking advantage of the holistic therapies,” she says. “I’ll be able to treat patients the way they ought to be treated. Most important to me is making my patients feel good, in getting them the help they need, and being able to teach what I’ve learned.”
Pediatric Sensory Development
Stephanie’s love for children started in her own home, watching and helping her mother, a pediatric nurse by training, in their in-home day care. She remembers there were always kids in their house and, when her first career in retail management didn’t allow her the kind of opportunity to give back she craved, she became a nanny. During the five years she spent with her first family, the mother of the children she cared for became ill and passed away, giving Stephanie a unique opportunity to observe how children process emotions and led her to extensive research in a desire to understand their development.
This is when Stephanie discovered the role sensory stimulation plays in the kind of physical brain development that leads to healthy attachment with caregivers and provides for healthy growth, and she eventually qualified as an instructor of these techniques. “A child needs to learn to be safe,” she says. “A safe space to learn makes brain development possible.” With that in mind, Stephanie teaches parents and caregivers how to help kids play with a purpose and to create an environment that promotes brain development and the attachment that comes with it.
Stacy is the first person you’ll see when you come to IFM. Open and personable, Stacy found a home here because she gets an opportunity to get to know patients. “They’re not a number when you recognize their face and their name.” Her 2012 degree in Clinical Laboratory Science allowed her to work in the laboratory of a cancer center and, although she liked what she did, she wasn’t comfortable with the environment. “I went into health care to help people”, she says, and the structural roadblocks she found there held her back. At IFM, she can put into practice the health and family values she cherishes and get to know patients face to face. “There comes a time,” she says, when you have to realize what’s important.” Now, in IFM’s calm, open environment, she’s found work she can be passionate about. “I’m excited to go to work. It’s like, who are we going to help today?”
Meet Kala, our nurse health coach. Kala's diverse background in healthcare has prepared her for this role at IFM as a registered nurse and health coach. Graduating from Grand View University with her BSN, she has spent her career as a neonatal intensive care unit nurse followed most recently by a retina ophthalmology nurse.
Kala has always had a deep passion for learning about and using functional health and wellness in her own life and with her family, husband Pedro and daughter Nora. She was desperate to increase her knowledge and share her interests in holistic health so she became a Certified Health Coach in 2018 from the Integrative Women's Health Institute.
In 2019, she was unexpectedly hit with a personal diagnosis of an autoimmune condition. With the support of her family, background knowledge, and drive to take an alternative approach to healing she chose whole foods nutrition, supplementation, movement, and lifestyle modification to aid in her ongoing healing. Her own experiences navigating the current healthcare system with a serious chronic illness gives her the compassion and know how to meet patients where they are in their own health journey.
Kala's biggest goal while working at IFM is to provide compassionate patient centered care and to encourage patients to realize their full potential through feeling the best both physically and mentally.
Sessions with Kala can be booked online through our website. A 30 minute coaching session is $39.