Valencia Porter, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Integrative Medicine
Patients and guests who visit the Chopra Center have the opportunity to receive a mind-body medical consultation with holistic health expert Valencia Porter, M.D., M.P.H. Board-certified in both General Preventive Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine, Dr. Porter has an integrative approach that incorporates many areas of health and healing, including Ayurveda, biofield (energy) therapies, and functional medicine.
As a medical student at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, she began to explore complementary and alternative medicine. After training in Pediatrics and Child Neurology, she completed a residency in Preventive Medicine at U.C. San Diego – as well as a master’s degree in public health focusing on Environmental Health at San Diego State University.
Before coming to the Chopra Center, Dr. Porter served as a physician and researcher at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, where she provided integrative care to children and adults coping with ADD/ADHD, stress and anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and weight management. Dr. Porter completed a fellowship as a Bravewell Collaborative scholar at the renowned Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. In addition to serving as the Chopra Center's Lead Physician Educator, she is a volunteer faculty member of U.C. San Diego's department of family and preventive medicine.
Dr. Porter has a caring, individualized approach that encompasses all aspects of her patients’ lives. During your consultation, she will work with you to explore the mind-body connection behind your current symptoms and develop practical behaviors that will set you on a course of wellness.
“I love supporting people in restoring balance and health in their lives,” she said. “In reality, doctors don’t ‘heal’ anybody . . . their true role is educating patients to make healing choices for themselves. The word doctor actually comes from the Latin rootdocere, meaning ‘to teach.’”
With more than fifteen years of medical experience, Dr. Porter has helped thousands of patients find relief and healing from conditions including:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety & depression
- Stress disorders
- Weight issues
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Allergies & asthma
- Immune dysfunction
- Headache & migraine
- Chronic fatigue
Read about Dr. Porter’s personal experience of mind-body healing
Sheila Patel, M.D., Medical Director of the Chopra Center
Dr. Sheila Patel is the a board-certified family physician who earned her M.D. at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed her residency in family medicine at the Ventura County Medical Center in Southern California. For more than a decade, she has been practicing full-spectrum family medicine (from prenatal care and deliveries, to ER coverage, and inpatient and outpatient primary care for all ages) in a variety of settings.
Dr. Patel’s integrative healing approach combines the best in conventional Western medicine with the wisdom of ancient healing traditions. “I believe in a holistic individualized approach to patient care that incorporates a wide variety of healing modalities. Every person is unique, so what works for one person may not be effective for someone else. I work with patients to develop individual treatments plans that address body, mind, and spirit," states Dr. Patel.
“Before coming to the Chopra Center, I chose to practice in small communities for the last twelve years – initially in southeast Alaska, and then in rural Wisconsin, where I was able to develop close relationships with patients and their families and provide patient-centered care in a supportive environment.
"I was drawn to serve as a physician at the Chopra Center because I could continue to offer individualized medical care in a loving, nurturing setting where patients feel empowered and supported on their healing path."
Dr. Patel's special interests include preventive medicine, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mind-body medicine with an emphasis on Ayurveda.
“My practice has always focused on preventive medicine for all ages, as well as management of a wide variety of chronic and acute health conditions. I believe that the best way to achieve wellness is to integrate all of the knowledge available to us from modern conventional medicine as well as from traditional healing systems. I have particular interests in meditation and yoga, which I have practiced for many years," she said.
“I have been interested in Ayurveda since I began my medical training at the University of Wisconsin, and was influenced early on by Dr. Deepak Chopra’s writings. Working at the Chopra Center allows me to blend the Vedic spiritual tradition of my childhood with the practice of medicine, which is both personally and professionally fulfilling."
Dr. Patel is a compassionate, caring doctor whose areas of expertise include:
• High cholesterol
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Heart disease
• Chronic pain/fibromyalgia
• Back and joint pain
• Depression and anxiety
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Cancer screening
• Symptoms related to menopause
• Stress reduction
• Allergies and asthma
Tim Brieske, M.D., Staff Physician and Educator
Dr. Tim Brieske is a board-certified family physician, mind-body healing expert, and core member of the Chopra Center medical staff. With his characteristic compassion, wisdom, and lighthearted nature, he provides medical consultations for guests and patients and offers mind-body guidance at the Center’s events and programs. He also teaches the healing tools and techniques of Ayurveda and leads walking meditations in nature.
Before coming to the Center, Dr. Brieske was in medical practice for more than thirteen years in Southeast Alaska and rural Wisconsin, where he was able to experience and practice the full range of primary care and emergency medicine while developing and performing the skills necessary to care for people in all stages and transitions of life.
In working with patients, Dr. Brieske combines the wisdom of traditional healings arts – including Ayurveda – with modern medicine.
“Ayurveda teaches that our natural state is balance and health, and that illness is the result of imbalances or stresses that disrupt this equilibrium. I have found my dharma or purpose in life is helping people restore their balance and experience greater levels of happiness, purpose, and optimal health,” he said.
Dr. Brieske’s path to becoming a doctor began with service as a medic in the military. He then completed an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, geology, and bacteriology, reflecting his love of nature and a strong desire to understand how the world works. Continuing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he earned his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. Enjoying all aspects of medical care, he completed residency training and board certification in Family Medicine at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California.
Walking long distances is a passion that allows Dr. Brieske the continued evolution and development of a meditative and contemplative practice. He enjoys and regularly practices meditation and yoga. He is a certified instructor of Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle and is currently completing his certification as a Primordial Sound Meditation teacher. He is on the Chopra Center University Teachers’ Path for certification as a Vedic Master.
“Fully recognizing and appreciating our divine ability to participate in the enjoyment and understanding of this existence allows us the opportunity to discover, manifest, and promote balance as a means toward optimal health,” he said.
As a family physician, Dr. Brieske has a wide range of expertise in many areas of health and wellbeing, including the treatment of:
- Heart disease
- Depression and anxiety
- High cholesterol and blood pressure
- Men’s health issues
- Stress-related illness
- Lung disease
- Skin problems
- And many other health concerns