Gears of Gerson: Staff Highlight

The longevity of Gerson Institute‘s success is due to the dedication of our community base: staff, board members, donors, partners, ambassadors, supporters, patients; the list goes on. As a community steeped in passion and ambition, we drive greater awareness of the Gerson Therapy together. This strengthens our credibility, results in a higher volume of trained medical professionals and expands our local and global partnerships.

We proudly present a new behind-the-scenes series highlighting direct members of our Gerson community as well as thought leaders and influencers who help bring the bigger picture – of healthy communities, healthy soil, food as medicine and strength of the mind – to life.

Meet the Gears of Gerson!

Staff Highlight: Barbara Garcia

Before Charlotte Gerson retired in 2014, she visited the licensed Gerson clinic in Tijuana, Mexico every week to connect with patients, hear their stories and offer encouragement with her trademark wit. Luckily, Charlotte founded the Gerson Institute in the late 1970s to ensure that the legacy of her father, Dr. Max Gerson, would continue for many years, even after her retirement.

As part of the Gerson Institute’s mission to provide education and training in the Gerson Therapy, we license Gerson clinics based on high standards of care, clinical competency and ethics. This means that among many other quality control measures, we ensure that our licensed clinics maintain appropriate legal licensing in their country; that practitioners and support staff are properly trained in the Gerson Therapy; that facilities are clean, comfortable and well maintained; that there is adequate medical supervision and follow-up channels; and more.

Having started work at the Gerson Institute fifteen years ago, Barbara Garcia is one of our longest tenured employees. As our Clinic Coordinator, Barbara is the liaison between the Gerson Institute headquarter office in San Diego, California and Health Institute de Tijuana, the only licensed Gerson clinic in Mexico and one of two licensed Gerson clinics in the world. She leads our Education Team in facilitating application reviews, clinic admissions, and responding to emails, phone calls and in-person appointments on the front lines.

Part of Barbara’s role is special: every Friday, Barbara is at the clinic, spending time with patients. Her compassionate nature and proactive attitude is a source of comfort and strength for patients and staff alike.

Join us as we talk to Barbara about her experiences at the Gerson Institute and her weekly visits to the clinic.

Barbara Garcia (center) pictured with Dr. Pedro Cervantes (left) and Dr. Vanessa Alvarez (right) of Health Institute de Tijuana.

What brought you to the Gerson Institute?

The opportunity came as a surprise. I was in the process of looking for a new law firm to work for and my mom had been working at the Gerson Institute for a few months. A part-time position opened and my mom persuaded me to give it a try. She was very happy at Gerson and spoke very highly of the therapy and the Institute.

Right after I started working here, I felt, ‘I’m at home, I’m at the right place’. I felt that there was hope again. I felt good helping people and that I had a purpose. That purpose was helping others and giving second chances. For me that was life-changing.

What changes have you seen in the attitude towards alternative medicine?

People are definitely more open; the public has realized that conventional medicine isn’t the only option to treat chronic diseases. Because of the internet, there is more access to information. When we talk to people, they know more about health and are more informed. They ask better questions so they can make the right decision for themselves.

Has awareness of the Gerson Therapy changed?

Yes, younger generations are finding the Gerson Therapy more than when I first started working here. I don’t think it’s because younger people are getting sick, but because people are taking control of their own health. Younger people want preventative information because they’ve seen loved ones pass away from cancer; it’s impossible not to make those changes when you’re seeing what others are going through.

What do you enjoy most about working at the Institute?

Our daily communication with patients, families and loved ones. The ability to help them, give them tools, to have the resources for them to improve their health and possibly recover from a disease is very rewarding and fulfilling. Hearing from recovered patients keeps me going.

What is the most challenging aspect of working at Gerson Institute?

Emotionally, you’re still human and feel sad when you talk to someone who is facing serious hardship. It’s impossible to detach completely from the emotions of a case. You learn so much from them, they open up to you and you really can’t detach. In some cases it’s heartbreaking to hear stories of the challenges that families go through when a loved one is sick. It always touches you in some way.

“The patients become a family while they are at the clinic. The atmosphere is supportive, friendly, loving and positive.”

Tell Us About Health Institute de Tijuana

Health Institute de Tijuana opened in 2002 and is located in a coastal town of Tijuana, Mexico. It’s the only Gerson clinic in Mexico that Charlotte Gerson held an intimate relationship with. She personally trained the clinic’s owner and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alicia Melendez, and even visited every week until her retirement. I’m honored to continue those weekly visits.

What Do Patients Receive at Health Institute de Tijuana?

They receive blood tests when they arrive, followed by a clinical examination before the Gerson protocol is personalized for them. All juices, meals, supplements and enemas are prepared for them so that they have ample time to rest. Their progress is monitored throughout the two-week stay and adjusted accordingly. Before returning home, patients receive guidance on ordering supplements. 

Health Institute de Tijuana also offers adjunctive treatments such as Vitamin C IV, Immunotherapy, Chelation and Laetrile.

Once they’re at home, our Education Team is available for any general questions. Patients will have follow-up consultations with their clinic doctor, often on a monthly basis. 

Walk us through your typical clinic visit

I visit every patient and get to know them. Then we talk about their questions and concerns, and I provide answers and resources. We go over programs they can benefit from when they go home, how the Institute will support them throughout the Gerson Therapy, and the process of follow-up consultations once they leave the clinic. We really want to show them that we are here to support them, no matter where they’re at in their healing journey, so that they feel secure and confident.

Patients often say to me, ‘It’s so different than when you’re in a hospital. If you didn’t know this person had cancer, you would never know they are sick because they feel good when they’re here’.

The patients become a family while they are at the clinic. It’s priceless, what I see happening. The atmosphere is supportive, friendly, loving and positive.

What is the advantage of going to a licensed Gerson clinic versus doing the Gerson Therapy from home without guidance from a medical professional?

Having access to a Gerson practitioner with years of bedside experience is a huge advantage. During the stay there is unlimited access to a doctor, so any time you have a question you can just ask. Getting a personalized protocol is another advantage, whether that’s at a licensed Gerson clinic or through our Web-Based Case Management service. Having that protocol and medical support on Gerson means there is no guessing what you’re supposed to do, or worry about whether you’re doing it right. You can focus on actually doing the therapy and if anything comes up, you have a medical professional trained in the Gerson Therapy to help you.

Why are these visits important?

It’s all about being present with patients and building that trust and connection with them. It’s our responsibility to support their education in the Gerson Therapy and to give resources for them to succeed. 

Their feedback is also important to improve services and the patient’s overall experience from the time they apply to when they return home, and beyond. 

At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here; for them.

To learn more about the only licensed Gerson clinic in Mexico, Health Institute de Tijuana, or to speak to a member of our Education Team, please contact us at [email protected].

Written and posted by: Nicole Ferrer-Clement and Lauren Saunders

Educational articles like this are made possible with the help of your donations. Help us continue the legacy of Dr. Max Gerson, his daughter Charlotte Gerson, and the thousands who rely on the Gerson Institute for vital educational materials and training.

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