Best of the Beach 2018 Health
Torrance Memorial Medical Center
Highly regarded Torrance Memorial Medical Center hospital, enhanced its image still more last month when it became affiliated with the internationally renowned Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The affiliation will enable the two medical centers, both of which have significant research programs, to share specialists.
Torrance Memorial was founded in 1925 by South Bay residents who believed it important to have world class medical service closer than downtown Los Angeles. That same belief carries through to today. Contributions from Melony and Richard Lundquist and other supporters helped finance the $480 million, seven story, 256 room Lundquist Tower, unveiled in 2014. Car dealer Vasek Polak made possible The Vasek Polak Research Program, which studies cancer prevention.
Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s Volunteer Auxiliary presented a check last month for $290,000 to the Torrance Memorial Foundation at its 2018 Auxiliary Board Installation Lunch. The donation will go toward the transformation of the Hunt Patient Tower, dedicated to mother/baby postpartum, neonatal and pediatric care.
Torrance Memorial emergency room, alone, sees 60,000 patients annually.
Torrance Memorial Medical Center
3330 Lomita Blvd.
Runner-Up: Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center
4101 Torrance Blvd.
Parker Hearing Institute
Government approved hearing aids for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss will be available “over the counter” sometime this year, as a result of Congressional legislation passed last summer. Currently hearing aids require a prescription from an audiologist.
Some audiologists are concerned that non prescription hearing aids will damage their business much as reading glasses damaged optometrists when reading glasses were made available without prescription.
Parker Hearing, which has fitted over 40,000 people with hearing aids since its founding by William Lee Parker in 1975, isn’t concerned. One reason is a recent study showed people fitted with hearing aids by audiologist were 50 percent more satisfied that those who bought over the counter hearing aids.
“Some people we fit with hearing aids never need to come back. But most do. We offer membership fees for repeat visits and cleanings,” said Brian Sisson, a spokesperson for Parker Hearing.
Sisson believes making hearing aid more widely available will encourage people with hearing difficulties to seek professional help.
“Modern hearing aids are more than amplifiers. They can be programed by your smartphone to focus on the person sitting across from you, or to your right. They can be programmed for noisy restaurants. People are self conscious and don’t like to be seen fiddling with their hearing aid. A smartphone is more discrete,” Sisson noted.
“We’re seeing more and more children bringing in their aging parents. We offer family consultations because it can be stressful living with a person hard of hearing.
“We advise the family members to look at the hard of hearing person they are talking to. All of us lip read, which is why an evening in a loud restaurant can be mentally exhausting,” Sisson said.
Parker Hearing was founded in 1975 by William Lee Parker, whose parents were both deaf. As a result he learned sign language. His children Josh and Andrea have taken over his practice and also were raised reading sign language. Signing is particularly helpful for
Andrea, a pediatric audiologist.
Parker hearing represents all six hearing aid manufacturers so it has the widest available selection of hearing aids, Sisson said.
Parker Hearing Institute 4201 Torrance Blvd., #140
Runner-Up: Sunni McBride, South Bay Hearing
3734 Sepulveda Blvd.
Dr. James Wethe, M.D.
Dr. James Wethe, M.D. is a long established, highly respected plastic surgeon and the Medical Director of Skin365 in Torrance. He passed his board examination in general surgery in 1986, after attending the University of Southern California School of Medicine and completing his internship in general surgery at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Wethe became board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1990. He and his staff pride themselves on providing outstanding patient care in a professional and welcoming environment.
James D. Wethe, MD
3440 Lomita Blvd. #220
Runner up: Todd Gerlach
Center for Cosmetic Surgery
4201 Torrance Blvd Suite 150
(310) 540-0144. doctorgerlach.com
Best Dentist: Dr. Jon Miller
Dr. Jon Miller has been in the dentist trade in Manhattan Beach for more than 20 years, including owning his own practice for the last 14. During that time, he has managed to fine tune the balance of the doctor-patient relationship.
“I try to be conservative. I tell the patient about all of the options,” Miller said.
But he also knows when to be upfront with patients about a potential issue. Asked to describe Miller, office assistants Laurie Schaffer and Amanda Olea shout “Honest!” in unison, laughing at each other.
“He has no problem looking people right in the face and telling them what needs to be done,” Schaffer said.
Skills gained over the decades of practice have helped endear Miller to his long-time customers. Some of his older patients have been coming to him since they were young enough to finish a visit with a trip to the toy chest.
“Come here, and you’ll have a dentist for life,” Olea said. B
Dr. Jon Miller DDS
921 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Runner-up: Dr. Janelle Holden DDS
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Suite D 226
Jennifer Salerno has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years and in 2004, along with partner Dr. Simona Arca, founded Skin Savvy Medical Spa.
In that time, Skin Savvy has grown from a casual medi-spa to one of the South Bay’s premier and most distinguished medical aesthetic location. The company’s injectors are master level and rated No. 1 in volume of Botox and dermal fillers by Allergen.
The professional skin rejuvenation clinic on the Hermosa Beach pier promenade has a great location and Salerno and her staff spend time educating women and men about how skin ages or, more importantly, how it doesn’t.
“I’m very thrilled and excited,” Salerno said about her first time winning a Best of the Beach award. “Skin Savvy is particularly focused to help patients deal with problem skin.”
“Our biggest reward is when we make a woman feel beautiful. She feels empowered and more confident.”
49 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach. (310) 374-4181. Skinsavvy.com
Runner-up: Marcus Medical, 1815 Via El Prado, Ste 102, Redondo Beach. (424) 634-7044. Marcusmeddicalspa.com
Dr. Jamie MacDougall is a repeat Best of the Beach winner as the best dermatologist in the South Bay. His patients also rate him highly on such sites as Yelp and Doctor.WebMD.com. They are consistent in the specifics of their praise: MacDougall is experienced, extremely knowledgeable, no-nonsense, and amiable.
“Years ago my smart wife told me to make an appointment with Dr. Jamie,” wrote a patient named Peter who traveled from Carlsbad to MacDougall’s Manhattan Beach office because of the doctor’s reputation. “I had a thing on my nose I wasn’t sure about and my mom has skin cancer history. Well, it was a blessing to find him because I had a basal cell cancer and he found it. Since then, I go twice a year and he takes out the “blowtorch” to keep me in good skin health. He cares, he’s smart plus we laugh. And talk about other stuff that just medicine. He is a modest, fantastic doctor…His staff is cut from the same and they are also right on it. I speak from my heart when I say if you’re looking for a dermatologist, give Dr. Jamie a call and you’ll be in very good hands. This is one good dude!”
MacDougall, who is affiliated with Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, received his medical degree from Keck School of Medicine of USC and has been in practice for 34 years.
JamieL. Macdougall, MD
828 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Runner-Up: Dr. James O’Connell
23451 Madison St. #190
24 Hour Home Care
24 Hour home Care is a leader nationwide, with carefully screened home health aides, certified nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses and professional caregivers. The popular caregiver service specializes in non-medical, in-home care, assisting with bathing, dressing, moving about, and transferring from chair to bed, or bed to bath. The caregivers are trained to take vital signs, manage medications, prepare meals, do laundry, and provide transportation and basic house cleaning. They are available for a few hours a day or around the clock. 24 Hour is certified with the American Board of Home Care and California Association for Health Services at Home.
24 Hour Home Care
3812 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 240
Runner-Up: Home Care Assistance
19 Peninsula Center
Rolling Hills Estates
NVision Eye Center
Patients describe NVisison’s doctors as “textbook perfect” in their procedures, which are backed by a lifetime commitment to positive results. One customer described choosing NVision South Bay as “the best decision I’ve ever made.” Others used words like “love” and “ecstatic” to describe their vision results. NVision offers a Vision for Life program: if an enhancement is medically advisable, patients can receive the procedure with any participating surgeon nationwide, free of charge.
NVISION Eye Center
23550 Hawthorne Blvd., #220
Runner-Up: Manhattan Beach Vision Group
946 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Derek Levy, DC
For a Hermosa Beach Surfer Walk of Fame inductee and coach of the South Bay Boardriders Club’s grom program, chiropractor Derek Levy takes a surprisingly traditional approach to his profession.
“There are always ‘new and improved tools’ in orbit, but in my 35 years of practice the fundamentals have remained the same,” Levy said.
“Chiropractors work with three basic parts of the body – bones, nerves and muscles,” he explained.
“When a bone is out of place, it can pinch a nerve, causing pain. Then the muscles spasms as they work to hold the bones in place.”
“All a chiropractor does is put the bone back in place, so the body can heal.”
Levy compared a pinched nerve to a garden hose with a kink in it.
“If the hose gets pinched, the flowers wilt. If nerves gets pinched, patients experience numbness and pain.”
“When I fix something, I get the credit, but it’s mostly the body’s amazing healing powers that are responsible,” he said.
Unlike most doctors, Chiropractor Derek Levy describes his patients as generally healthy.
“People at the beach lead a healthy lifestyle. So when they come to see me it’s usually for minor aches and pains that are easy to take care of. I deal with neck and lower back pain all day long. The most common causes he said, aren’t accidents, but stress.
“We carry our stress in our neck, shoulders and mid back,” he explained, hunching his shoulders forward to illustrate how it happens.
The one significant change he does acknowledge is the growing acceptance of chiropractic treatment by the broader medical profession, which has led to insurance coverage.
“It’s one of those ‘careful what you wish for situations,” he said.
The paper work gives him the kind of headaches he commonly treats. Though most insurance policies cover chiropractic treatments, the paperwork can be so burdensome that some chiropractors won’t take insurance. It’s a headache Levy said that he welcomes. He takes insurance.
Derek V. Levy, DC
950 Aviation Blvd.
Runner-Up: Dr. Charlie Harper, D.C.
1800 N. Sepulveda Blvd. #202
Stein Optometric Center
About 13 years ago, Dr. Howard Stein picked up a call from his son, John, a lawyer specializing in tax law. A father already, with two more children on the way, John Stein realized that he needed a change, and set out to follow in his own father’s footsteps.
“We’ve been a family business since 1960,” Howard Stein said, “and this is a second-generation business – and now John’s 16 year old boy is thinking about doing it too.”
Stein Optometric Center is Manhattan Village Mall’s last original tenant, and in keeping with the changes going on throughout the Village, Stein just underwent its own massive remodel. Space once dedicated to over 45,000 hard-copy patient records has become space for new testing equipment and office space.
“The main thing I’ve learned is that the patient is always right,” Dr. Stein said. “If we have someone who needs to fix lenses they’ve had for three years, even if their warranty is only one or two years, we’ll make new lenses. We just want everyone to be happy.”
Stein Optometric Center
3200 N. Sepulveda Blvd. #E-4
Runner-Up: Dr. Stahl
Beach Cities Optometrist
1103 Highland Ave.
Trendy Sunglasses & Optometry
223 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Summer Orthodontics’ Manhattan Beach location was one of the first orthodontics offices to earn a LEED certification. Photo by Ryan McDonald
Best Orthodontist: Dr. Summer Blake
During her postgraduate dental studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, Dr. Summer Blake kept a smile on her face with memories of the balmy weather in Southern California from her previous stints at UCLA. Today, with an office in Metlox Plaza in downtown Manhattan Beach, Dr. Summer, as she is known, gives others reason to throw open their mouths in joy.
Blake shapes her practice around the understanding that orthodontics are a “big decision” for patients, and tries to give them as much information as possible to reduce stress and help them make the right decision. She monitors the advances in the field to give patients the latest and greatest choices. She and her family live in the South Bay, and she is proud to put a smile on the faces of her friends and neighbors. B
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Metlox Plaza, Suite D224
Runner-up: Amy Gimlen, Gimlen Orthodontics
973 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Trilogy Spa in Metlox Plaza. Easy Reader file photo
In the late 1990s, Chandra Shaw found herself in dire need of a change of pace. The stress of working in the corporate world had begun impacting her health, and then she faced a family crisis that put her over the edge.
“I never thought I would ever be in the spa business,” she said. “But my brother had brain cancer. I was coming from the really aggressive, competitive corporate world, and I was a little bit lost and found the healing side of things almost to heal myself.”
She opened Trilogy in 1999 with the thought that it would be a one year departure from her career. The first employee she hired, massage therapist Linda Acosta, actually interviewed Shaw during her hiring process. “What are you doing in the spa world?” she asked Shaw.
Shaw came to spa world for her own health and in so doing found her life’s calling. Eighteen years later, she’s still in awe at what she is able to do for a living: people arrive often stressed and in pain, and leave a few hours later relaxed and renewed. Acosta, along with several other long term employees, share this mission with a passion equal to Shaw’s.
“My very first boss out of college said they key to success is to surround yourself with people who are better than you,” Shaw said. “Because most people are afraid of that, but it’s how you elevate what you do….We are still lucky to have that very first person I hired in 1999, and there are several who are still part of team since those early days. We wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had without them.”
Trilogy started in Hermosa and opened up a second location in Manhattan Beach in 2006. The design of the second store, at Metlox Plaza, speaks to Shaw’s intention: one enters and heads upstairs in a narrowing alderwood hallway and then walks into what feels like an alternate, calming universe, where your every bodily pain and blemish are dealt with. The spa also has a rooftop deck, used both as a place for clients to unwind and to host special events. The spa features a vichy rainbar, moana tub plunges and showers for two, and offers customized spa parties, solo retreats, romantic getaways and more for clients who want a more intimate setting in which to unwind. The spa has continuously broadened the range of services it offers, remaining at the cutting edge of the wellness industry, and is the only certified-home of Ashley Black’s Fasciablasting for the body, face and head. A new addition is body sculpting.
“People work out, and we can make them look different and focus on different parts of their body in a way that is in congruence with a healthy lifestyle,” Shaw said. “It’s cool to see us, after all these years, takings steps a little bit of a different direction. It’s fun and invigorating.”
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Runner-Up: Burke Williams
2733 Pacific Coast Hwy,