Charlotte Maxwell Clinic '25th Anniversary' Release

For Immediate Release


Oakland’s Innovative Charlotte Maxwell Clinic Celebrates 25 Years of
Pioneering Integrative Cancer Care

Oakland’s own Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC)–a free health clinic for low income women with cancer–will celebrate its 25th Anniversary this year as a pioneering integrative medicine health care provider.

Born in Oakland in 1991 by a community of healthcare and social workers, CMC’s unique integrative care model was the direct product of the people that pioneered it. “We knew each other on a personal level–as people as well as patients,” said Dr. Gabriella Heinsheimer, Medical Director and Co-Founder of CMC. “So our care model–integrative and holistic care–took that into account. It still does.”

In a medical system that’s overburdened and often profit focused, doctors’ schedules are streamlined for maximum numbers–for a patient that can mean a 45 minute wait for a 10 minute visit. Treatment is prescribed, but often not explained. For low income women–many of whom do not count English as a native language–that leads to reduced recovery outcomes and severe economic stress for those who can afford it least.

But visits to CMC are markedly different. Besides being completely free of cost, visits are 50 minutes minimum with no wait, often conducted in the patient’s native language–including Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish. Integrative treatments such as massage, nutritional counseling and acupuncture speed recovery from harsh conventional treatments like chemo, forming a positive feedback loop that heals patients better, faster, and more cost effectively.

“Health care systems are adopting integrative care because it just makes sense–the faster and more complete the recovery, the better the outcome for the patient and their families. The resulting decreased burden on our healthcare system can’t be overlooked, while secondary to patient outcomes, economics are still an important reality,” says Devereaux Smith, CMC Executive Director. “That’s how CMC operates at such a high level–by supporting patients through every stage of treatment.”

Although many aspects of CMC’s pioneering model have been adopted by mainstream medical clinics, CMC continues to trailblaze the scope of integrative care, also helping enroll low income patients in programs such as Calfresh or after school for children. “This is about treating all facets holistically,” says Dr. Heinsheimer. “If chemo is making you so sick you can’t work, can’t earn a living wage–if your kids can’t eat–how are you expected to even get your treatments, let alone heal?”

Now, with low income communities in Oakland more vulnerable than ever and integrative healthcare treatments rising in popularity, it’s clear that CMC’s pioneering healthcare model could not be more suited to the pressing needs of our current era.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, Oakland’s Charlotte Maxwell has proven for decades that it isn’t just ahead of the curve on integrative care–but like so many Oakland institutions before it, setting the curve.

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Upcoming 25th Anniversary Events

Musical Extravaganza

September 18, 2016

Freight & Salvage, Berkeley

Support Strokes

October 8th, 2016

Jack London Square, Oakland


Earned Media

In-Depth East Bay Times Feature Article