Meet Deena Neff, MD
I imagine that you, like so many of my patients, are looking for a doctor that will actually listen to you and believe you.
The special relationship between a doctor and patient is healing. Taking the time to listen to your whole story, to dive deeply into understanding you, where you’ve been and where you would like to go, is fundamental to addressing the root cause of your suffering. Your body is your biography.
If you’ve been wishing that your doctor would be more of a healer, as well as the scientist that she is, then you’ve come to the right place.
I began my whole-person medicine journey in 2009 after practicing conventional medicine for 20 years, with the start of my fellowship in Integrative Medicine. To practice truly patient-centered medicine has been a dream come true, allowing me to incorporate conventional, integrative, and functional medicine into a whole-person care practice.
My aim is to create a healing and welcoming environment where you are comfortable, where your context matters and our interactions are consistently about your needs. In my experience, it’s not about what’s wrong with you, but what’s happened to you that makes a difference in your health and well-being. I utilize my deep and extensive training to bring a much broader and grounded perspective to patients who have not found answers from their more conventional doctors.
I am a UCSF trained physician, Board Certified in Family Medicine, with over 30 years of deeply varied clinical experience. I am fellowship trained in integrative medicine from the University of Arizona’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. I have extensive training in functional medicine through The Institute of Functional Medicine. And I am a lifelong learner, valuing curiosity both personally and professionally.
My undergraduate degree is in Government from Smith College. I completed my medical training at Jefferson Medical College, with a post graduate residency in Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. There, I was awarded the Julius R. Krevans Award for Clinical Excellence.
My clinical experience includes 12 years as a hospitalist at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. I have been a faculty member of UCSF and taught residents and students there and at many varied clinics throughout my career. One of my formative experiences was the four years I spent with the Navajo Nation, providing primary and emergency care for a very rural and traditional population. More recently, I was Medical Director of Berkeley Primary Care and Medical Director of Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless.
One of my deepest passions is for the nourishing, nurturing and healing properties of food. My nutrition training with my fellowship and with the Institute for Functional Medicine broadened my scientific perspective of the healing qualities of food and eating. It helps that I cooked in several restaurants prior to medical school – making cooking my favorite creative outlet.
Mind-body medicine, another passion and a cornerstone of integrative medicine, is the belief in the power of the mind and that the mind and body are not separate. I started my studies of mind-body medicine, and spirituality and healing with my mentor, Jeff Draisin, MD, at UCSF, who is now the Medical Director of the Health and Healing Institute at California Pacific Medical Center. My ongoing practice of yoga and meditation are key to my own wellbeing and deepening of my understanding of this connection. I have been an athlete my whole life and have practiced yoga for more than 20 years and with over 400 hours of teacher training. I currently study Shadow Yoga with Scott Blossom, which combines asana, Indian temple dance, and marshal arts. Through my fellowship and the study of yoga, I bring the perspective of Ayurveda to my practice, knowing first-hand the healing power of movement, meditation, and breath-work.
Many of those practicing Integrative and Functional Medicine tell their story of illness and suffering, a path that led them to their current work. My journey has been one of envisioning this kind of work since before I went to medical school. I have had injuries and illnesses along the way, those that come with having a body in this world and a life actively lived. I have also been down the road of IBS and SIBO, Hashimoto’s, injuries, menopause, burn-out, and cancer. I don’t believe that a true healer has to have had the same journey as her patients, but the journey of the wounded healer is sacred and profound, and I feel blessed to have the openness of heart to bring a greater compassion to my practice, born of the roots of my experience.
I look forward to hearing your story and finding how we can work together to bring you to your best health. Everyday I learn from my patients. With an open heart, healing is possible for both of us.