Karla Birkholz M.D. loves serving as personal physician to people who want to feel and be the best they can be. She has studied intensively throughout her career in Family Practice to become an expert in immunity, cardiometabolic health, hormones, environmental illnesses and general prevention and wellness. Having recently “retired from insurance medicine”, she now enjoys freely applying the most cutting-edge science of prevention and personalized, precision medicine to help her patients achieve an optimal experience of life.
On March 30th, the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians honored Dr. Birkholz as the 2019 Family Physician of the Year, a lifetime achievement award recognizing the contributions and leadership of an outstanding family physician in the state of Arizona. Dr B. has always contributed to academic, community and political activities in family medicine to improve health care on local, state and national levels. She was President of the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians and served on the Board of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She has also served on the boards of the Arizona Medical Association, the Maricopa Area Health Education Center and Arrowhead Hospital Medical Center.
2019 Arizona Family Physician of the Year
Her primary community volunteer efforts have been in the areas of adolescent health, community health workers, and autism. She has lectured extensively, been featured in news and education articles, and appears frequently on radio and TV. She was recognized as a top physician by KPHO TV and was honored to receive the Arizona Medical Association Humanitarian Physician of the Year in 2016.
When she was in junior high, Dr. Birkholz was inspired by a missionary visiting her home to follow her calling to be a doctor. She was recognized early in her academic career, graduating as Valedictorian of her High School class and Summa Cum Laude in college. She stuck tenaciously to her goal of being a doctor, graduating from medical school at age 24 and was recognized as the top woman in her class. She was also one of four outstanding senior students at the University of Minnesota Medical School to be awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation Achievement Award.
During her residency in Phoenix, AZ she was Chief Resident in both her second and third year, and later completed a fellowship in Faculty Development. Dr. Birkholz has taught medical students, resident MDs and nurse practitioners and served as Interim Residency Director at Phoenix Baptist Family Medicine Residency. Wanting to create a successful, innovative Family Medicine Practice she entered solo practice and ultimately developed a highly respected group in the Arrowhead region of Glendale. In 2011 she joined with the John C. Lincoln primary group, ultimately becoming the Wellness Medical Director for HonorHealth.
She launched Your Wellness MD, a Direct Primary Care and Functional Medicine Practice in 2018, and simultaneously founded Wellness Elements, a network of wellness professionals who collaborate to support the wholistic healing path of her patients. Her current areas of focus in Functional Medicine are cardiometabolic disease prevention, hormones, mold, toxins and gut health. She is especially happy to be in practice with her daughter, Siri Cavanna, who is a talented Functional Medicine Health Coach, and who has also gifted her mother with two beautiful granddaughters. Practicing what she teaches about wellness, Dr. Birkholz loves to spend time with family, eat well, dance and sing in her church choir.
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