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 careers in Family Practice and Functional Medicine to become an expert in immunity, cardiometabolic health, hormones, gastrointestinal health, environmental toxicity such as mercury and mold poisoning, as well as all aspects of general prevention and longevity. Having recently “retired from insurance medicine”, she now enjoys freely applying the most cutting-edge screening and prevention tools available and develops personalized, precision protocols 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. Throughout her career, Dr B. has always contributed to the academic, community and political arenas of family medicine in order to improve patient health care on local, state and national levels.

2019 Arizona Family Physician of the Year

Dr. B. was President of the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians and served three years on the Board of the American Academy of Family Physicians where she collaboratively set and defined healthcare recommendations and policies at the national level. She has also served on the boards of the Arizona Medical Association, the Maricopa Area Health Education Center and Arrowhead Hospital Medical Center and remains a Fellow at the AAFP. Her primary community volunteer and advocacy efforts have been in the areas of adolescent health, community health, and autism. 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. She has lectured extensively throughout the country, has been featured in numerous news and education articles, and used to appear frequently on radio and TV before settling down to devote her expertise and experience fully to her patients.

Dr. Birkholz' calling to become a doctor was inspired by a missionary visiting her home in middle school. She stuck tenaciously to her goal of being a doctor and was recognized early in her academic career, She was Valedictorian of her High School class, Summa Cum Laude in college and graduated from medical school at age 24 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 and trained medical students, resident MDs and nurse practitioners and served as Interim 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, a nonprofit health system consisting of 6 hospitals, 70 primary and specialty care clinics, a cancer care network, and other research and community service centers.

Satisfied with her longstanding contributions to the fields of Family Medicine and Wellness, Dr. B. launched Your Wellness MD, a Direct Primary Care practice, in 2017 in order to practice medicine the way she visioned it - with more impact and less restrictions for doctor and patient. Simultaneously she 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 include optimizing immunity, preventing and reversing all aspects of cardiometabolic disease & insulin resistance, balancing hormones, mold, metal and environmental detox, gut and digestive health, general and neuro-longevity and Ketamine Assisted Therapy. She is especially happy to be in practice with her daughter, Siri Cavanna, a talented Functional Medicine Health Coach who has also gifted her mother with two beautiful granddaughters.

Dr. B. always practices what she teaches about wellness, health and longevity and loves to spend time with family, eat well, dance and sing in her church choir.