Mrs. Rus Malka Ifrah MSN, FNP-C.

The BJH sat down with Mrs. Rus Malka Ifrah MSN, FNP-C, to find out more about her new medical weight loss and wellness program. 

What is Shalva Health?

Shalva Health is a new medical weight loss and wellness clinic serving the Baltimore community. Our mission is to decrease barriers to optimal health, and we pride ourselves on making your health goals easily attainable. I’m a family nurse practitioner with additional training in medical weight loss. I have over 12 years of experience in healthcare, and personally work with every patient throughout their weight loss journey. I’m also a wife and mother, so I understand the challenge of making room in one’s life for proper self-care. Serving both men and women, we offer individualized weight loss plans based on your needs and lifestyle. We have convenient appointment options with multiple modalities and will do our best to accommodate your schedule. Our popular telehealth and home-visit options can be conducted exclusively from the comfort and privacy of your home. If you prefer to come into the office, we’re conveniently located in Pikesville, right off of Reisterstown Road.

What is medical weight loss? Can you explain what the process entails?

Medical weight loss plans are similar to other types of weight loss programs, but are supervised by a licensed healthcare professional and include a medical component to help increase effectiveness. At the initial consult, we do a comprehensive review of your medical history, including exploring previous weight loss attempts. Lab work ensures that the medication of choice is safe for you, and provides a baseline for gauging improvement of overall health. It can also identify underlying metabolic issues that can be addressed to encourage weight loss. The Shalva weight loss program is multi-faceted, and is designed to address the underlying causes of excess weight. We’ll discuss recommendations for changes in lifestyle habits, including nutritional goals and physical activity regimens. An individualized schedule will be implemented regarding frequency of follow-up visits. 

Which medications do you offer?

There are many weight loss medications available on the market, and we are happy to explore any option you might be interested in. There are exciting new developments in anti-obesity medications as more and more options continue to be released. Currently, the most popular medications are semaglutide and tirzepatide (commonly known by their brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro), which are administered as a once-weekly subcutaneous injection. Originally produced as a treatment for diabetes, they have proven to be highly effective for weight reduction. These medications are changing the face of weight loss and becoming increasingly popular for their health benefits.

Should people be nervous about using medical injections for weight loss?

While the idea of injectable medications may cause some apprehension, many people are surprised to find that administering them is actually painless and easy. Every medication carries some level of risk, but the benefits of these medications in reducing weight-related complications usually outweigh (no pun intended!) the likelihood of negative outcomes. 

Cost can also be a factor. Weight loss medication is not cheap, but we offer it at some of the lowest price points on the market. After you’ve achieved your weight loss goal, you have the option to continue with a maintenance plan that requires less medication and is more cost effective.

Do patients have to inject themselves, or do you do that for them?

We offer the option of in-office administration, self-administration, or administration at home by a provider. 

Besides for looking good and fitting into smaller sized clothing, what are the benefits of losing weight?

There are many benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. It helps prevents issues such as diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and others. A healthy lifestyle promotes higher energy levels, increased brain function, and overall disposition and wellbeing. Achieving optimal weight is not only about the numbers on the scale, but has very significant broader health implications. 

Do you offer any other services?

Yes! We offer same-day acute care appointments for the whole family. Our goal is to provide quick and competent service so that you can be seen for minor sicknesses when you need it, without having to spend hours in a waiting room. Our services include rapid and overnight strep, flu, covid, RSV, urine, and other tests. We also treat minor lacerations, ear infections, sinusitis, and other common ailments. ACCU Testing, a full-service lab, is located on site for sample collection and testing.

I find that patients are often frustrated with some aspects of conventional medicine. While progress in the medical field has proven to be invaluable, root causes of issues are not always addressed. Sometimes medication is prescribed to treat one symptom, but then requires more medication to treat its side effects. At Shalva Health, we plan to integrate a functional medicine approach to provide treatments that create long-term solutions. I’m personally fascinated by the field of functional fertility, and intend to incorporate it into the practice in the future. We also hope to expand our services to include hormone replacement therapy. There are so many ways to optimize health and reduce risk of disease by treating hormonal imbalances. 

If you are ready to invest in your health, please contact us!

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