Today we’d like to introduce you to Gilbert Simoni.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Gilbert. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a refugee from Iran who escaped the persecution of minorities in that country when I was 15 (and without my parents). I lived in several countries before gaining permission to enter the United States. I almost died due to illness and was essentially brought back to life by a physician and his wife (also refugees). Once in US, I went through high school for a couple of years then a 4-year university all the while working and supporting myself and hoping to become a physician and help people just like the doctor who saved my life. I went to medical school abroad as at the time I was applying for med-schools in US, one of the major selection criteria was having had volunteer experience. Since I had to always work and support myself, I had no volunteer experience and hence was given the run-around. I must mention that I met my wife (a nurse) during this time and got married during the second year of med-school. Being from Los Angeles area, I tried to do majority of my clinical experience at UCLA and Cedar Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) in order to be close to my family.
While at CSMC, I became interested in gastroenterology. Fast-forward to after finishing medical school, I ended up in NJ for internal medicine residency and then got accepted into GI fellowship (a very difficult fellowship to get into). Once completing my fellowship, I came back to California, joining a large multispecialty group, but due to having limited opportunity for growth, I ventured out on my own within a year. Initially, I shared an office with an older GI who was near his retirement age and then opened my own office a year later. I have grown from a tiny 900 square-foot office with 2 employees to a large 2700sf office with 5 employees and equipped with a full endoscopy suite that can offer almost every service in gastroenterology (compared to a large tertiary care center like UCLA or CSMC) in a personalized and patient-centric way. My moto has always been to treat patients as I would like my own family to be treated. I must mention that thing have not been easy for me to get to this point, and there has been many challenges which I will explain in the next section.
Has it been a smooth road?
It’s not been a very smooth road. I have had numerous challenges in almost every step of the way. First, it was a major hurdle just to get to US. Then I had to support myself throughout high school and college. Subsequently, had to leave the country to go to a medical school, and then get back into the US medical training system. During medical school, I experience a volcanic eruption (in island of Montserrat), then got hit with a hurricane. Next, while in NJ, I witnessed the 911 and had to deal with the aftermath (both physically and mentally).
After all of that, getting into practice or medicine has also been anything but easy. Dealing with regulations, politics of medicine, and paradigm shift in the health insurances in the past few years is sufficient to make any head spin.
One of the major threats to providing private and individualized healthcare (and hence forcing patients to be pushed into an institutionalized type of medicine) has been large medical centers gobbling up private practices and forcing them out of business.
Dealing with all the tricks and challenges of each insurance company has been yet another struggle that I deal with on daily basis. In most cases, my staff and I, have to fight for patients and try to get the insurance companies to cover what patients need in order for patients to receive appropriate care.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Advanced Gastroenterology – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
As the name of my business indicates, I provide the latest and most advanced care in the field of gastroenterology (AKA digestive health).
My main job in the grand-scheme of things is to prevent digestive complications and cancers (such as colon cancer and esophageal cancer). Since the beginning of my practice in the area, I have brought the latest technology to the community. For instance, I was the first GI in the area to offer endoscopic hemorrhoidal treatment, first to provide wireless capsule endoscopy, first to perform BRAVO pH and impedance studies (in evaluation of heartburn), and the first gastroenterologist (west of Mississippi) to perform the latest non-invasive procedure for heartburn called TIF (Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication).
Aside from advanced and cutting edge diagnostic and treatment modalities, I am proud of having the friendliest, warmest, and one-stop-shop GI practice that I know of. I have had some of the highest accolades from patients and continue to have referrals from word of mouth.
Lastly, I have been involved with organized medicine, as I have been involved with creation of Choice Health Associates (a network of private and quality physicians in Ventura County), the CMA (California Medical Association), and currently serve on the board of Ventura County Medical Association as well as board of one of the first 100% physician owned ACO (Accountable Care Organization) in California.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love LA and surrounding are for so many reasons, but here are some: access to many venues within driving distance (from Skiing in Big Bear to Surfing in the Pacific Ocean), melting pot of many cultures and ethnicities, some of the best restaurants in the world, best weather, family, hub to many international destinations, awesome biking and hiking trails, just to name a few.
What I least like is the traffic (hands down) and the fact that California as a whole is the most liberal state, otherwise, I cannot think of many other factors that I dislike.
- Address: Advanced Gastroenterology, Inc
555 Marin Street
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
- Website: www.agimedical.com
- Phone: 8057190244
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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