27190 Sun City Blvd. Sun City, CA 92586
Appointments: (951) 723-3804
Fax: (951) 723-3806
Please Note** Appointments are subject for review and may be cancelled if the wrong appointment type is booked. Our staff will contact you if there are issues.
Our physicians are proud to pair with PA’s and NP’s. Together they’re able to work as a team to oversee your health by communicating and discussing action plans together. With care teams, there is better access for patients to see their providers in a timely manner, even same day. We believe care teams offer a more complete, elevated experience for our patients.
Dr. Irene Kim is a California native having grown up in the East Los Angeles area. She graduated from El Dorado High School going on to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in human biology at the University of California, San Diego. She continued her education at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York where she obtained her medical degree in osteopathic medicine. Having spent 4 years in New York and away from her family and friends, she moved back to Southern California to complete her residency training specializing in internal medicine at UCLA-affiliated St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California.
“My journey towards a career in medicine first began at an early age when I saw firsthand how my mom was afflicted with multiple health conditions and required frequent visits to her doctors. This provided me with the opportunity to take an active role in her well-being and learn about what conditions were affecting her health and how to manage them. Looking back, it was the compassion and diligence of her primary care physician that was inspiring and served as a guiding light for me to pursue my dream of being a physician.”
Outside of the office, Dr. Kim enjoys outdoor activities like exploring new hiking trails and traveling up the California coast. She also loves traveling to different countries to learn about their cultures and try different foods. If you’re interested in becoming a patient of Dr. Irene Kim’s, you can find her at our Sun City Office.
Charles attended the University of California, San Diego where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology. Charles is board certified and accredited by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. He received his Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, CA. Prior to PA school, Charles had experience as a caretaker for post-stroke patients, as an EMT, as a medical scribe, and as a volunteer for medical missions in the Philippines.
“Although I’ve experienced various specialties throughout my training, family medicine was always my true passion and top priority. The lasting, personal connections developed with my patients are what drive me each day to become better. I love that I can work together with my patients to help them live a healthier lifestyle and assist them with their needs to the best of my abilities. In terms of hobbies, I love photography, traveling, camping, hiking, cooking, and spending quality time with my loved ones.”
Want to take your health to the next level? Check out Well Within, an online educational library created to educate our patients and community on how to live a health-focused lifestyle. Learn new recipes, diets, exercises and more!
Dr. Irene Kim Intro Video
Hi I’m Dr. Irene Kim I currently work at the Sun City office for Rancho Family Medical Group I went to UC San Diego for my bachelor’s degree in which I got in human biology and then I went to Torocom up in New York to obtain my medical degree and in osteopathic medicine and then I came back here to Long Beach to do my residency and internal medicine and I did at St. Mary Medical Center which is also associated with UCLA so my approach to Medicine is you know looking at you as a whole person I try to take into considerations you know the environment that you’re in what’s going on and then your medical conditions and for me it’s really important to make sure that we work together as a team to really make sure that you’re living your healthiest and best life so I initially got into medicine I used to go to my mom’s doctor’s appointments she’s an immigrant here from Korea so her English was a little short so I would do all the Translating and helping out and trying to help her understand and there and that kind of helped me to understand medicine a little bit more and what the primary care doctor’s role is and what impact that makes so that really is what got me into medicine so outside of Clinic I love to travel whether it’s just to add a while here or San Diego or outside of the state hiking is my number one go-to thing that I love to do as a hobby so wherever it takes me is where I love to go I’m Dr Irene Kim and I would love to partner with your health
Dr. Irene Kim Intro with Dr. Susan Behnawa
Hello and welcome back we’re at Rancho Family Medical Group in Sun City I’m Dr. Benawa and I’m really excited today to be introducing you to our newest physician here in the Rancho Family this is Dr. Irene Kim and she will be joining us in clinic here in our Sun City location so we’re really excited to take a few minutes today to get to know her her philosophy of care and how she approaches the practice of medicine welcome to Rancho Family thank you so much Dr. Benawa we’re really excited to have you here I think our patients are excited to have Rancho in the community and they’re all really excited to meet you and hear a little bit about what you like to do and how you practice so tell me a little bit about yourself where are you from originally um so I pretty much grew up my whole life in Southern California I was born in LA moved to orange county when I was like in middle school so I did all my childhood mostly my childhood in LA Orange County and then I went to UCSD for undergrad and then New York for medical school so a little bit of traveling but then ultimately came back to Southern California and long beach to finish up residency so okay great um yeah so I didn’t realize that you were from UCSD for your undergrad that’s where I went as well really yeah it’s a really great campus I was in Revell College okay I was on Marshall so we’re like neighbors so great and then you did your residence you said in Long Beach and tell me a little bit about your specialization so you did internal medicine what does that mean yes so I did internal medicine which means I specialize in adults over the age of 18 and above um so it was at St. Mary’s Long Medical Center in Long Beach um basically saw like most of the population there and was trained in like that community so do you do mostly inpatient or outpatient medicine what’s your role um so it was a little bit of both we did definitely did a lot of inpatient especially during like the covet pandemic a lot of us were pulled back in to do hospital work um but there was also like a continuity clinic where I got to see like my own patients over the past three years so it was really great when you’re with Rancho with us will you be doing any inpatient or are you mostly going to be clinic mostly clinic but I definitely still want to do a little bit of inpatient just to you know keep it yeah exactly um so but mostly in our outpatient yeah that’ll be good so the nice thing about Rancho is even if your physicians are not actually seeing you in the hospital we have a dedicated hospitalist team and what they do is they keep in close contact with us so if we’re your primary they’ll reach out to us let us know if you’re admitted and what’s going on with your care so the outpatient is usually where we like to build relationships with our patients and really kind of make a difference in their lives what’s your general approach to how you like to practice medicine um well I truly believe in preventive medicine I think that’s so important to keeping up with your health and keeping you healthy um so you know whether it’s vaccinations or like colonoscopy or things like that I think those all those things are really important um so that’s kind of like my my focus of what I like to like focus on and like of course diet and exercise comes into play as well I think it’s really funny because we’ll talk about healthcare maintenance and our patients will be like well I don’t want to get a colonoscopy like nobody wants to get a colonoscopy but you know it’s about staying healthy versus waiting until you’re sick when you’re trying to practice that what do you do yourself to stay healthy when you’re not at work um so I’m I’ve always kind of been into sports um yeah so like since kindergarten through like high school I did swimming I did a little bit of water polo and now I just try to run so I’m like running jogging like outside just helps me with my stress and like restoring me so that’s kind of that’s what I do to like stay healthy yes and just kind of de-stress deconnect and then have that time for self-care I think so many of our our patients also end up being caregivers in some way or another they may have small children or aging parents and then I always kind of have to remind them you don’t ever really have the time to do these things you have to take the time for yourself yeah take care of yourself so you can take care of others right exactly I know that a big thing that a lot of our patients will tell me is you know I don’t want to go to medications right away what are your thoughts on that and how do you generally counsel your patients um I always believe that patients always know themselves the best they you know live with their own body since they were born so you know if they they feel like they can improve without medications I’m totally an advocate and I don’t believe that there’s you know you always have to take medications for something you can totally work on it to improve that and not take medications of course there is a point where sometimes that doesn’t work um but absolutely yeah it sounds like you keep a really open mind in your approach to your care philosophy and meeting your patients where they are yeah and sometimes it’s a compromise and you know I think that’s important every like doctor-patient relationship so yeah what’s something about you that would surprise me if I found out um are you on the spot here uh let’s see um well I don’t know I love to travel I did um so in college I actually did a year abroad um in Scotland yeah I was studying at the University of Edinburgh for my third year I was only supposed to stay a semester but I loved it so much over there it’s so different and so I came back at a different visa and went back for the rest of the year that’s incredible um yes I did that I went to Amman Jordan for a little bit a lot of like Asian countries and from my my family’s from South Korea’s have been there and like Thailand and Hong Kong and things like that so I love traveling when I can so I guess that’s something that yeah I did not know that so that was a surprise so that worked out well so it sounds like your heritage your family’s from South Korea yeah do you bring any of that into your practice of medicine um I think that sometimes South Korean’s or Asian culture in general sometimes there’s like um they take care of like the older generation and they’re very like protected yeah um and so I hope I can bring that to my clinic where I try to help you know take care of the older generation and families and things like that so I think it’s so important being family oriented as a physician because you really have to understand what’s happening in our patients home so that we can best support them and then a lot of our patients as they collect more birthdays which I kind of like to say you know there’s challenges and struggles that are inherent in that and so supporting our patients through healthy aging is really one of the forefront of things that we do here in our Sun City clinic so we’re really excited to have you come on board what’s something that you’re hoping to do as part of Rancho Family to kind of leave your mark and leave a legacy with your patients I don’t know I think just being there for my patients I think that a lot of times like health really impacts your life and um I think sometimes just the physician just to be there and the patient’s life I think that’s enough for me to leave my mark as in patients like every patient’s life you become part of the fabric of their being which is really nice yes exactly so you talk a lot about lifestyle approaches to health care and there’s so much different approaches to nutrition you know you hear about the keto diet versus the mediterranean versus whole food plant-based when you’re counseling your patients on strategies toward healthy eating what are some general recommendations that you typically make um so I would say first is processed foods is usually not the right answer if you try to at least cut back processed foods and go for more things that like were just from the farm I think that’s first a big step and I think for patients who want to lose weight I think it’s mostly about calories and like being at a calorie deficit but not only is that important but of course like including some exercise and things like that just to keep like your body metabolism going and um your health so yeah it’s hard because there there’s no one easy right answer yes and so I always tell my patients is that what works is what will work for you what’s sustainable for you and that you can do it long term you can’t have this diet mentality where you’re going to do x y and z for a couple weeks and then you’re done and yes exactly I think it has to be you know a fundamental lifestyle change in how you approach food and so you know whatever works for you is definitely important what are some things that you like to do in your practice where we’re talking about the middle of in a pandemic with stress reduction depression anxiety how do you help your patients move through periods where they have mental challenges in their life I think it’s all about support I think identifying the one person or the few people whether it’s your family or your friends your close friends for them to go through that with you I think there should be no person that goes through anything alone because that just makes it even harder and like more anxiety driven so I think especially during the pandemic is just all about like your family and friends support and identifying that person to go through that struggle with you right and I like the way that you said family and friends because sometimes family isn’t who you are necessarily born into it’s a family you create for yourself and especially in this day and age where people their loved ones may be far away distance wise you can have a community here at home for us in sun city we have our senior center and we have our classes which is really nice we’ll do things like zumba and strength once things start settling down we can do that again that can be really fun yeah so we’re excited for that thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us and share a little bit about yourself we’re so excited to have you here if you’re looking to establish with Dr. Irene Kim she’ll be seeing patients in our Sun City location with myself this is our home base and she’ll be starting in September 1st she’s really excited to get to meet you all I talk very very highly about our patients you’re all near and dear to our hearts so she’s going to be a great addition to our team and we’re really looking forward to it have a great rest of your day and stay safe and stay healthy
Dr. Kim Diabetes Discussion:
Hey everyone, we are back. And today we are with Dr. Irene Kim, she is an internist our Sun City location and today, we just really wanted to chat about diabetes. I know that is a huge topic of discussion. I bet tons of your patients come in and ask you questions about that. Oh yeah, all the time. Yeah. Um, so first of all, what is diabetes, for those people who are just starting out in their journey or have questions, what’s diabetes?
So diabetes is probably one of the most common mental health conditions especially nowadays. Now, keep in mind, there are two types of diabetes. So there’s something called type one diabetes, and this is where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, which is the hormone that kind of regulates the sugar level in your bloodstream and in your body. And this is usually auto immune. Which means it’s hereditary most of the time, and people get it when they’re younger. So a lot of people who are in the pediatric or even adolescent population can get type one diabetes, and this means that they need the insulin that is lacking from their body. Gotcha. But this is like kind of like a small portion of the whole diabetic population, a majority of diabetes is type two diabetes. And keep in mind, there are like little, there’s inbetweeners, we call it 1.5, and things like that, but it’s kind of like a mix of both, okay. But the majority of type is type two diabetes, which is essentially insulin resistance, which means your body so your body produces insulin to decrease the sugars in your body. So it brings the sugar into the cells from your and your so when I eat
a burrito, for example, my body then produces insulin that break down the sugars in my burrito.
Yeah, so there’s this organ called the pancreas and analyzing your stomach, and it produces something called insulin. So that acts on your cells in your body, like your muscle cells, your heart cells, your brain cells, and then it brings in the sugar that is required to produce energy in your body.
So type two diabetes is
so essentially, it’s an overload of sugar. So your body is always producing so much insulin that your body just becomes so resistant to it’s like, it becomes numb to the insulin. So over time, your body will all kind of decrease producing the insulin because it’s just like always so overloaded. Yeah. So that’s why a lot of times in type two diabetes, people end up on insulin, it’s because their body is not producing enough over time, okay, there’s not enough insulin to bring the sugar into the actual, like cells in the body.
And so that’s when you have to have insulin and actually give that to yourself. Oh, my goodness. I didn’t know that was because of a build up taller earlier.
It’s just the resistance. Wow. That’s fascinating. Yeah.
So how would you how would somebody get to the point of getting their body to be resistant to insulin.
So honestly, it’s a it’s mostly about what we eat. So all of the foods that we’re exposed to so like carbohydrates, fats, all these things, bread, pastas, rice, they get broken down into sugar, or even if you eat, just sugar itself is just sugar overload for your body. So then your body’s trying to produce all this insulin to bring it down. But when it just gets overloaded, and your body just kind of gets overwhelmed is when you kind of develop diabetes. So that’s why especially in the older, as you get older, your metabolism goes down, or maybe start gaining weight, or you’re not eating as healthy as you should be, your body goes through these changes, and then you may develop insulin or insulin resistant diabetes, right. And I know like there’s different macronutrients. So there’s protein, carbs, fats, and I know carbs aren’t necessarily the enemy. But when it comes to like, is it processed carbs, because I know there’s a difference between like pasta and an apple, right? They both have carbs, but
so you want to stick to complex carbs, which are like the fruits and the vegetables, and there’s carbs and almost anything that you eat. But then there’s this simple carbs, which are like the processed foods, like the pastas and the rice and the tortillas, things like that. So those get broken down. Yeah, those get broken down into sugars very readily. And so those are the ones that will increase your sugar spikes when you eat versus a complex one takes a it’s it’s complex. So it takes more time for your body to break it down. And so it’s a slower increase in your sugar levels, but that’s what you want to stick to.
And do you feel like you’ve seen more of a rise in type two diabetes recently? I feel like I don’t know talk about
um, yeah. Okay. So you know, that way back when you know we when used to grow your food, walk to walk around as your transportation diabetes wasn’t really prevalent. Because they were eating healthier, they had to hunt for their food and they had to exercise every day. Yeah. And then nowadays, we have grocery stores, we have cars, we have fast food, and it’s just our lifestyle is now more diabetes, like friendly. Like, we’re just creating a life where it’s just so easy to get diabetes, where you don’t
have to move, you can do that in your car drive somewhere, everything is at your fingertips. Yeah, drive thrus. And all
those foods are, you know, they’re, they’re horrible for your body in terms of they will increase your risk for diabetes. But now you put the pandemic there where you are stuck at home, and you can’t leave your home and you’re just very sedentary. And when anyone’s at home, they’re more prone to eating you know, everyone eats like double what they’re eating. And a lot of people feel depressed because they’re at home by themselves. And so they’ll eat like even worse food. So, yeah, the percentage of diabetes has just increased, especially after the pandemic, and you know, a lot of people have gained weight. Now, those are the habits that we’ve got past few years. Yeah. And it’s unfortunate, because yes, yeah, it’s just something that, you know, we would we had to a customers to for the pandemic, and it’s, it’s kind of Yeah, exactly.
So we talked about diabetes, we talked about how one would get diabetes, what I mean, what, what is the risk of diabetes? So say you have it, it’s a big deal, right? So what what happens in your body,
so the thing about diabetes is it affects almost every single organ in your body. So it’s, when it’s uncontrolled for a very long time, you’re at risk for kidney disease. And so and people have what we call neuropathy, which is like it affects your nerves. So your nerves become very irritated, and your legs are burning all the time. You can develop ulcers, effects your eyes, and then yeah. Okay, and then, most importantly, it increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes in the future, too. So that’s why, you know, once you do have diabetes, or even pre diabetes, you just want to always keep an eye out to make sure that you don’t develop these comorbidities in the future.
So I definitely do not want to have diabetes. If we’re prediabetes, we want to keep that in check. How would you know if you have diabetes? Or how would you go about having that first conversation? Sure.
So a lot of people, if they’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes, they can have diabetic symptoms, okay, where though, so for the most part, for type two diabetes, it’s people who are very fatigued, they’re very thirsty, and they drink a lot of water. And you can just think of this as your body is your bloodstream has so much sugar, it’s like molasses. So it’s just like, it’s it takes a lot more your to circulate through your body. So you’re not getting blood to your brain and the rest of your body like you should, so people feel very tired and your body overdrive is overdrive. Yeah. And then, you know, it’s the blood is so thick, it’s like you want to drink more water. Because, your body’s trying to dilute it out. So you become more thirsty. And then also the sugar, it changes what we call the osmolality in the in the bloodstream, which means like, it takes into account all the different cells and it’s, it’s higher osmolality because there’s, like so much sugar in that. So one way to kind of help that is people pee a lot, too. So those are the three most common symptoms that diabetics present with. And then to diagnose them, there’s a fasting sugar level, which is done by bloodwork and then an A one C level, which is also done by bloodwork. Gotcha.
And that’s when you would then monitor them through their diabetes journey. And yes, gotcha. Okay. Yeah. Well, that is a lot of information to take in. Honestly. If you did have any additional questions about diabetes, I know Dr. Kim is accepting new patients and suncity. And so you’d be more than happy to talk to people. Yeah, absolutely. More about Yeah. Good. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for being with us today. We’re so excited to have you. Until next time. Thanks so much. Thank you.
What is and Internist with Dr. Irene Kim:
Hello everyone. My name is Nichole, and I’m one of the Community Representatives here at Rancho Family Medical Group. And I’m here today with Dr. Irene Kim. And she’s going to share with us the role of an internist. So Dr. Kim, do you mind sharing with us a little bit of what you do as an internal medicine doctor? So as an internal medicine doctor, I mostly see patients in the clinic, and I deal with the multitude of chronic medical conditions that an adult may present with. So oftentimes, I’ll see patients with heart disease or hypertension, diabetes. And, you know, I work on preventing and diagnosing and treating those type of medical conditions. Got it, wonderful. And then what is the training that goes into being an internal medicine doctor, as opposed to maybe a family medicine doctor? So the training period is the same. It’s three years, so three years we spend as an internal medicine physician only treating adults. So this occurs in the inpatient and outpatient setting, we do
rotations through the different specializations in internal medicine, such as cardiology, pulmonology, Gi, things like that. But we only focus on adults. Now, like a family practitioner, or family physician, they also go through three years, but they also incorporate training to see pediatric patients as well as obstetrics. So they’re able to see like a broader range of patients, but for internal medicine, it’s just for the adults 18 And above. So you focus just on adult care, whereas a family medicine doctor will focus on all ranges of ages. Exactly, yes. And then your specialty is in maybe more of that, like preventative health, internal, like you were saying the specialization in those chronic diseases? Yeah, so it’s because it’s a more focused on adult medicine. We focus on disease prevention, which is also preventive care. So you know, that includes health care, maintenance, you know, comes to cancer screenings and prevention, making sure everyone is living their healthiest lives and trying to get each patient to there. So that’s, you know, incorporates a little bit of health promotion and preventive medicine and treating chronic medical conditions. I see, okay. And then what made you want to go into internal medicine specifically? So I initially wanted to do medicine because of my mom. She was my inspiration to me pursuing medicine and
just seeing, you know, her interactions with her primary care physician just inspired me as well. She, you know, oftentimes, a patient can have multiple specialists, like a cardiologist or a rheumatologist, but they always have a primary care physician and that primary care physician is so important to, you know, making sure that patient gets the proper care and making sure that patient lives their healthiest lives. So, for me, focusing on adults, such as my mom and making sure I know a little bit about every condition and adult realm of medical conditions is important to me. Okay, that’s great. That’s great to know. So, Dr. Kim, what is the benefit of seeing an internist specifically?
So either seeing a family practitioner or internist, that we can both see adults, but I would say an internist because we focus our training and our specialty on just adult medicine. A lot of times if patients have a lot of chronic medical conditions are very complex situations, we’d be able to take care of that patient very well. So. Okay, well, thank you so much for sharing with us a little bit about an internist and what internal medicine is. If you are looking to make an appointment with Dr. Kim, if you’re current Rancho Family patient, you can go ahead and make an appointment. But if you are looking to become a patient, we have community representatives who are more than happy to get you set up but we are looking forward to having Dr. Kim in our Sun City office
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