In a place where businesses come and go, and even common household names seem apt to vanish without warning, it is refreshing to know that some companies are true entrepreneurial success stories and are reaching the milestones to prove it. In August of 1969, James P. Himmelwright, M.D. opened the area’s first internal medicine practice with three employees in a small office in the Medical Arts complex in Opelika, Alabama. He was soon joined by Dr. Richard Herring of Lafayette and by 1981 incorporated the business as Internal Medicine Associates, P.C. (IMA) with six physicians.
In the late 1980’s, the group remodeled and made additions to the two buildings they occupied to create the 30,000 square foot complex that is now utilized. Under Dr. Himmelwright’s leadership and subsequent presidents Richard Herring, M.D. and Michael Gunter, M.D., the company has grown into the large operation that it is today, seeing hundreds of patients each week and touching the lives of over 20,000 patients per year.
IMA was founded on the specialty of internal medicine, but through the years has provided sub-specialties such as gastroenterology, cardiology, oncology, pulmonology, infectious disease, nephrology, allergy and immunology and behavioral medicine. Many physicians and even specialties found their start at IMA, including the area’s first internist (Dr. Himmelwright), cardiologist, oncologist and pulmonologist. Most recently, IMA initiated the area’s first hospitalist service in 2006 and became the sole provider of hospitalist services to East Alabama Medical Center in 2008. Today, our physicians and mid-level providers offer care to IMA patients in the areas of internal medicine, gastroenterology, pulmonology, diabetic counseling and footcare, behavioral medicine and hospitalist medicine. The office houses an independent laboratory and also provides in-house ancillary services including x-ray and bone density scans.
Since the beginning, it has been the sincere desire of all IMA physicians and administrative staff to provide our patients with the finest medical care available. We believe the best patient/doctor relationships are based on mutual regard and understanding and we endeavor to offer our highest level of professional performance at all times. We welcome your suggestions and comments.
To learn more about doctors of internal medicine and subspecialists, please visit the Internal Medicine page on the American College of Physicians website.