About the Medical Providers

Carey McNamara PA-C

Carey graduated Cum Laude from Furman University in 1997 and then went on to train at the Medical University of South Carolina where she received her degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2000. Carey has remained board certified by the NCCPA ever since.

Since graduating from the Medical University, Carey practiced family medicine for nearly 20 years at one location. When she was introduced to advanced biomarker testing over a decade ago, she realized these tests could help uncover hidden risk factors for heart disease in her patients, helping her better target therapies to prevent (and even reverse) cardiovascular disease. Since heart disease kills more men and women in our nation than any other illness (including cancer), Carey saw the value in implementing these tools with her patients. However, these cutting edge tests were not widely used among other medical providers, so Carey actively sought out opportunities to learn more. She traveled to different states to precept under leading experts already adept at using these tools, and studied under nationally known physicians for cardiovascular risk reduction. Carey also took courses that would expand her knowledge in this field. For example, the masters level lipidology course offered by the National Lipid Association and the BaleDoneen preceptorship course, an advanced model of cardiovascular prevention and treatment that is so effective the founders of this method offer a “money back guarantee” to anyone who has a heart attack or stroke while under their care.

Carey McNamara PA-C

Carey implemented advanced testing (consistent with the BaleDoneen method) with her patients, and eventually helped transform the family practice where she worked by expanding the cardiovascular portion of it. Practicing medicine with advanced biomarkers has now become Carey’s passion and niche in medicine, and essential tools in her fight against heart disease. Carey later helped to establish other advanced in-office tests (CIMT and CPET) that could follow a patient’s progression or regression of vascular disease over time. These tests can detect disease even at the microvascular level, before any other stress test or ultrasound can identify abnormalities . . . so they are vital tools for early detection of hidden cardiovascular risk.

Carey has now been using these advanced tests and treatments with her patients for over a decade. As a result, two different advanced cardiovascular lab companies hired Carey as a speaker, sending her to medical offices and conferences to help educate other doctors and midlevel providers on how to best utilize this testing with their patients.

In an effort to reach more people, Carey left the thriving practice where she worked almost 20 years so she could use her expertise to make an even bigger difference. Heart disease is our biggest medical threat, so Carey felt it was imperative to expand education and access to this type of medical care. Since Carey is philosophically aligned with the functional medicine movement, believing in the importance of identifying root causes of chronic disease, she wanted to form an integrative family practice that combined holistic and traditional medicine, while also using advanced testing to help eradicate heart disease. Carey has since undergone training by The Institute For Functional Medicine and loves to implement the tools she learned there to help her patients fully thrive.

Carey is passionate about preventing disease, personalizing treatment, and motivating her patients to improve their health. She believes in meeting people where they are in their health journey, and prescribes both lifestyle and medical interventions to help them attain the best results. 

Tara Hughes, PA-C

Tara was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She graduated Cum Laude from College of Charleston in 1994 and worked in clinical research at the Medical University of South Carolina, receiving her degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2001. She is certified by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants and has been a long-standing member of the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants.

Tara has been practicing medicine for over 20 years and has a wide array of experience in multiple specialties: emergency medicine, urgent care, pediatrics, rehabilitative medicine, long-term care, family medicine, and internal medicine with a focus on geriatric care. Tara is an extremely competent and compassionate medical provider, to which her fiercely loyal patients will attest. She always comes to work ready to give 100% and is known for often going above and beyond as an advocate for her patients. Tara loves encouraging and empowering her patients with the tools they need in their journey to optimal health and wellness.

Tara Hughes, PA-C

Tara has received in-person training by Dr. Brad Bale and Amy Doneen, leaders in early cardiovascular disease detection and disease reversal, and whose methods have been proven highly effective at preventing heart attacks and strokes. As a result, Tara has been utilizing advanced biomarker testing for many years now and is adept at implementing these tools to help target hidden risk factors and customizing a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s unique needs.

Tara has also undergone training by the Institute for Functional Medicine. She believes in targeting the underlying cause of illness instead of just masking symptoms with medication. Tara loves to educate her patients on diet and lifestyle changes in addition to tailoring each patient’s supplementation so they can truly thrive. She is constantly expanding her knowledge through additional training and incorporating new therapies as she learns with her patients.

Tara and Carey previously worked together for five years but they have continued to train together. They practice with the same mindset and approach to patient care, making them a formidable team. They are both thrilled to have the opportunity to practice together again at Whole Heart Family Medicine.

Dr. Cici Carter

Dr. Cici Carter completed the majority of her schooling in central New York, receiving her Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training and her Master’s degree in Exercise Science from State University of New York (SUNY) College at Cortland, and her medical degree from SUNY Upstate College of Medicine. She moved to Charleston to attend the family medicine residency program at MUSC, which she completed in 2017.

Dr. Carter is board-certified in family medicine and worked several years as a primary care physician before she discovered her true passion, functional medicine. She pursued training under both the Kalish Institute of Functional Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), having completed all advanced practice modules required for certification with IFM, and in 2021, decided to open her own virtual functional medicine practice, FreshMed. Through this practice, Dr. Carter offers a more holistic approach in her medical care, optimizing nutrition, stress management, sleep, exercise, and dietary supplements as a core foundation of treatment.

Dr Cici Carter

Dr. Carter is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine, American Association of Family Physicians, Holistic Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, Institute for Functional Medicine, and the Kalish Institute of Functional Medicine.

You can follow Dr. Carter on Instagram @freshmedsc and visit her Facebook page FreshMed SC for more details and content.