Did you know that women make approximately 80% of their family’s healthcare decisions, (2) yet 24% of women report not seeking routine medical care for themselves due to lack of time, limited access to childcare, or an inability to request time off work? (1) Considering that women are at increased risk of developing many chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers (e.g., breast, ovarian, cervical cancer), receiving routine care is essential to good health. (3)
As mothers, caregivers, partners, professionals, sisters, and more, women often face unique challenges when accessing healthcare services and may deprioritize their healthcare needs to first address the needs of others. The current global health crisis has also magnified the health disparities and biases afflicting women, especially black and indigenous women and people of color (BIPOC). This year’s National Women’s Health Week theme, “Ending the Epidemic and Elevating Women’s Health,” serves as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing routine care (e.g., pap smears, mammograms, physical exams, etc.) and highlights the significance of equal access to affordable, high-quality care to ensure healthy women, children, and communities. (4)
In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Fullscript has chosen to feature several practitioners in the integrative and functional medicine space who specialize in women’s health and well-being across the lifespan and are doing remarkable work to enhance women’s healthcare.
Dr. Robin Berzin, MD
Dr. Robin Berzin, MD is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Berzin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She has also trained in functional medicine with the Institute for Functional Medicine. In 2011, she co-founded the physician communication app Cureatr and currently advises numerous startups in healthcare and wellness. Dr. Berzin founded Parsley Health in order to make whole-body, transformative medicine accessible to women and families through better services and smart technology. In 2020, Robin was included in Inc’s list of 100 Most Innovative Women in Business, and Parsley Health has been recognized by FastCompany as a Most Innovative Company. Parsley is now the largest holistic medical service in the United States.
Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN
Dr. Holly Lucille is a nationally recognized licensed naturopathic doctor currently practicing in Los Angeles. A dedicated educator and expert in the field of integrative medicine, she is a consultant, author, and media figure. She is the author of several books, including Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman’s Guide to Safe, Natural Hormone Health and The Healing Power of Trauma Comfrey. Dr. Lucille also serves as a Senior Medical Advisor at Fullscript and has a podcast called “Mindful Medicine” on Radio MD.
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MD
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog’s exploration of natural medicine began more than 35 years ago as she forged her path to becoming an internationally recognized expert and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, particularly in the area of women’s health. She was previously appointed by President Bill Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and has served as the Chair of the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) Dietary Supplements Admission Evaluation Committee from 2010–2020. An invited speaker to more than 550 scientific and medical conferences, Dr. Low Dog has published 54 peer-reviewed articles, written 24 chapters for medical textbooks, and has authored five books including Fortify Your Life, Healthy at Home, and Life is Your Best Medicine.
Learn more about Dr. Tieraona Low Dog on her website.
Dr. Jolene Brighten
Dr. Jolene Brighten is a prominent leader in women’s medicine and the emerging science of post-birth control syndrome — studying the effects of hormonal birth control on female health. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. Dr. Brighten is also part of the MindBodyGreen collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, HuffPost, Bustle, The Guardian, and ABC News.
Dr. Afrouz Demeri, ND
Dr. Afrouz Demeri is a practicing licensed, board-certified Naturopathic Medical Doctor and Director of Functional Medicine at the University of California Irvine. With her unique mix of Eastern traditional medicine and Western science, Dr. Demeri is committed to getting to the root of women’s health concerns. Her mission is to empower and educate women across the globe, provide resources and support to couples trying to conceive, optimize the mind, body, and soul before and after conception, and make a lifelong impact through healing.
Learn more about Dr. Afrouz Demeri on her website.
Dr. Aviva Romm, MD
Aviva Romm, MD is both a midwife and a Yale-trained MD and Board Certified Family Physician with specialties in Integrative gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics, and a focus on women’s endocrinology. She’s also a world-renown herbalist and author of the textbook Botanical Medicines for Women’s Health, as well as seven other books, including The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. Her newest book, Hormone Intelligence, explores the impact of the world we live in on women’s hormones and health and provides a new medicine for women that is holistic and natural, while also grounded in the best that science and medicine have to offer.
A practitioner, teacher, activist, and advocate of environmental health and women’s reproductive rights and health, she has been bridging the best of traditional medicine, total health ecology, and good science for over three decades. Her podcast, articles, books, and online programs are wildly popular and successful, helping women take back their health. She practices medicine in both New York and Massachusetts and lives in the Berkshires of Western, MA.
Learn more about Dr. Aviva Romm on her website.
Kaely McDevitt, RD
Kaely McDevitt is a Registered Dietitian specializing in women’s health. Inside her virtual private practice, Kaely and her team help their clients overcome hormone and digestive issues through personalized nutrition. Having navigated her own hormone health issues and learning the value of a functional approach to nutrition firsthand, she is deeply passionate about helping women take the driver’s seat of their health and well-being.
In addition to her 1:1 work with clients, Kaely is also the co-creator of the online women’s health course and community, Her Hormones Academy, which aims to make women’s health information available to all women. Furthermore, Kaely runs a practitioner training program, Leveraging Labs, where she helps other practitioners learn how to expertly implement functional lab testing in practice.
You can read more about Kaely’s work on her website.
Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, DO
Jaclyn Tolentino, DO is a Board Certified Family Physician and an integrative and functional medicine practitioner specializing in hormone health. She has received extensive training through the Institute for Functional Medicine and additional training in integrative oncology. A frequent contributor to publications including Well+Good, CNET, and Bustle, Dr. Tolentino has also been featured in Vogue, Headspace, and The Output by Peloton. She brings a comprehensive, whole-body approach to working with Florida and California-based patients as a Senior Doctor of the Virtual Team at Parsley Health.
As a trained Family Physician, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and breast cancer survivor, Dr. Tolentino has always been a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment through education. She is a frequent panelist at local and national events (primarily in the virtual space this past year) highlighting topics such as hormonal health, fertility, and cultivating physical and emotional resiliency on the road to true wellness. Dr. Tolentino has also collaborated with a wide range of organizations and wellness-focused brands, including Mira Fertility, Erno Laszlo, Robyn, the Due Influence, the Creative WMN Business Collective, and Headspace.
In addition to her contributions to Parsley Health’s own, award-winning digital library platform, she will also be an upcoming speaker at the 2021 Young Survival Coalition’s National Convention, where she will be speaking on the role of integrative medicine in cancer treatment and recovery.
Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD
Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD, is an integrative registered dietitian who runs The Hormone Dietitian LLC, a virtual private practice specializing in women’s health and hormone issues, including PCOS and fertility. She uses a functional medicine, food-first approach that combines holistic lifestyle changes with evidence-based medicine.
Melissa is a second-career dietitian, having worked as a copywriter and editor in medical advertising in New York City for 15 years before going back to school for nutrition. She has a BA in English and Dance from Hofstra University and completed her BS in Nutrition/Dietetics and Dietetic Internship at the University of New Hampshire.
In 2019, Melissa was awarded the Emerging Women’s Health Dietitian of 2019 by the Women’s Health DPG and an UpwaRD Award from FoodMinds.
She writes and contributes to several food and nutrition blogs and is the author of the book, A Balanced Approach to PCOS. She previously served on the DIFM Leadership Team as Social Media Chair (2018-2020) and on the New Hampshire state board as Professional Development Chair (2018-2020). She is currently Chair-Elect for DIFM.
Read more about Melissa’s virtual practice on her website.
Dr. Kelly Lupo, ND
Dr. Kelly Lupo is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and owner of Scottsdale Premier Wellness, located in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. She obtained her medical degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in Tempe, AZ. Prior to medical school, she graduated from SUNY Binghamton University with a BS in Integrative Neuroscience.
Dr. Lupo has a passion for educating and empowering individuals to take back their health. She specializes in women’s health, hormone optimization, non-opioid pain management, and IV therapy. She currently sees patients in-office and virtually.
Dr. Lupo has utilized her social media platforms to inspire others to kickstart their health journeys. With over half a million followers on TikTok and tens of thousands on Instagram, she is able to educate individuals across the globe on various hormone and reproductive health topics. She has also been recognized in Voyage Phoenix and Shoutout Arizona magazines as a leader in women’s health and a local, inspiring story as a small business and practice owner.
Dani Rhoades, NC
After going through her own journey of chronic illness and finding that nutrition was the only way of dealing with the underlying root cause, Dani Rhoades became extremely passionate about helping others. Dani graduated from Bauman College with honors and received my certificate as a Nutrition Consultant in 2012. When she opened her private practice in 2013, she knew she wanted her focus to be on preventative care with children. Dani began studying under everyone that she could in the functional and integrative medicine space, including the Weston A Price foundation, GAP’s Protocol by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, Body Ecology, OAT’s Workshops by Great Plains, and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
While running her own practice she had the incredible privilege of working at an integrative pediatrics office for five years, where she saw firsthand the tremendous health issues our children are facing, as well as those faced by the women who are carrying, birthing, nursing, and raising them. Over the years, Dani has worked with countless patients suffering from chronic digestion issues, autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, PCOS or unexplained infertility, specific pregnancy and postpartum concerns, and infant and pediatric concerns.
Dani Rhoades co-founded Happy Healthy Littles (HHL) with her incredible business partner and dear friend Whitney Eves. Together they’ve created an online teaching platform for women and children, which offers online nutrition packages for every stage of mom and baby’s life. Dani and Whitney recently published their new Well Woman and Littles Packages, which address nutritional care for the hormonal changes experienced as women age gracefully and provide helpful information and tools for raising healthy littles ages three and up.
Dr. BreAnna Guan, ND
Dr. BreAnna Guan is a licensed naturopathic physician specializing in natural fertility. Her healing journey began after going off the pill and losing her menstrual cycle for six years. She now helps women transform their hormone and fertility challenges into a life-changing and empowering journey. Through her virtual consulting practice, she has helped hundreds of women naturally transform their health, hormones, and fertility.
Dr. Guan participated in NIH-funded research at Bastyr University, where she received her doctorate degree and the prestigious Founder’s Day Award for exceptional service to her community. She is a past president of the Indiana Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and she has served as a medical consultant for hormone-testing companies, a well-known fertility software app, and a botanical supplement company.
Her writings have been featured in Better Nutrition, and she has been a guest speaker with the Let’s Get Checked podcast. Dr. Guan lives in Washington State with her husband and three children.
Learn more about Dr. BreAnna Guan on her website.
Dr. Elana Roumell, ND
Dr. Elana Roumell is a pediatric naturopathic doctor and creator of Med School for Moms, an online program where she teaches moms how to safely be a “Doctor Mom!” Her guidebooks and programs help moms feel calm, competent, and confident when their child gets sick and ultimately help parents feel empowered with their family’s healthcare decisions. She recently launched a Vaccine Empowerment Program that has helped over 100 families just in the last three months feel better educated and empowered about vaccine choices. Dr. Elana is also a co-host of the popular “Doctor Mom” Podcast, with over one million downloads, and the founder of Nourish Medical Center in San Diego, California.
To learn more about Dr. Elana, follow her on Instagram @DrElanaRoumell and at @medschoolformoms.
Dr. Anna Cabeca, OB/GYN
Dr. Anna Cabeca, known as The Girlfriend Doctor, is a triple-board certified, Emory University-trained OB/GYN. She speaks from experience. She has risen from her own ashes of personal tragedy that spiraled into depression from not one but two rounds of menopause, weight gain, hair loss, and many other debilitating symptoms. Her journey led her around the world to learn about true health and natural healing. Dr. Anna came away empowered with the knowledge that modern medical training and research, combined with time-tested wisdom and remedies, will yield indisputable results.
Dr. Anna is the host of “The Girlfriend Doctor” podcast and is an author of two best-selling books, The Hormone Fix, a groundbreaking holistic lifestyle program for menopausal women, and Keto-Green 16, a comprehensive nutritional plan to staying healthy and slim at any age. She has also spent years developing and perfecting a complete suite of life-changing products and programs. Everything Dr. Anna develops is part of her own daily routine and based on her exhaustive research and never-ending quest to find solutions that help women reclaim their vibrancy, sexuality, health, and happiness.
Esther Blum, MS, RD, CDN, CNS
Esther Blum is an integrative dietitian and high-performance coach. She has helped thousands of women permanently lose weight, eliminate the need for medication, lose stubborn belly fat, and reverse chronic illness. Esther teaches her clients how to get clear and decisive about what to eat while healing their relationship with food and their bodies.
Esther is the bestselling author of Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, Eat, Drink, Be Gorgeous, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project. She currently maintains a busy virtual practice where she provides 360 degrees of healing with physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual support. Esther believes that diet and supplements are the foundation to healing, but treating the whole person is paramount.
Widely respected as an industry expert, Esther was voted Best Nutritionist by Manhattan Magazine. She has appeared on Dr. Oz, the Today Show, A Healthy You with Carol Alt, the ISAAC show, ABC-TV, FOX- 5’s Good Day NY, and Fox News Live. Esther is an in-demand authority frequently quoted in E! Online, In Touch, Time Magazine, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, In Style, Bazaar, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire, and Cosmo.
Esther received a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Simmons College in Boston and is a graduate of New York University, where she received her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition. Esther is credentialed as a registered dietitian, a certified dietitian-nutritionist, and a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS). She is also a member of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, Nutritionists in Complementary Care, and the Connecticut Dietetic Association.
Lily Nichols, RDN
Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the co-founder of the Women’s Health Nutrition Academy, which offers professional-level education to clinicians and the author of two best-selling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. Real Food for Pregnancy has been an Amazon #1 bestseller for three years and is the bestselling prenatal nutrition book on the market. Additionally, Real Food for Pregnancy is the course textbook for the prenatal nutrition course in Bastyr’s midwifery program and required reading at numerous schools, including the Midwives College of Utah.
Lily’s work has also influenced international nutrition policy. In 2016, the Czech Republic updated its national gestational diabetes nutrition guidelines based on the information in Lily’s first book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.
You can find her work on her website and on Instagram @lilynicholsrdn.
Dr. Michelle Sands, ND
Dr. Michelle Sands is a #1 international best-selling author, licensed Naturopathic Physician, and highly sought-after female hormone and epigenetics expert. Her book and programs have been featured on ABC, CBS, Outside Magazine, The Boston Herald, NBC, and Fox News, USA Today. She is also a board-certified holistic nutritionist and a certified personal trainer and endurance athlete.
She is passionate about helping women harness the power of nature so they can work with their unique genetics and live vibrantly, not only by optimizing their health physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Her goal for all women is for them to love their bodies and enjoy their lives. She uses cutting-edge science, holistic lifestyle medicine, natural supplementation, epigenetic coaching, and Eastern philosophies to restore health and increase vital energy in every woman she works with.
Ashleigh Norris, CNP, NNCP
Ashleigh Norris is a certified holistic nutritionist and honors graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Canada. She is also a standing member of The Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Practitioners. Ashleigh decided to become a certified holistic nutritionist to help and empower others struggling with women’s health concerns, including hormonal imbalances and conditions such as PMS, thyroid disease, PCOS, infertility, endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, and more. Ashleigh offers one-on-one support, a group hormone healing program, and an e-course designed to help women mend their menstrual cycle.
Learn more about Ashleigh Norris on her website.
The bottom line
No matter the stage of life, women have specific health needs that require routine care and special attention. The practitioners featured in this article specialize in addressing women’s health concerns though an integrative approach and have established themselves as outstanding leaders in women’s health.
- KFF. (2018). Women’s coverage, access, and affordability: Key findings from the 2017 Kaiser women’s health survey. https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/womens-coverage-access-and-affordability-key-findings-from-the-2017-kaiser-womens-health-survey/
- Matoff-Stepp, S., Applebaum, B., Pooler, J., & Kavanagh, E. (2014). Women as health care Decision-Makers: Implications for health care coverage in the United States. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 25(4), 1507–1513.
- National Conference for State Legislatures. (2019). Women’s chronic disease. https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/women-s-chronic-conditions.aspx
- Office on Women’s Health. (2021). About National Women’s Health Week. https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/about