Jessica Urzen - Director
I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina in a little cabin in the woods. I lived about a half an hour outside of Asheville, which was just close enough for me to soak up some of its "alternative" influence!
I chose Osteopathic medicine because I wanted to know how to diagnose and heal through touch. I've acted as president of the Integrative Medicine Club and as an officer in the Student American Academy of Osteopathy. I love the possibilities and the untapped resources that exist within the complementary and alternative medical field. However, I am skeptical of all medicine, conventional and alternative. My goal is to clearly explain every treatment I provide to my patients and then back it up with science.
But at the end of the day, all I really want to be is a homesteader on an isolated mountain farm where my husband and I can grow our own food, read lots of good books, and enjoy life. Happiness is my reason for living. Learning, laughing, dancing, cuddling, and feeling healthy make me happy, so I intend to dedicate my life to doing more of those things. I love how HEART is focused on helping us stay sane, healthy, and happy despite being part of the ironically unhealthy medical field. I am so excited to be part of that mission!
Stephanie Yarnell – Student Selection
I herald from the great city of Atlanta, Georgia where I spent most of my formative years. I spent most of my younger years outside picking up hobbies such as rock climbing, hiking, camping, scuba diving, and swimming, as well as growing a deep appreciation for the earth and mother-nature. Avoiding sounding like a line from the Lion King, I grew to appreciate the interdependence of all aspects of life including the micro- and macro systems. In keeping with this, I went on to attend the University of Georgia majoring in life, little life, and overall systems of life and how everything is interconnected (better known as Biology, Microbiology, and Ecology). During this time I was fortunate enough to be involved in numerous conservation projects including a project in the rainforests of Central America. Being in the woods, quite literally all the time, prompted me to look into shamanistic medicine and natural alternatives, such as herbs, to help with common ailments. This line of thinking opened pandora’s box and it was not long before I started taking yoga classes, meditating, and seeking more information in any place I could find it.
This natural curiosity lead me to become a member of the MD-PhD program at the University of Florida where I participated in a research project in microbiology largely based in environmental health with aspects of public health, epidemiology, genetics, veterinary medicine, and aquatic health. With reinvigorated interest for medicine, I started back into third year of medical school with an open mind as to potential avenues for my unique interest sets. As a current fourth year medical student, I have declared psychiatry as my intended field with hopes of becoming involved in academic medicine and research, as well as clinical care.
Outside of medicine, I am artsy at heart, enjoying singing, dancing, acting, and painting. Passions include travel, conservation, and experiencing new cultures. In my spare time, I am attempting to learn to cook more well-balanced, locally grown, organic, vegetarian meals, reading Asian philosophy, watching documentaries, making my way through the list of most influential movies of all time, and, of course, getting to know all of our applicants through my role as student selection planner.
Alejandra Fuentes – Curriculum
I moved to South Florida from Venezuela as a teenager. In my homeland, I lived in a culture that embraced alternative medicine, and also observed the frustrations of an area short of physicians.
I taught high school in Miami for two years and fell in love with academics. I am currently a senior at the University of Florida College of Medicine, where I have enjoyed spending most of my extracurricular time as a participant and co-leader of an annual medical outreach trip to Ecuador, focusing mostly on public health as a more long-lasting means to aid in the delivery of primary care to these impoverished areas. I am planning to pursue a career in internal medicine with an interest in critical care, where I love the constant challenge to self-reflect, be grounded, and seek a spiritual connection.
In my free time I love the endorphin high from a good long-distance run, the inherent bond with nature and sense of adventure that photography brings me, and learning from people and different cultures by an ever-growing desire to travel. I am looking forward to learning more about integrative medicine and reflective practice alongside fellow HEARTies.
Joy Zheng – PR
I am a small girl, born in a mid-sized town of 1 million people in China, and I have biggish dreams of curing the world, one person at a time.
After moving to America at nine, I amply explored the southern states as my family moved from California to Texas to Florida. I then braved a move north to Massachusetts myself for college. My family’s sense of restlessness was contagious as I continued to explore the world and studied abroad in Oxford, Venice, and Peking. Through my travels, I saw and experienced what a difference medicine makes in everyone’s world, and how grateful people are. I wanted that feeling to be forever a part of my life, and thus I settled into medical school.
I try to never let the grind of medical school define my life and spend plenty of my not so free times baking, painting, dancing, yoga, and shooting photos. I am horrible at swimming, singing, and skating, but that never stopped me from trying.
I am more than thrilled to spend next April in California where my adventure started oh so long ago and conquer new territories in integrative medicine and in self-reflection with everyone at HEART!
David Stuckey - Finance
I am a perpetually curious, progressively-minded, humor-loving, spiritually-oriented man who feels called to a still-forming ideal of service. I possess a deep and abiding sense of trust in the understanding that with such a guiding intention and the diligence to pursue it with hard work and a sense of humility, the details of where and how I realize this undertaking will mostly sort themselves out. I am totally clear at this point, however, that it somehow involves the ongoing exploration of the hands-on work of Osteopathy, which I simply adore! Lately I have grown into what it means to truly know myself and build meaningful relationships from within a grounded base that I actively cultivate through self-awareness practices like yoga, percussion, contact improvisation, and meditation. I can also be really wordy (though in an essential way). And in the most immediate sense I just feel psyched to finally make it through to the end of this monumental process of becoming a doctor and to cap it all off by spending a month in the redwoods with wonderful people learning about cool stuff.
Wendy Kohatsu, MD
Wendy, a graduate of the inaugural class of Fellows from the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, is a family medicine faculty member at Oregon Health Science University. Dr. Kohatsu is certified in shiatsu massage, a clinical researcher and lecturer locally and nationally, with the goal of promoting integrative medicine in the academic environment. She has worked to increase utilization of integrative medicine in underserved populations, and is the editor of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Secrets, (June 2002) and co-author of chapters on the History of CAM in the US, Nutrition, Supplements, Low Back Pain, and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Kohatsu will assist in HEART faculty selection and serve as lecturer.
Bill Manahan, MD
Bill is assistant professor of the Center for Spirituality and Healing and of Family Practice and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center in Minneapolis. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Holistic Medicine as well as the board of directors for the Northwestern School of Homeopathy. He is on the editorial board for Alternative Therapies in Health Journal, Integrative Medicine Access, and Integrative Medicine Consult Newsletter. He has published numerous articles on the scientific evidence regarding the use of complementary and alternative modalities as well as community based health care in light of managed health care. He has served as the program director of the MN Rural Family practice Residency program and has served on numerous boards, councils, and coalitions for community based programs addressing drug use, education, and reaching the underserved. He currently is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association's Board of Trustees. Dr. Manahan will be a faculty advisor and a guest lecturer on integrative medicine in practice.
Nina is the Director of the Medical Humanities program at the University of Florida College of Medicine where she teaches a variety of electives and courses in narrative medicine, media and medicine, environmental health, history of medicine and international health issues, and creative expression. She runs the Thomas Maren Medical Student Reading Room and facilitates the development of projects and programs that reflect medical student interests and passions. She also is creating a Medical History Center at the University of Florida. She will serve as advisor and lecturer for the HEART elective.