Dr. Sarah Schindler, ND, MS, IFMCP, LMT-Medical Director
Doctorate, University of Bridgeport, School of Naturopathic Medicine
Master's of Science in Nutrition-University of Bridgeport
Northeastern University, Boston, MA - Bachelor's of Science in Healthcare management
The Institute for Functional Medicine
Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Newington, CT
I completed my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport and went on to receive post-doctoral training in Functional Medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine and have also completed a Master'd degree in Nutrition. For 20 years I practiced as a Licensed massage therapist in many settings including a physical therapy clinic and have worked on thousands of bodies. I went on to specialized in prenatal massage and trained with Rosita Arvigo to learn the ancient tradition of Maya Abdominal Therapy which has helped countless women to live a fuller life no longer troubled with menstrual or reproductive issues. I also practiced as a birth doula for over 7 years while in medical school. In this role I had the amazing privilege of seeing life in all stages from infertility, preconception, through pregnancy, attending births and postpartum. It brings me so much joy to watch all of these babies grow, learn and find their way in the world! I’ll always welcome an updated picture of one of my little ones!
It was my own health struggles that led me to seek out a Naturopathic Doctor who was able to get to the root cause of my health issues which was undiagnosed Lyme disease. I’m a pretty open book about what happened to me and my struggles finding a diagnosis and treatment and I want to help others to know that 100% recovery IS possible! It is for this reason that I chose to pursue a career in Naturopathic medicine and for this reason that I totally understand how it feels to be slighted by the medical community and what chronic pain really feels like. When a patient tells me no one has been able to help them, I immediately put on my detective brain and will do what I can to find them answers and treatment.
My current focus and areas of expertise include:
Menstrual irregularities, hormone imbalance and menopause Lyme disease
Chronic pain & Chronic fatigue
Gut dysfunction including SIBO
Anxiety, Stress & depression
I see patients from all walks of life, all ages and I have really grown to love doing men’s health as well.
Additional Training & Certifications
2017-Arvigo® Institute-Arvigo® Maya abdominal massage practitioner
2017-Arvigo® Institute-Advanced pregnancy training
2015-Upledger Institute International- CranioSacral training
2014-present-Nelson’s Bach Flower Remedies-College advocate and educator
2014-Sudharma Institute-Certified Postpartum Doula
2014-International Placenta and Postpartum Association-Certified placenta encapsulation specialist and educator
2013-MotherMassage Certification-Elaine Stillerman
2012-WomanCraft Midwifery program
2012-Sudharma Birth Services-Birth Doula Training
Appearances & Publications:
Thesis: “Methylenetetrahydrafolate reductase polymorphisms: Mitigating Genetic midline deformities in the Pediatric Population.”
2017-Guest on Dr. Kendra Becker, APRN, ND-Television show.
Topic: What is a doula and why do I need one?
2017-Guest Speaker on Dr. Kulveen Virdee, ND LAc. Radio Show WPKN-
Topic: What is a doula’s role in the birth process?
Dr. Jennah Bakke, ND
Dr. Jennah Bakke is a licensed naturopathic physician practicing in Connecticut. She was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she grew up with an appreciation of the outdoors and a love of helping others.
Dr. Bakke received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Montana. She spent the following seven years working as a behavioral therapist with children with autism. During this time she was experiencing chronic migraines and generally in poor health. She was introduced to the world of natural medicine which changed her life drastically and led her to pursue a career in natural medicine.
After relocating to the East Coast with her family, Dr. Bakke graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Bridgeport with a doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine. During her time as a student her interest in pediatrics, family medicine and disease prevention grew.
Dr. Bakke uses conventional, functional and alternative diagnostic methods to identify root causes of illness. She prioritizes using the least invasive treatment modalities including: nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, supplements and homeopathic remedies. She aims to educate and empower her patients to take charge of their own health and reach a state of optimal wellness.
Her specialties include:
Pre-natal and Post-natal Care
During her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking and camping with her husband, son and black lab named Bleu.
Dr. Monica Benco, D-TCM, L.Ac
Dr. Benco is our wonderful acupuncturist, she was raised in the Southwest and moved to Connecticut in 2010. Growing up, she was inspired by her mother who practiced herbalism. In their household, there was always a natural remedy at hand for any ailment. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Dr. Benco became particularly interested in the study of Eastern cultures and went on to receiver her bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of New Mexico. Shortly thereafter, she discovered a passion for yoga and eventually became a Certified Yoga Instructor in 2014. Inspired by her background in Eastern thought along with the mind-body connection she found central to her yoga practice, she went on to obtain her Doctorate in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute. During her education, Dr. Benco focused on TCM with an emphasis on practicing in an integrative setting. She practiced Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism as a student intern at the UBAI clinics. In addition, she practiced Acupuncture in integrative settings such as the West Haven VA and Optimus Clinics. Dr. Benco is passionate about treating Mental Health and Women’s Health with Acupuncture, Herbalism and Dietary Therapy. As a student, she wrote her senior Capstone project on the issue of Postpartum Care in America. She hopes to help bridge the gap and help new mothers nourish themselves while settling into the important role of motherhood as a TCM practitioner. Conditions Dr. Benco has experience treating include back pain, dysmenorrhea, anxiety, depression, generalized muscle pain, digestive issues and has provided fertility support to patients.
Dr. Christine Najjar, MD, MS
Dr. Christine Najjar is a holistic Metabolic Health Physician. She first became interested in nutrition and metabolism while studying biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She sought to pursue a career in healing and enrolled in medical school at St. George’s University in the Caribbean, eventually moving to Brooklyn, NY to complete clinical rotations. The more Dr. Najjar was exposed to the overwhelming amount of lifestyle induced chronic diseases treated with the band-aid of modern medicine, the more she searched for alternative ways to support patients. With a growing desire to deepen her nutrition-specific education, she executed a Masters in Human Nutrition at Columbia University in New York, NY during her latter two years of medical school. She eventually moved to West Hartford for residency training at University of Connecticut's Primary Care Internal Medicine program.
Throughout Dr. Najjar’s academic years, she struggled to optimize her own wellbeing while following conventional advice. Learn more about her journey HERE! (link coming soon!)
Dr. Najjar maintains dual board certifications in Internal Medicine and in Obesity Medicine. She empowers patients to regain control of their health, get off chronic medications, and reach body composition goals utilizing her favorite medicine, food. Dr. Najjar prescribes personalized nutrition and lifestyle plans for an array of metabolic and inflammatory conditions. She has experience implementing therapeutic carbohydrate restriction, elimination protocols, and fasting regiments.
Clinical areas of interest encompass any disease or symptom that has potential to improve with food first medicine including:
Type 2 Diabetes/Prediabetes
Metabolic Syndrome/Insulin Resistance
High Blood Pressure
High Triglycerides/Abnormal Cholesterol
Low HDL/Abnormal Cholesterol
Fatty Liver Disease
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Cancer Screening and Prevention
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome/Constipation/Diarrhea
Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
Mental Health conditions including Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, Mood Disorders
Skin conditions including Acanthosis Nigricans, Skin tags, Eczema, Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Hives, and Acne
Autoimmune Conditions including Celiac disease, Psoriasis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Lupus
When Dr. Najjar isn't walking her dog, reading a book, or enjoying the beauty (and challenges) of being a new mom, she can be found in the kitchen where she experiments with new recipes and dishes. Cooking is not only her passion, but also a form of practicing what she preaches. Check out her foodie creations on Instagram or Facebook @doctorsdish.
Dr. Korene Varano, ND, BSN
Dr. Varano is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine and is a board certified and licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND) in the states of Connecticut and New Hampshire. Prior to her doctorate in naturopathic medicine, she practiced for eight years as a licensed registered nurse specializing in oncology and hospice care. She recently completed a two year medical residency in Naturopathic Oncology at Human Nature Natural Health in Portsmouth, New Hampshire under the mentorship of Dr. Ian Bier, ND, Ph.D, LAc, FABNO and is currently studying for the Oncology licensing exam. Dr. Varano is also trained in Generative Medicine specializing in nutrigenomics. She has a specific interest in the treatment and healing of cancer and amputee patients. As a cancer survivor and amputee herself, Dr. Varano uses empirical research to guide the treatments in her integrative and personalized approaches to healing.
In 2004, Dr. Varano graduated with honors with a BSN in nursing from Oral Roberts University Anna Vaughn School of Nursing and completed her oncology nursing training at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2005. During that time she provided medical relief aid in Oaxaca, Mexico, Cote d’Ivoire, Africa and co-established a medical clinic in Haiti that continues to serve the medical needs of Haitians.
During her five years of Naturopathic training, she completed the Pathfinder Mentorship program in Generative Medicine under the guidance of Dr. Peter D’Adamo (Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine). She is a certified Amputee Peer Mentor and is a member of the Yale Trauma Support Network providing education and support to those in the acute phases of trauma recovery from a limb amputation. Dr. Varano is also a paratriathlete and sports advocate for people with a disability.
Dr. Varano is a dedicated Naturopathic Doctor who treats patients with compassion and understanding. She strives to build hope, strength and courage with each patient and family member she encounters. She offers education and research information to help empower her patients to make informed healthcare decisions for their individual health needs.