VIVA Wellness is proud to introduce our newest team member, Annette!

As part of our ever-expanding health and wellness services, we welcome a new nurse practitioner to the team. Annette Harris, DNP, FNP-BC, will bring her gut health and functional medicine expertise to VIVA Wellness. She’ll be working with clients who are experiencing digestive/GI issues as well as those with gut-related side effects affecting the skin.

Her Background

  • UW-Milwaukee Bachelors of Nursing
  • UW-Milwaukee Doctorate of Nursing Practice
  • Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctoral Residency in Integrative Medicine
  • Research in Functional Medicine management of IBS and IBD
  • Currently completing a Fellowship in Functional Dermatology

Her Story

“When I was finishing up nursing school as an RN, I started having symptoms of ulcerative colitis: a digestive autoimmune disorder. A diagnosis was confirmed after an EGD and colonoscopy were completed. When I would ask the doctor, “Is there anything that I can eat differently or any probiotics that I can take?” he was just like, “Nope, it doesn’t matter. You can maybe try fish oil.” I just knew that couldn’t be the whole picture.

I ended up doing my own research. Initially, I decided to start myself on the Paleo Diet, which is similar to the baseline diet I usually recommend for my clients. I focused heavily on fruits, vegetables, gluten-free sources of fiber, meat/fish and healthy fats. Within two weeks of starting an ancestral paleo-type diet, 90% of my symptoms were gone.

Then I became familiar with functional medicine and experienced this ‘next level’ of healing. I underwent much of the testing I now recommend to my patients and found out the root cause of my condition. Through targeted supplements and lifestyle change I’m now healthier than ever. Once I became a nurse practitioner I started working in the speciality of gastroenterology, with a focus on inflammatory bowel disease. I really thought it would be my dream job until I witnessed how 99% of what we recommended to patients revolved around suppressing symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs. Sometimes prescription medication is a wonderful answer to people’s problems and is very necessary, but it is the sole focus of conventional dermatology and gastroenterology which is very misleading to patients.  I realized I couldn’t work my entire career in what I call the “sick care system”.  My own experience and healing made me want to shift my goals as a nurse to one day become a functional medicine NP.”

Her Philosophy

“All health begins in the gut. Diet and lifestyle is the cornerstone of digestive and skin health, however many of my patients come to me eating an extremely limited diet and taking 25 supplements with very little improvement. My approach to treating chronic digestive and dermatological conditions centers around testing to identify the root cause of illness followed by targeted treatment using natural supplements and specific dietary interventions that are backed by science and research.”

What She Brings to VIVA Wellness

A root-cause approach to treatment for the following issues:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Keratosis Pilaris
  • Irritable bowel syndrome/SIBO
  • Gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea
  • Colitis

Fun Facts

“I have a 2-year-old son Ethan, and we will welcome a baby girl in September 2023. I have an English Springer Spaniel named Ruby who is extremely spoiled. Also, I’ve been married for over five years. My husband and I went to the same high school but never spoke to each other until years later when I saw his band play at a bar, and we recognized each other!”

Why She’s Excited to Join the VIVA Wellness Team

“When I was very ill with UC, I vowed that once I was healed (via diet, lifestyle, functional medicine testing, and supplements), I would become a nurse practitioner and specialize in functional medicine one day. I will be living out my dream job at Viva and couldn’t be more grateful!”

And we couldn’t be more grateful to have you, Annette! Welcome to the team!

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