It's All About BalancE

Who We Are

health & Balance

Our Focus

MISSION

To improve quality of life through personalized medicine by providing clinicians and patients worldwide with innovative,
research-driven, and evidence-based clinical tools and products.

VISION

Health Analyzed.   Health Personalized.   Health Optimized.

5-HTP
origin story

What Does Sanesco Mean?

Sanesco is derived from the Latin word, “consanesco.”

Definitions:

  1. be healed
  2. become whole/sound/well
  3. heal up (wounds/plants)

origin: latin

Leaders in hpa-axis balance

About Us

Sanesco was born out of a desire for a personalized
approach to medicine that addresses the root source of
health complaints to improve quality of life rather than
manages symptoms.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis plays a pivotal role in maintaining quality of life.

Healthy HPA function is essential in the neuroendocrine system and the body’s communication system. Imbalances in the critical messengers of this axis contribute to the manifestation of a wide range of health complaints affecting quality of life including cognitive function, mood, sleep, and energy.

Sanesco believes quality of life for all is possible by
empowering healthcare practitioners with knowledge, understanding, and a clinical model that allows a
personalized approach for addressing imbalances in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the source of health complaints impeding quality of life.

 

neurotransmitter signaling
Compass pointing North
Constant to our true north

Our Core Values

For over a decade, Sanesco has remained constant to our true north.

We have established and maintained an unwavering commitment to the medical and scientific community: to enhance the knowledge and understanding of HPA-axis function and deliver innovative, revolutionary clinical tools to assess, monitor and correct neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances.

Core values of integrity and transparency, combined with over 15 years of evidence-based quantitative and qualitative data, validate the value unique to our approach.

Research Partnerships & Collaboration

CSM Evidence-Based logo

Collaborative research partnerships provide mutual advantages by sharing knowledge and resources to address locally and globally relevant scientific and public health questions. Research partnerships drive health innovation so that the best new therapies and technology make their way to the patient as safely and efficiently.

Sanesco welcomes the opportunity to collaborate and support research partnerships in the areas of education, laboratory research, therapeutics, genetics, artificial intelligence, and more.

it takes a village

Key Leadership

Key Clinical Contributors

Scientific Contributors

Sanesco Tribe Leaders

Ken Kaplan

Ken Kaplan

CFO
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Rosana Romero

Rosana Romero

Administration & HR
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Marcos Romero

Marcos Romero

Director of Technology
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Amy Shaffer

Amy Shaffer

Director of Operations
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Nathan Bridges

Nathan Bridges

Clinical Support Manager
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Josie Farrell

Josie Farrell

Controller
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Ready to Join Our Network?

Hector Romero

Hector Romero

Founder & CEO

Biography

Hector Romero, Sanesco’s President and Chief Executive Officer, became personally interested in the rapidly growing alternative medical movement in the U.S. when his son was diagnosed with ADHD in the mid-1980s.

His search for information that would help his son led him to work as a business consultant with alternative doctors in the state of Florida and later as the Director of International Business for Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory in Asheville, North Carolina, a world-renowned leader in the field of functional laboratory testing. 

Mr. Romero began his career with Bayer Laboratories in Venezuela, first as a pharmaceutical sales representative, and later progressing into sales and marketing management. Mr. Romero’s association with Generix Drug Corporation in the U.S. led him to play a pioneering role in bringing generic pharmaceuticals to the Venezuelan market. As the president and CEO of Generix Drugs of Venezuela, he oversaw the exclusive representation of medical equipment and surgical supplies from several major American manufacturers, including the x-ray division of 3M, American Hospital Supply and Tek-Named.

After leaving Great Smokies Laboratories, Mr. Romero became the CEO of CHC Group, a medical practice development company comprised of a consortium of independently-owned laboratories. CHC eventually became what is known today as NeuroScience, Inc., where he served as President and CEO. Mr. Romero developed a unique business model in which the company was neither a supplement manufacturer nor a clinical laboratory, but instead a medical organization specializing in the development and marketing of clinical tools for the assessment and correction of neurotransmitter imbalance.

In 2004, Mr. Romero founded Sanesco International, Inc. in Asheville, North Carolina alongside clinical and scientific leaders practicing functional and integrative medicine and developed the Communication System Management (CSM)™ Clinical Model.

R.W. Watkins<BR>MD, MPH, FAAFP

R.W. Watkins
MD, MPH, FAAFP

Chief Medical Officer

Biography

Dr. Watkins earned his medical degree at East Carolina School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in Family Medicine at Florida Hospital, Orlando. He has a Master’s degree in Public Health, Health Promotion and Nutrition from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California, with experience in both academic and corporate medicine.

Dr. Watkins built a thriving integrative medical practice in Greensboro, NC. His main focus is functional medicine with a special interest in neurohormonal imbalances. His other interests include many other aspects of integrative medicine, nutrition, neuroendocrinology and predictive genomics.

Dr. Watkins has lectured on a wide variety of topics at the local, state, national and international levels. In addition, he has authored a number of journal articles and textbook chapters and has over 20 years of experience in private practice, teaching and corporate medicine.

Joining Sanesco International’s Medical Board in 2005, and later becoming their Medical Director, Dr. Watkins is currently serving as Sanesco’s Chief Medical Officer and is also President and Laboratory Director of NeuroLab®.

He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a past-president and Chairman of the Board of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Watkins has earned the honorary degree of Fellow in the Academy of Family Physicians. He is on the Board of Directors of COLA as a representative of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at both the UNC School of Medicine and the East Carolina School of Medicine.

Sharon Norling<BR>MD, MBA

Sharon Norling
MD, MBA

Clinical Contributor

Biography

Dr. Sharon Norling is a nationally known and highly respected medical doctor specializing in integrative medicine and practicing advanced functional medicine in Westlake Village, CA. Dr. Norling graduated from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and has trained at USC and UCLA. She received her MBA from St. Thomas University.

Dr. Norling’s expertise is based on her years of clinical experience and research as former Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is national board-certified in OB/GYN, Integrative Medicine and Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Norling combines a credible and responsible academic knowledge with years of experience and caring nature.

Recognized for her expertise, she has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary Alternative Medicine Policy. She has served in multiple leadership roles as Medical Director and senior management in two large healthcare organizations. During her years in healthcare, she has been a nurse, medical doctor, hospital administrator, advocate and a dismissed and misdiagnosed patient.

Her passion is finding the root cause of illnesses instead of just using a pharmaceutical drug to treat the tip of the iceberg. Hormonal and neurotransmitter balance is one of her specialties.

Dr. Norling is an international speaker and the author of “Your Doctor is Wrong”. As a presenter, she is engaging, articulate, humorous and insightful, making learning a dynamic professional and personal growth experience. Whether you have heard her on the radio, seen her on TV or sharing the stage with celebrities, Dr. Norling is the expert.

Dr. Norling is a medical authority, a visionary and an extraordinary leader who provides real solutions for patients who have been dismissed or misdiagnosed.

Denise Mark, MD

Denise Mark, MD

Clinical Contributor | Past CMO

Biography

Denise Mark, MD is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She earned her medical degree and completed her residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Mark specializes in integrative internal medicine focusing on neuroendocrine balancing, using bio-identical hormones and targeted nutritional therapy. She also uses nutritional and preventive medicine to address metabolic syndrome, menopause, andropause and thyroid/adrenal imbalances for men and women. She has been in private practice since 1987 and is the Director at Monterey Bay Wellness in Carmel, California.

Dr. Mark holds memberships in the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) and the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM). She has been on the Board of Directors of ACAM since 1995. Dr. Mark is a popular speaker and has presented before professional groups and appeared on radio and television programs to discuss integrative medicine, neuroendocrine balancing, bio-identical hormones, insulin resistance and preventive wellness.

Vivian Varese, MD

Vivian Varese, MD

Clinical Contributor

Biography

Based in Acton, Massachusetts serving patients from throughout Southern New England, Dr. Varese has been committed to the development of the Functional Medicine paradigm for over 30 years.

After obtaining her medical degree from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico in 1979 and completing four years of hospital training in New York City, she opened her private practice in 1984. Dr. Varese is a second-generation physician in her family.

The longest area of expertise Dr. Varese has is the optimization of thyroid function. As soon as saliva testing became available, she added adrenal and all steroid hormone excellence to her roster. She has included the use of stool testing for GI and immune system assessments for over two decades. Dr. Varese has considered neurotransmitter measurements to be essential to all patient evaluations since incorporating it into her work in 2005.

All of Dr. Varese’s patients are given in-depth consultation so that a cohesive, individualized treatment plan can be devised using bio-identical hormone prescribing, nutritional supplements, herbal formulas and selective homeopathy.

Dr. Varese very much enjoys her role as a teacher and mentor to her patients as each one proceeds on a path toward living a healthy, happy life.

Bradley Bongiovanni, MD

Bradley Bongiovanni, MD

Clinical Contributor

Biography

Brad Bongiovanni, ND is the founder of Wholistic Medicine Specialists of Atlanta. Dr. Bongiovanni is committed to a philosophy where he sees health as more than just the absence of disease, but a true function of participation in life.

Dr. Bongiovanni earned his B.S. degree from the University of Richmond and then his Naturopathic Medicine degree from NCNM in 1997, as well as a residency in 1998. Dr. Bongiovanni has an extraordinary background in clinical and laboratory medicine, international medical education, corporate/executive strategy and transpersonal psychology. He maintains a special focus on the wholistic/functional/genomic approach to patients with anxiety, depression and stress/fatigue-related disorders.

In 2016, he presented at Harvard on nutritional psychiatry and is an invited lecturer at the 2017 International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine in London on the topic of mindfulness and HPA-axis dysfunction. He is a regular television and online media contributor nationally, having made regular media appearances on affiliates for NBC, ABC, FOX and CNN.

Koren Barrett, ND

Koren Barrett, ND

Clinical Contributor

Biography

Dr. Koren Barrett is a California-licensed naturopathic doctor. Dr. Barrett has been in private practice in the Orange County area since 2003 offering integrative medical care.

Dr. Barrett combines the best of both mainstream and natural therapies in one practice, utilizing a variety of therapeutics including dietary and lifestyle counseling, herbal medicine, nutritional supplementation and incorporating pharmaceutical prescriptions when needed. She received her medical education from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon where she also completed her residency in Naturopathic Family medicine.

Dr. Barrett received her pre-medical education from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. Dr. Barrett is an active participant in the medical community. Dr. Barrett has served as chair for an independent review board (IRB). She participated in reviewing pharmaceutical, natural and medical device clinical trials to ensure informed consent and safety of subjects participating in these trials. Dr. Barrett has participated as an item writer for NPLEX (Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations). She provided examination questions for the national naturopathic board licensing exam.

Dr. Barrett lectures extensively to the general public, naturopathic and medical doctors on topics including neuroendocrine, balancing, bioidentical hormones, natural fertility management, breast health, children’s health and autism. She has been quoted in multiple health publications and provides expert consulting to institutions and organizations on integrative naturopathic medical care.

Diane Parks, NP

Diane Parks, NP

Clinical Contributor

Biography

Diane is a board-certified nurse practitioner with over 30 years of experience. She is also a nationally certified sexual counselor through AASECT. Her philosophy is patient-centric care while working towards determining the root cause of problems rather than taking a “band-aid” approach.

She specializes in neurotransmitter evaluation and treatment, bioidentical hormonal treatment and sex counseling for individuals and couples. Diane also provides lifestyle coaching for optimal health.

Jeff Schmitt, PhD

Jeff Schmitt, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Biography

Jeff Schmitt enjoys a rich life filled with community, science, music, art and family. Jeff is an enthusiastic advocate of indigenous healing and wisdom traditions. As both a noted scientist and practitioner of Peruvian folk medicine, he seeks to build bridges of understanding. Jeff is a challenging and evocative speaker/storyteller. In 2011 he presented the first TEDx talk on Ayahuasca–inspired by his life-changing sojourn with the Secoya people of the Northern Amazon rainforest. He did his undergraduate work at Wake Forest University followed by graduate work at the University of Bath and Oxford University.

Jeff holds adjunct professorships at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Biochemistry and Physiology-Pharmacology. He is the Director of Research for the Center for Integrative Medicine at Wake Forest. He is a founding member of numerous companies including Targacept, Inc., where he led the development of simulation technology to make the process of drug discovery more efficient. Jeff has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications, patents and abstracts, and has been on the editorial advisory boards of six international journals. He is the founding research director of the Bent Creek Institute of the University of North Carolina.

Jeff founded and directed the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He also devotes his time to organizations serving the greater good and has been a board member of five non-profit organizations. He is also a Chinese martial arts expert.

Despite a rich career in the life sciences, Jeff has collaborated with numerous American and European artists, including ex-King Crimson drummer Michael Giles, L.A. sound artist Rhan Small, rap artist and spoken-word poet Cactus and members of Medeski, Martin and Wood. A stint with metal sculpture led to Jeff winning the Savannah College of Art ‘Savannah 3D’ invitational in 1986. Jeff and his musical collaborators composed music for the Aban Elved dance company 1994-2005, leading to collaborations in England, the USA and Germany. Jeff is also a founding member of the Wheel Theatre Company led by Juilliard and Moscow Art Theatre artist Felix Ivanov.

Finally, while in Europe, Jeff was a founding member of the Bio*Art collaborative, a group of philosophers, scientists and artists working together to foster an esthetic appreciation of scientific discovery. Their work led to a Royal Society exhibition as well as the first musical compositions based on the three-dimensional structure of proteins.

Connie Shoemaker, ND

Connie Shoemaker, ND

Clinical Support Director

Biography

“Educating Sanesco’s clients is the culmination of a life’s work.”

Beginning when she left the hospital environment to manage a functional laboratory, Genova Diagnostics (formerly Great Smokies Laboratories) in 1987, Dr. Connie Shoemaker continued to increase her knowledge of herbs and biochemistry as a journey of love. With her Bachelor’s in science from Western Carolina University, she had worked in hospital laboratories for the first 12 years of her career. Then, personal health challenges led her to discover a new approach to her health and a determination to share it with others.

In 1991, she began teaching and educating innovative practitioners in the U.S. and internationally as a manager of marketing, sales and customer service.

The addition of her Doctor of Naturopathy degree to her existing knowledge base expanded her respect for a more natural approach to healing through balance. At Sanesco, she initially served to oversee the technical development of products and services.

Now, she educates Sanesco’s clients on the application of the CSM™ model for their specific patients and how to integrate the CSM™ model with other modalities they offer in their practice. In her personal life, Connie educates private clients on various health topics.

Lisa Samuelson

Lisa Samuelson

Laboratory Manager

Biography

Lisa Samuelson has served as Lab Manager at NeuroLab®, a division of Sanesco International, for just over five years. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned her Bachelor’s in Biology and her Master’s in Molecular and Cellular Pathology. Before coming to Sanesco, Lisa worked for 12 years at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Lab Manager and Research Specialist in the Department of Transplant Surgery researching a chronic liver disease and type 1 diabetes via the identification and isolation of tissue-resident progenitor cell populations.

For more than 10 years, Sanesco and NeuroLab® have served as an important resource at the forefront of patient-centered care, measuring biomarkers to address the root cause of many chronic health issues.

NeuroLab® is a leading specialist in the technology, analysis, and research of the biomarkers associated with the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal-Thyroid Axis function. HPA-T Axis function is pivotal to the optimal function of the body’s neuroendocrine communication system. NeuroLab®’s focus on patient-centric healthcare means dedicated to research in HPA-T Axis function from our partners and practitioners, the most accurate and advanced technology to measure relevant biomarkers, and research and development of new biomarkers to adapt to patients’ needs. NeuroLab® results are accurate, reliable and reproducible–giving the practitioner all the necessary resources to provide a clear view of the window into the neuroendocrine system.

Ramona Richard

Ramona Richard

Director of Education

Biography

Ramona Richard graduated with honors from the University of California with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Health and Nutrition Education. She also holds a Standard Designated Teaching Credential from the State of California, is a California state-certified Nutrition Consultant and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Ramona has participated in nutrition education in both public and private venues, including high school and college presentations, radio and public speaking for the past 20 years.

Overview

One of our feel-good neurotransmitters; when it is deficient, we can suffer mood disorders, sleep issues and carb cravings.