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Our Team

What qualifies our team to practice integrative functional medicine… and why should you entrust us with your health? Scroll down to learn more about Dr. Maren and her team, including professional bios, credentials, and our own personal journeys to healing.

Christine Maren, Functional Medicine Physician

Christine Maren D.O. is a board-certified physician and the founder of a virtual functional medicine practice in Colorado, Michigan and Texas. She was introduced to functional medicine after struggling with pregnancy complications and recurrent miscarriages. Now a mother of three, she’s devoted her professional life to helping others address the root cause of symptoms in order to restore health, prevent disease, and get their life back.

She earned her medical degree (D.O.) at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University and later moved to San Antonio, Texas to train at one of the nation’s premier family medicine residency programs at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital.

Part of Dr. Maren’s residency was spent in Tucson, Arizona, studying with Dr. Andrew Weil’s group at The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr. Weil, also known as ‘The Father of Integrative Medicine,’ was a guiding figure early in her career.

She was later introduced to functional medicine to address her own health concerns, and knew it would become the focus of her practice. Inspired by 2X NYT best-selling author and fellow functional medicine physician, Dr. Amy Myers, she joined her practice at Austin UltraHealth. She completed her exams and coursework to become a Certified Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFMCP) in 2017.

Dr. Maren later opened her own independent practice where she is able to offer patients her unique brand of functional medicine care with a focus on women’s health concerns such as gut health, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, autoimmune disorders, hormonal issues, preconception and postpartum health. Read more →

Ella Soderholm, Registered Nurse & Master Nutrition Therapist

Ella Soderholm is a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT). She has worked in the healthcare industry for over 15 years, with the past 8 years dedicated to Functional Medicine and Nutrition.

Ella’s nursing career began in the Operating Room, followed by many years in Public Health. She has always felt a strong pull to work in chronic disease prevention, but found traditional medicine offered limited opportunities and solutions. 

It was through her own struggle with autoimmune disease that Ella found her “forever home” in functional medicine. As a patient, she discovered that conventional medicine’s band-aid approach did not provide the healing she needed. It was only through her discovery of functional medicine that her health was finally and fully restored.

This inspired Ella to make a career change that better aligned with her new health philosophy. She completed her Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT) certification through the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, CO in 2015. 

The combination of Ella’s nursing and nutrition backgrounds help her provide a holistic, science-based approach to individualized integrative care. She is also First Line Therapy Certified, and believes that 90% of disease management comes from diet and lifestyle changes.

She has a wide array of experience with many different types of clients and conditions, and specializes in gut health, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmunity, weight loss, and metabolic conditions. Read more →

Leah Novak, Registered Nurse & Master Nutrition Therapist

Leah Novak is a Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT), Registered Nurse (RN, BSN) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). With over 20 years working in the healthcare and fitness industries, Leah specializes in supporting her patients through tailored nutrition with the goal of experiencing more vitality, wellness and energy.

Leah’s career started in the Intensive Care Unit, Chemical Addiction/Rehab, and Perioperative Services at various local hospitals throughout Colorado and in Minnesota. In 2015, her own health issues led her to functional medicine where, as a patient herself, she learned that conventional medicine wasn’t providing the healing she desired. Within a year of using a functional medicine approach, Leah’s physical and mental health improved immensely. So much so, she made a career change to be part of the medicine specialty that better aligned with her values.

She attended the Nutritional Therapy Institute of Denver for just under 3 years to become a Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT), and enjoys ongoing training through The Functional Forum and others. She is also our avid podcast listener (her favorites include The Drive with Peter Attia and The Doctors Farmacy with Mark Hyman) and considers herself a life-long learner.

Leah joined Dr. Maren’s team in January 2019 and hasn’t looked back since! Her experience using lifestyle-based approaches is wide-ranging and targets gut health, mental health, cardiometabolic conditions, autoimmunity, and more. Her newest area of excitement is helping her patients better understand the relationship between genes and optimizing health, an area of study called Nutrigenomics. Read more →

Samantha Shoemaker, Patient Coordinator and Office Manager

Samantha began her career in the health field studying physical therapy, which led her to her true passion as a yoga instructor. However, it was after getting to know Dr. Maren during her family’s time in Michigan that she discovered functional medicine. And (as she puts it): “my life was forever changed.”

Samantha received a yoga instructor certification from Beaumont’s School of Yoga Therapy, and has been teaching yoga since 2014. Her practice ran the gamut from offering truck driver’s yoga to working in the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. This experience running her own business and as a caregiver, along with her passion for healthy living makes her ideally suited for her role as office manager and patient coordinator.

Samantha takes care of all our administrative work (and then some!) while helping coordinate efforts between our team, new and established patients, vendors, labs, contractors, etc. She loves her job, and excels at keeping everything running smoothly behind the scenes while creating a welcoming environment for our patients.

For Samantha, working within this field is deeply personal as a close family member was a victim of the opioid epidemic and she has also watched many other people in her life struggle with their health while never being guided to treat the root cause of their complaints. Thus, she has become a tireless advocate for helping others finding better routes for healing and care through integrative functional medicine. Read more →

Shelby Hawes, Patient Administrator

Shelby began her Administration Career several years ago in the Behavioral Health Field. This role quickly became a passion of hers. She enjoys being on the “front line” creating an environment where people can ask for help, have space to breathe, and know that they are heard.

Her main schooling came from her life-long interests in cooking and adventure. Having graduated from The French Culinary Institute’s Pastry Arts Program in New York City, she went on to work at various bakeries around the country. Feeding people’s souls one buttery baked good at a time really brings her pure joy. 

She eventually made her way to California, where she dove deep into the mind and soul practices of Yoga. This new lifestyle taught her how to tune into her own needs and treat her body with kindness. She has always had a heart for others, but connecting truly to herself opened her up for a deeper connection to those around her. 

Her role here is to support Samantha on the administrative side of the practice, in order to help things run as smoothly as possible for our providers and patients. As a natural born “helper,” Shelby really excels in this role (ask our patients and they will vouch for her being kind, organized, and on top of things!).

Now residing in Clarkston, Michigan with her husband and two children, she gets to pass on her love of cooking, volunteering, and being in nature to her daughter and son. Read more →

What Our Patients Have to Say