Natura Medica has been providing naturopathic medical care to the greater Shoreline community for over 25 years. Founded in 1988 when the concept of alternative medicine was just entering the health care system, Deirdre J. O'Connor, ND pioneered the creation of comprehensive natural healthcare. In addition to caring for thousands of individual patients over the past 29 years, our physicians have served as a reliable community resource for information on natural healthcare by lecturing on a variety of health related topics.
These are exciting as well as uncertain times in the world of healthcare as scientific advances in the understanding of what keeps us healthy meet the evolving economics of healthcare delivery. Natura Medica remains dedicated to providing our community with the highest quality, trustworthy and common sense approach to healthcare and teaching our patients the art of healthy living.
Laura A. Munro, ND
Dr. Munro began her career in the medical field in 1992 after graduating with her Associates degree in Applied Science with a focus in Physical Therapy. She has worked in the field ever since in a variety of settings including: orthopedics, in-patient, out-patient, and lastly pediatrics. The children she worked with finally gave her the inspiration she needed to accomplish her goal of becoming a doctor.
She returned to school in 2002 to attain her pre-med requisites and graduated, Magna Cum Laude, with her Bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut in 2007. Directly after graduation from UCONN she entered Naturopathic Medical School and graduated, July 2011, from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine earning her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine.
In addition Dr. Munro owned and operated Serenity Yoga Studio from 2000 to 2003 where she witnessed the amazing healing that took place on a physical, spiritual, as well as a mental/emotional level. She believes that it is this holistic process which demonstrates our body's innate wisdom to heal itself. Dr. Munro prides herself on having the attributes that she considers makes for an exceptional physician including: tenacity, non-judgment, compassion, good listening skills, curiosity, honesty, open-mindedness, patience, adaptability, and a willingness to grow. She believes that possessing these qualities serves the patient, allowing the physician to look at the whole person including the patient's personal situation, offering the potential to treat the entire family.
She believes strongly in educating her patients, as well as the community, in order to encourage them to become proactive, passionate and to allow them the opportunity to understand the impact they can have on their own health and healing. Dr. Munro feels that by empowering her patients with understanding and knowledge they will be able to actively affect their own potential.
Dr. Munro's goal and desire is to be a portal through which her patients will attain a level of health that will manifest into a balanced way of life. She affirms to work diligently to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and to help her patients take back the power to live a full, healthy life. The decision for treatment will be a collaborative effort between patient & doctor, and will include such options as hydrotherapy, nutrition, botanicals, homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, therapeutic activities/yoga, acupuncture, as well as cleansing protocols.
Sally Machin, ND
Dr. Sally Machin received her degree in Naturopathic Medicine from National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She has a diverse clinical focus and enjoys working with patients who experience a variety of conditions, as well as those who wish to focus on prevention and optimizing their health. Dr. Machin believes that nutrition and lifestyle are key components to achieving wellness. She uses targeted therapies, such as specific nutrients, and herbal medicine to enhance healing. She strives to educate all her patients so they understand their health concerns, and collaborates with patients to discover the cause of their symptoms.
Dr. Machin's ND degree includes a certificate in midwifery, and she has assisted in many births. Although she is not currently practicing as a midwife, she continues to enjoy working with women in the areas of natural fertility, prenatal care, and postpartum care. Many women can benefit from additional supportive care during these times. Her interest also includes other areas of women's health.
Dr. Machin is a former Division I athlete; she competed in rowing at Boston University while obtaining her bachelor's degree. Because of this background, another special interest of Dr. Machin's is working with patients to improve athletic performance.
Dr. Machin lives in Stonington, CT with her husband, dog, and their chickens. She is excited to be working close to home and helping the community in which she lives. Dr Machin enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and gardening (particularly when she gets fresh vegetables out of it).
Stephanie Draus, ND, RYT-200
Stephanie Draus, ND, RYT-200, is a graduate of National College of Naturopathic Medicine (now National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. A native of Chicago, she returned to that city after graduation to found Stellaria Natural Health, an integrative wellness center featuring naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, counseling, and classes in yoga, meditation, and belly dance. In 2009, Dr. Draus joined the faculty of National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL, and later moved to Connecticut to work as Associate Director of Academic Affairs at University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine.
After a decade in academia, she is thrilled to be returning to clinical practice at Natura Medica.
She particularly enjoys working with people who are new to natural and holistic medicine, helping them create practical, sustainable solutions for improved health. She also loves working with active seniors to maintain strength, flexibility, and energy.
Other clinical interests include emotional and mental health (with a particular interest in post-traumatic stress), pain management (particularly in dancers and others with chronic use syndrome), and common chronic conditions such as hypertension and pre-diabetes.
Dr. Draus has a special interest in working with artists (she is a dancer and actress herself) and with the military population.
She is a registered yoga teacher with advanced training in Mindful Yoga Therapy, an evidence-based program that uses movement and meditation to improve recovery from PTSD. She also teaches mindfulness meditation.
She loves salt water; joyful movement; rivers; and stories. She spends her spare time hiking, knitting, writing, and dancing. She lives with her husband and a coal-black cat in a house full of music, books, and yarn.
Alyssa Annello, ND
Dr. Alyssa Annello received her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. Her clinical focus is in pre-conception care, infertility, women’s health, hormonal health, and digestion. Dr. Annello believes that healthy digestion, nutrition, and lifestyle are core attributes of feeling good, improving energy, and reaching goals. She uses individualized therapies, such as specific nutrients, herbal medicines, and homeopathy. She also, utilizes targeted and specialized testing, to gain deeper understanding of each patient’s case.
When working with couples on pre-conception care and infertility, she is passionate about not only helping them get pregnant, but also, having a healthy pregnancy and baby. She understands that addressing the root cause to fertility challenges are necessary, not only to potentially avoid costly and exhausting procedures (IUI/IVF), but also to make them more effective if such procedures are necessary.
At the core of everything she does is education, she values teaching her patients, and believes it fosters empowerment and sustainable results. She welcomes questions and discussion in her office as it allows her to help her patients understand everything they are working on together.
Dr. Annello lives in Waterford, CT with her husband and their daughter, and their three dogs. Dr. Annello enjoys hiking, skiing, and is an avid gardener.
Deirdre J. O'Connor, ND - Retired
Dr. Deirdre O'Connor is the founder of Natura Medica and retired from practice in 2019.
She earned her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in 1985 from Bastyr University and was in private practice for over 30 years. She is a current member and past Board of Directors member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Connecticut Association of Naturopathic Physicans and the Rhode Island Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Because she believes that health education is an important component of a healthier health care system care, she has lectured both locally and nationally on numerous natural health topics.
Outside of medicine, Dr. O'Connor enjoys biking, hiking, medicinal botany, cross-country skiing and birding. She believes that her good health and vitality are a direct result of her relationship with nature.