CEO – Kirsty Cullen, BA (Hons), DipBCNH, mBANT, CNHC
Kirsty worked within the executive recruitment industry for 10 years, operating at senior management level. Her interest in nutrition began as a consequence of health issues experienced by her own daughter. Having investigated ways in which to support her daughter’s health, Kirsty was inspired by the improvement in her daughter’s condition following the application of nutritional therapy principles and dietary change. This proved to be a turning point both personally and professionally, and Kirsty made the decision to pursue a career in nutrition, later graduating from BCNH – UK College of Nutrition with Distinction.
Following graduation Kirsty embraced a number of different and exciting career opportunities through the establishment of her own nutrition clinic, which encompassed working within the corporate wellness sector and also undertaking a number of nutrition roles within the professional sports arena. This included working as a Nutritional Therapist at St George’s Park National Football Centre and also for the League Managers Association, assessing and advising football managers and elite athletes on health and nutrition. Kirsty also worked as Lead Nutritional Therapist at Derby County Football Club, establishing an umbrella nutrition strategy for the club, in addition to providing one-to-one nutrition and health advice for all players from the first team through to academy players.
Kirsty joined the team at the Optimum Health Clinic in 2011 working within the nutrition support team initially, followed by a role within the practitioner team and then subsequently as Director of Nutrition for the clinic. Having experienced her own mother’s struggles with M.E/CFS, Kirsty has always had a particularly personal interest in the specialist focus and overarching aims of OHC. She strongly believes in equipping clients with an improved understanding of both their own biochemistry and the positive health impacts that integrative and functional medicine based approaches can achieve.
Director of Nutrition – Sara Jackson, Dip CNM Nat, Dip CNM Nut, mBANT, rCNHC
Having worked in senior management roles in the fashion industry most of her career, a cancer diagnosis caused Sara to explore the life changing benefits of nutrition and integrative medicine to assist her recovery and stay well.
The power of natural medicine resonated so much with her that she retrained as a nutritional therapist and naturopath at CNM, London as soon as she was well enough, and she has been forging a successful career in integrative medicine ever since. Sara built up a successful private practice, running wellness events, nutrition writing as well as being regularly called on as an expert to speak on various panels before joining the team at The Optimum health Clinic.
Sara offers her clients the knowledge that comes from being an experienced practitioner of functional medicine, plus the empathy and understanding gained from her own personal experience with and recovery from complex and serious illness. Sara has a special interest in complex case management and a breadth of knowledge and experience across many diseases and health conditions. Sara is a passionate, calm and caring clinician with acute sensitivity to her clients’ needs. Sara has a proven track record, supporting her client’s recovery journeys with evidence-based nutritional guidance that has transformed the health and life of hundreds of individuals.
Head of Research, Training and Development – Claire Sehinson, MSc BSc (Hons) mBANT CNHC
Having recovered fully from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia and complex illness, Claire has a wealth of personal experience and knowledge to share. She has completed an MSc in Personalised Nutrition, AFMCP (Functional medicine in practice), NLP practitioner training (neurolinguistic programming) and clinical neuroscience modules whilst contributing to research in Autistic spectrum disorders.
Claire has a passion for teaching and demystifying illness for her patients and will bring a sensitive, gentle and practical approach to the consultations.
Claire has lectured in Biomedicine and continues to teach Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at several of the top nutritional therapy colleges in the UK. She contributed a chapter to Case Studies in Personalised Nutrition (a textbook for health practitioners and students).
Before starting a career in functional medicine, Claire was a classical pianist in training and now works with individuals in the music industry with a focus on psychiatric and mental wellness, addictions and overall resilience in a very challenging and pressured industry.
Lesley McLauchlan, DipBCNH, MBANT, NTCC, CNHC
Lesley chose to study food and nutrition having suffered from ME as a teenager. She witnessed the amazing effect that changing her diet could make, and went on to fully recover and spend the first part of her career in the food industry. Marriage and
children followed (Lesley has two sons). Approached by the headmistress of a local school, Lesley was instrumental in helping the school become one of the first in the UK to have a 100% organic menu. Put forward by parents, she was a finalist in the Daily Telegraph Best School Meals competition in 2005. Subsequent years have been spent furthering her education in nutrition and keeping up to date with the latest research, as well as running her own successful practice. Lesley also spent two years with a London clinic specialising in food intolerances and candida. She comments on nutrition and health for her local BBC Radio station, and advises several well-known food retailers on nutrition. Well known for her calm and positive manner, she brings a wealth of wisdom to the clinic team, and her experience of using the clinic’s nutritional protocol in helping children and teenagers, as well as adults, back to health, make her an invaluable asset.
Sanna Anderson, FdBSc, DipION, mBANT, NTCC, CNHC
Sanna spent the first 10 years of her career in the financial industry in the City enjoying the challenges of the corporate world. She has always been a keen cook and is passionate about good food, but it wasn’t until experiencing the dramatic effects of a diet change on her own health that she realised the impact good nutrition can have on the quality of life.
Since graduating, Sanna has been running her own successful nutrition practice in London and more recently in Dorset. She has a special interested in stress related health issues, digestive disorder and children’s health. She has also been working with a number of restaurants in improving their offering
and helping them better understand the nutritional values of their menu options. Sanna is a regular lecturer at a nutrition college in Finland and presents nutrition and wellbeing talks to corporates.
Sanna joined The Optimum Health Clinic in 2005 whilst still studying for her nutrition degree. She initially held an administrative role and after graduating she joined the clinic’s nutrition team in 2007. In 2010 Sanna took a break from her nutrition career to look after her young twins.
Sanna has an in-depth knowledge and practical understanding of CFS/ME the unique challenges each client presents with. She is passionate about helping her clients regain control over their help and wellbeing. Sanna has a warm and caring approach and is well liked by her clients.
Julia Alderman, BSc, DipION, mBANT, NTCC, CNHC
Nutrition and healthy living have always been a huge part of Julia’s life. She has used nutrition to overcome her own health problems and is passionate about giving others the knowledge and support needed to regain their health too. Julia has a background in science with an honours degree in biology, and after graduating she went on to follow the path of nutritional therapy.
On completing her training, Julia worked as the residential nutritionist for a five-star hotel in Cyprus where she ran a variety of detox programmes for guests from all over the world. She has since held a busy nutrition clinic in central London treating a range of chronic conditions, as well as presenting nutrition workshops and writing articles.
She is also a yoga teacher and teaches 1-to-1 yoga for specific health conditions. Julia’s approach combines her strong scientific knowledge with a compassionate and sensitive approach, so that recommendations are sustainable for even her most sensitive clients.
Emma Monteith, BSc(Hons) mBANT rCNHC
Emma has been working as a Nutritional Therapist building up her own business over the last 15 years in South-West London, whilst looking after her two children. Her interest in nutrition began with noticing how quickly her young son’s extreme fatigue improved through some fundamental changes she made in his diet. Having suffered also herself from Chronic Fatigue, she finds great satisfaction in helping others recover from this and other crippling diseases and brings a high level of empathy, enthusiasm and dedication to help those suffering. As a tremendous enthusiast for nutrition, she has also enjoyed successfully coaching groups of people to improve their health and lifestyle, as well as educating children in nutrition at school. Emma trained with CNELM and her Degree in Nutritional Therapy is linked to Middlesex University. She is an Associate UK graduate in Functional Medicine, has trained in NLP and enjoys keeping up to date with all the latest advances in nutritional science. In her spare time she loves to walk her dogs and explore/be in the countryside.
Helen Halliday, mBANT, CNHC
Helen spent the first 15 years of her career in marketing and advertising where she held various senior management roles. It was during this time she experienced a life threatening health condition which triggered her passion for health and nutrition. She retrained with CNELM (Middlesex University) gaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Personalised Nutrition and Diploma in Nutritional Therapy.
Since then Helen has established a private clinic in Berkshire providing nutritional therapy and runs talks and programmes to groups, schools and corporates on specific health subjects and the role of nutrition. She is also a clinic supervisor at CNELM where she coaches students training to be a nutritional therapist.
Having had ME herself, Helen has experienced the physical and mental complexities and challenges that such a condition can bring and is passionate about helping others who are experiencing such chronic and complex health issues.
Helen has an informative and motivating style which she uses to provide facts on health and food by using every day language so that people feel inspired and well equipped to make appropriate changes to support their individual health goals.
Juliana Bernardes, MSc, BSc (hons), dipNT mBANT, CNHC
Juliana has passion for nutrition and brings energy, tenacity and sharp clinical focus to her practice. Juliana has completed extensive academic and scientific training, holding an MSc in Personalised Nutrition from Middlesex University, an advanced diploma in Nutritional Therapy Practice from the Centre for Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Management (CNELM) and a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Naturopathy from the University of Westminster. With solid evidence-based scientific research guiding her work, Juliana understands the importance of keeping herself up to date with the developments in the nutrition field.
Juliana’s clinical approach takes into account the bio-individual metabolic needs of each client and this approach results in the development of highly personalised protocols, which include achievable dietary, supplemental and lifestyle guidance. Like many of our team, Juliana has experienced personal complex illness and post-viral fatigue herself, and therefore holds a particular interest in this field.
Prior to joining the team at The Optimum Health Clinic, Juliana gained experience within her own private practice seeing clients from all over the world, with a wide range of health concerns. She has also provided lecturing and clinical supervisory skills to the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM).
Martina Cowen, BsC Psych (Open) Dip CNM Nut mBANT rCNHC
Prior to working with the Nutrition arena Martina pursued a career in Logistics, but she always held a passion for food and health. Martina’s transition into the functional health area began with achieving a BSc(Hons) in Psychology, followed by embarking on her nutrition training which resulted in her subsequent graduation from the College of Naturopathic Medicine. Following her graduation, Martina gained further valuable clinical experience in her own private practice, before gaining a Clinical Education and Support role with one of the top leading functional medicine diagnostic laboratories. This combined experience to date has equipped Martina with both clinical experience and an excellent working knowledge of the latest research developments and testing applications within the nutrition industry.
Martina is a calm, warm, logical and empathetic practitioner, who believes in empowering and encouraging clients to regain their health.
In her spare time, Martina is a keen allotment gardener, with focus on organic and biodynamic practices.
Jana Papajova, DipNT CNM, mBANT, rCNHC
After working in fashion for over a decade, a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis brought Jana to the Optimum Health Clinic, as one of our clients. Her healing journey was so profound, she decided to retrain as a Nutritional Therapist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. Since graduating, Jana has been running her own successful nutrition practice in London and working as a part of the Autoimmune Clinic team, before joining the Optimum Health Clinic as a practitioner.
Jana has been fully recovered for several years and is on a mission to help others to thrive and feel their best.
Having experienced the condition first-hand, Jana can relate to and empathise with her clients. With Jana, you get the warmth and support of a non-judgemental friend with the knowledge of an experienced functional medicine practitioner, who will go above and beyond to find the root cause of your symptom(s).
In her spare time, Jana enjoys cooking, travelling and reading.
Jessica O’Dwyer, MSc DipCNM mBANT CNHC
Jessica’s passions for nutrition started at a young age when growing up with a very ill sister. She started her career in Biopharmaceutical Science where she soon realised making pharmaceuticals was not the route she wanted to take when helping people manage their disease. Jessica strongly believes in a patient-centred approach through the application of integrative medicine philosophies which help people figure out the “why” to their symptoms.
After many years of clinical experience gained through working at some of the busiest medical centres, and having previously worked as an in-house Nutritionist for Barclays Bank and UBS employees across London, Jessica decided to specialise in ME/CFS.
Jessica is passionate about research, having previously worked on the Nutritional Psychiatry research team at ‘The Food for Mood Centre’ under the Deakin University, Australia, focusing on the gut and brain connections. She was also part of the medical education team at one of the leading global Functional Medicine laboratories, educating practitioners across the board. Her passion for research continues, as she is currently researching the connection between the gut microbiome and ME/CFS.
Jessica’s friendly, relatable approach and use of everyday language helps to translate what may seem like complicated science. She brings an understanding and supportive approach to all her clients.