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Backed by Science: Jami Ackerman, Burick Center Nutritionist

Whether you want to diagnose a food intolerance or change your diet, you need to call in the pros.

You’re committed to the gym. You get your yearly physical. You head to the dermatologist for a skin check at least once a year. You visit the dentist at least twice a year. Chances are there’s one important appointment you’re not slotting into your schedule – seeing a nutritionist.

A nutritionist helps to keep your digestive system and body running smoothly, all the while making sure you’re consuming the proper nutrients and helping you tailor an eating plan that works best for you.

To help you on your quest for health harmony, we’ve sat down with The Burick Center’s very own nutritionist, Jami Ackerman, to learn a little more about her experience working in nutrition, as well as how her game-changing role can play in your wellness journey.

So, tell us first a little bit about what a Nutritionist actually does?

Great question!

For me, I like to take the functional approach to nutrition. Our service is very patient centered, meaning we listen closely and take all aspects of their life into consideration. We look at patient history, lab values, family’s past medical history and current lifestyle. All of these factors play into the nutritional plan created for them.

One of the biggest tools we can have is a food log, which I know can sound intimidating! But this is an important tool to help us get to the root of the problem and help in the best way possible. We also take into consideration the sleep habits, their stress level, the environment and if they are exposed to toxins. We also look at the spiritual aspect, as it plays a role into who they are. This helps us find the root cause of what’s happening with them.

As a functional nutritionist, if we can address that root cause (think of it as a tree), then these branches will be healthy. This is the perspective we take. As a nutritionist, we are trying to meet the nutritional goals of the patient in a manner that is welcoming and provides them with the tools to make them the healthiest version of themselves.

One of the Different philosophies from a functional standpoint is that health isn’t always in a disease-free state. We can be the healthiest version of ourselves and still have a disease. We are embracing health throughout the stages, and not just in a disease-free state.

Who can benefit from nutrition counseling?

Anyone! In today’s age, when you think about the agricultural state we are in and the foods we are eating – not all of them are the healthiest. Even the “healthy” foods are still toxic. The wheat bread may not be a natural, good, healthy wheat bread, even though it says wheat. Even though we are eating these foods, it can still leave our body nutritionally depleted. So, I truly believe any person can benefit from a seeing a nutritionist.  Just one exposure with a nutritionist to see if you have any nutritional deficiencies if beneficial!

What got you interested in nutrition?

I have always been one that thought we can heal our bodies. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, I became exposed to information around cancer and health at a much younger age. As a result, I clung to the motto you are what you eat. This propelled me forward to delve into what it is to feed you body in the most effective manner and just stave off disease.

Can you tell me more about your career in nutrition?

I worked in the clinical setting for years – I would see patients throughout the hospital and the ICU. From there, I did some outpatient education, and this is where I fell in love with education! That patient connection where you really get to follow them, listen to their life story, and learn about them was so rewarding to me! This was the most valuable experience I’d ever had.  I also taught classes for awhile for diabetes and worked with gestational mothers. After years in a professional setting, I decided to go back to school and complete my Masters in Applied Nutrition, with a focus in Sports.

What is your personal approach to nutrition and do you have any particular philosophies or protocols that you see as points of differentiation with your approach to nutrition?

Really great question! Everyone has their own style when it comes to nutrition, I really pull from the perspective of functional nutrition in that the patient is at the center. Our rule is to be a guide. We are there to serve and foster in their journey to provide education and ideas to become the best version of themselves.

I believe we can be healthy no matter where we are in the spectrum of our lives. Whether with or without a disease. I like to take the positive approach, try not to focus on if I’m seeing someone with a disease or not. At the end of the day, we are all just working towards optimal health.

Can you walk us through how a typical counseling session would work?

I embrace this tool called the timeline. It’s exactly what it sounds like! When I sit down with clients, I love to hear their stories from birth until now. It may seem silly but it’s such a great way to help the client be a part of the consultation where they’re providing this information and then showing it to them. There are a lot of aha moments uncovered! Patients are able to look back and see those triggers, which compels them to go in certain way.

I then look at labs, which are important but not the tell-all. Then we sit down and talk a lot about food. I want to know everything! What is the pattern, how much do you eat, any foods you don’t want to give up, etc. A lot of times people think when they see a dietician, they have to give up their favorite foods, but it isn’t about that at all. It’s about working your lifestyle into everything.

We talk about what their goals are. Their goals aren’t maybe what the doctors or nutritionist goals are based on the diagnosis I can see in front of me. We talk about where they want to be and then develop a plan from there. I really love the idea of just letting the patient make the goal and then supporting it.

Then hopefully we can do a follow up, because that’s where the magic really happens! I love to watch that transition and growth and walk with them.

We are like cheerleaders, and I want to be there to cheer them on and celebrate their success!

Anything else you want to share about nutrition counseling?

One of things I see a lot or something that patients don’t realize, is that the reason they may feel tired, overweight, bloated, or have brain fog is that they may actually just be nutritionally deficient in something.

As nutritionists, if we can address that, getting to that root cause, you can see a vast improvement. The nice thing about being at the Burick Center, if it’s not a nutritional deficiency, there are other modalities here that can help. This center feeds well into itself in making the patient and environment where they can have their entire self treated – whether through nutrition, IV, lymphatic drainage, etc. It’s a gem, you don’t find that everywhere!

 


 

One-on-one nutrition counseling for the following conditions:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes
  • Hypo/hyperthyroid
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Heart Health
  • Weight management
  • Healthy aging and general wellness
  • Food allergies and sensitives

Wellness Packages are available and recommended for those who desire a program with on-going support and structure. Individuals must be 18 or older to receive any impactful therapies.

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Burick Center Staff MemberTracy Koval

Office Manager

Tracy joined the Burick Center for Health & Wellness in June of 2016 to help patients by managing various aspects of the office. Tracy brings more than three decades of medical office experience as the former office manager of a multi-specialty group and also works on a part-time basis as a Patient Service Rep at a local urgent care center.

Tracy’s favorite part of working in a medical practice is the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them navigate through the maze of health care. She loves being part of the dynamic team at the Burick Center.

Tracy likes to spend time with her family. She has two sons, Mason, who is living and working in Philadelphia as a Sr. Analyst for a marketing firm, and Spencer, who works at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Burick Center Staff MemberTom Baker

Strategy Officer

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Burick Center Staff MemberRena Geesaman

Patient Coordinator

Rena Geesaman is a Registered Medical Assistant who enjoys providing attentive and caring client service. She is very happy to be part of the Burick Center team where patient care is our number one focus.

Her goal is to do everything within her power to ensure every interaction leaves you feeling well cared for and perhaps even delighted.

Rena volunteers by serving as board treasurer for Carlisle Christian Academy. She also helps facilitate a program at River of God Church for single, pregnant girls which provides practical, emotional and spiritual support.

Outside of the office Rena enjoys hiking, traveling, tending to her flower beds, hosting meals on their back deck, enjoying time with dear friends, loving on her little dogs, and best of all spending time with family. Being fairly new grandparents, she and her husband Don are always happy to share pictures of their little grandson, Lucas. Feel free to ask! She considers herself amazingly blessed!

Burick Center Staff MemberDr. Peter Lu

Acupuncturist

Dr. Peter Lu trained and worked in New York City for 15 years and recently moved to central PA. He studied pre-med at Brooklyn College and attended medical school at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. Thereafter he worked in the inner city hospitals of New York City, and lastly had the honor of caring for people with his sister in Stamford, Connecticut.

Dr. Lu greatly appreciates open lines of communication as it pertains to questions you may have about your ailment and how acupuncture could help in the healing process. His intention to address your needs to the best of his ability.

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Burick Center Staff MemberLee Morand

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Lee has had the sincere pleasure of working in the Greater Harrisburg area for over 20 years. She relocated to Harrisburg in 1990 after completing her undergraduate degree in Nutrition Pre-Med at Cornell University. Lee received her first Master’s Degree from Shippensburg University. Her second Master’s Degree, as well as Doctorate, were both from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She uses a Cognitive-Behavioral approach to guide her work with clients across the lifespan. She strongly believes research has shown that changing your thoughts does change your life. Her primary focus with clients is to reduce symptoms by assisting clients to achieve skills they can utilize in their professional, academic, and personal lives.

Burick Center Staff MemberHeather Motter

LMT, Massage Therapist and Back Desk Coordinator

Heather Motter joined the Burick Center team in 2018. A graduate of YTI Career Institute, Heather prides herself on using her highly developed skills to maintain the balance between mind and body. As a licensed massage therapist, she specializes in Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Trigger Point Therapy, and Oncology Massage.

Heather has a vast amount of experience working with a variety of patients. From a simple relaxation massage to a patient dealing with chronic pain, Heather is able to facilitate treatments uniquely designed for each patient’s individual needs.

Heather insists that massage is not just a relaxation luxury. Instead, her philosophy is that massage helps lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle. She encourages everyone to take the time to meet with her to develop a care plan to enhance their overall wellness.

Heather is a resident of Carlisle, where she resides with her fiancé, two sons, and four dogs. When she’s not at work, she can be found outside working on her back yard oasis, or volunteering at Speranza Animal Rescue.

Burick Center Staff MemberFelicia Miller

Nutritionist

Felicia Miller is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist who provides nutritional counseling and education to patients of the Burick Center for Health & Wellness.

She takes the science of nutrition with her extensive knowledge of food and coaching skills to create an easy-to-follow actionable plan for her clients to follow.

Recognizing that there are multiple components to creating a successful wellness plan, she looks at the whole person – their concerns, lifestyle, personality, family, and career. Listening to her patients allows for Felicia to find the root cause of their issue and not simply the symptoms.

“Being healthy goes beyond diet, food is just one of the pillars of a happy, healthy person.” Felicia goes beyond the traditional diet education- she coaches and supports her patients as they learn how to make changes in their day-to-day life.

“I’m passionate about whole foods and healthy living I strive to inspire you to make positive food and lifestyle changes – at any age.”

Burick Center Staff MemberAshley Weibley

Registered Nurse

Ashley is a nurse at Burick Center for Health & Wellness. Her nursing philosophy is one of holistic care. She is a patient advocate committed to clear communication, education and applying critical thinking and decision-making skills to help patients achieve better outcomes. She enjoys providing the highest quality nursing care in a respectful, healing environment. She has a personal commitment to life-long learning through formal education and hands-on experience. She appreciates that compassion along with innovative care is what the Burick Center for Health & Wellness is all about.

Ashley has an Associate’s Degree from Harrisburg Area Community College and a Bachelors Degree from Penn State University.

She is married and has twin boys, She enjoys spending time with her friends, family and pets. She has owned and shown Quarter Horses all of her life and continues to compete in her spare time.