2019 Medical Practitioners Poll: Which Ones Do Mold Group Members Believe Helped Them?


February 27, 2020

By Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.

The Paradigm Change mold practitioners poll allows individuals participating in online mold groups to share information about which medical professionals have been helpful to them.

This is the fourth year for this poll. The 2016 results, the 2017 results and the 2018 results were published in previous Paradigm Change blog articles.

The goal of the poll is to provide recognition to those practitioners who are thought by patients to be particularly helpful and also possibly to gain insights into the practitioner characteristics that are especially valued by patients.


The Poll

This year’s poll question read as follows:

Since starting mold avoidance (of whatever sort), have you consulted personally with any medical practitioners who have been helpful to you in addressing your mold-related illness symptoms?

Please check only those healthcare practitioners who have been at least moderately helpful to you in terms of addressing your chronic illness issues.

If a practitioner who has been helpful to you is not on this list, please write his or her name in the comments.

This poll also will be shared in other mold-oriented groups on Facebook. Please participate in the poll only one time.

The results of the poll will be shared as a Paradigm Change blog article. Here is a link to the 2018 results: 


A list of mold-oriented practitioners may be found here: 


Thank you for your participation in this poll!


Practitioners who received two or more mentions in the 2018 poll were listed as the initial choices for all groups.

The poll was conducted in six different Facebook mold groups. A total of 155 individuals participated.

The poll was first shared in the Mold Avoiders group on November 28, 2019. It then was shared in the other groups a week later.

Individuals were instructed to participate in the poll only one time, and participant names were checked across groups to make sure that no one had participated more than once.

Practitioners were not permitted to vote for themselves.

A total of 98 people in the Mold Avoiders group participated.

The other groups where the poll was posted were Practical Mold Avoidance (29 participants); Toxic Mold, CIRS and Lyme Disease Support Group (10 participants); Surviving Toxic Mold (8 participants); Toxic Mold – Rediscovering Health and Wellness (9 participants); and Toxic Mold Support Group (1 participant).

Only North American practitioners were included in the poll results.

A total of 88 different practitioners were mentioned by participants, and 28 practitioners received at least two mentions.

About 23% of all participants (35 individuals) checked the following response: “I have not had a medical practitioner be at least moderately helpful with my chronic illness issues since starting mold avoidance.”

Following is a summary of the results, as well as some background information about those practitioners receiving the most mentions.


1 (tie). Mary Ackerley, M.D. (12  mentions)

Dr. Mary Ackerley is an integrative psychiatrist specializing in treating mold-related illness.

She is the author of the popular Paradigm Change blog article “Brain on Fire: The Role of Toxic Mold in Triggering Psychiatric Symptoms.”

She did her M.D. at the University of Maryland; her medical residency at Johns Hopkins; and her M.D.H. at the American Medical College of Homeopathy.

She is the current president of the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI).

She practices in Tucson, Arizona.


1 (tie). Daniel Cagua-Koo, M.D. (12 mentions)

Dr. Daniel Cagua-Koo is a physician incorporating integrative, functional and environmental medicine approaches into his practice.

He has experienced severe mold hyperreactivity himself and spent most of 2015 seeking out pristine locations in the western half of the United States while living in a converted cargo trailer.

His experience was that many treatments work much better when patients are clear of exposures (including from small amounts of toxins from cross-contamination and the outdoor air), and he encourages his patients to attend especially diligently to avoidance issues.

Although he treats a variety of biotoxin illness patients, a particular focus is on more severe patients.

He graduated in 2007 from the Tufts University School of Medicine, where he received the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service.

In his prior career, he ran a faith-based non-profit, organizing and serving high-risk Vietnamese youth in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

He works in private practice in Massachusetts.


3 (tie). Keith Berndtson, M.D. (7 mentions)

Dr. Keith Berndtson is an integrative practitioner focusing on mold-related illness issues.

He is the author of the book Seek Wisdom: The Modern Quest for Health and Sustainability and of the peer-reviewed journal article “Review of Evidence for Immune Evasion and Persistent Infection in Lyme Disease.”

He also authored a popular slide presentation on mold toxicity and an article on why mold toxicity has been so invisible for so long.

He wrote the foreword to the biography of mold avoidance pioneer Erik Johnson, called Back from the Edge.

He also participated in a mold avoidance group discussion in 2008-09 that is featured in the book The Role of Toxic Mold in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

He was interviewed in 2015 by High Intensity Health.

He is a graduate of Rush Medical College.

He is currently taking a leave of absence from treating patients.


3 (tie). Ritchie Shoemaker, M.D. (7 mentions)

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has been studying and treating mold illness for nearly 20 years and now trains other physicians in his protocols through the Shoemaker certification program.

He developed a panel of laboratory tests that is now widely used to help to diagnose and evaluate mold illness patients, as well as the HERTSMI-2 environmental test.

He has written a number of books, including State of the Art Answers to 500 Mold Questions (2014); Surviving Mold (2010); Mold Warriors (2005); and Desperation Medicine (2001).

He has written many peer-reviewed journal papers and participated in a number of in-depth interviews. He also was featured in Dave Asprey’s 2015 movie “Moldy.”

He provides information on his website Surviving Mold.

After a long career of treating thousands of biotoxin illness patients, he retired from private practice in early 2013 but continues to offer health coaching to practitioners and patients through telephone discussions.


5 (tie). David Buscher, M.D. (5 mentions)

Dr. David Buscher is an integrative and functional medicine practitioner focusing on complementary, nutritional and environmental aspects of treating health conditions.

His practice is the Northwest Center for Environmental Medicine in Redmond, Washington.

He is board certified by the American Board of Environmental Medicine and is a fellow in the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

He is a past president of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, where he was a long-term faculty member and program director for the basic instructional courses training physicians in the practice of environmental medicine.

His medical degree is from the State University of New York at Buffalo.


5 (tie). Jill Carnahan, M.D. (5 mentions)

Dr. Jill Carnahan is a functional medicine practitioner with a particular focus on mold toxicity, other types of environmental toxicity, and gut-related issues.

Dr. Carnahan has written frequently about using functional medicine to address various health challenges and has participated in numerous interviews on the topic.

She also often discusses her own health history, which included conventional treatment of aggressive breast cancer while in her 20’s, as well as using more natural means to address Crohn’s disease and toxic mold illness issues.

One of her more recent articles was for the Townsend Letter, called “Mold-Related Illness and Mycotoxins – A Unique Opportunity for Functional Medicine Practitioners.”

Dr. Carnahan’s practice is located in Louisville, Colorado.


5 (tie). Janette Hope, M.D. (5 mentions)

Dr. Janette Hope is a physician who has specialized in the treatment of mold illness in a dedicated environmental illness practice for more than 10 years.

She has served as President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and is on the board of directors of the Global Indoor Health Network.

Her peer-reviewed papers on the topic of mold illness include a overview article on clinical treatment and a review article on the health effects of ochratoxin.

She gave the keynote address for the 2015 Building Biology Conference and a short interview for the series Your Environmental Minute. She also was featured in Dave Asprey’s 2015 film “Moldy.”

She graduated from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. Her residency was at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

She practices in Santa Barbara, California.


5 (tie). Dr. Raj Patel, M.D. (5 mentions)

Dr. Raj Patel focuses on mold illness, Lyme disease and autism in his practice. He states that he uses a wide range of treating modalities.

He is mentioned as the treating physician in the Living Clean in a Dirty World blog post “Age 24 and Feeling Fantastic: How Addressing Mold Got Rid of My Lyme Symptoms After a Decade of Illness.”

He recently participated in a video interview with Better Health Guy and also did another interview with him several years ago.

Dr. Patel is a graduate of Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey.

He practices in Foster City, California.


5 (tie). Werner Vosloo, N.D. (5 mentions)

Dr. Werner Vosloo is a naturopathic and homeopathic physician located in Portland, Oregon.

His practice, Restorative Health Clinic, focuses on patients with chronic conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and Lyme disease complex, as well as related conditions such as mold and biotoxin illness.

He is board certified by the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine and is also certified in the Surviving Mold Shoemaker Protocol.

He holds a doctorate in natural medicine (ND) from the National University of Natural Medicine and a master’s degree in homeopathy (MHom) from Technikon Natal, Durban, South Africa.


10 (tie). Andrew Heyman, M.D. (4 mentions)

Dr. Andrew Heyman currently is the program director of integrative medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

He also treats patients in his own private practice, The Virginia Center for Health and Wellness, located in Aldie, VA.

In addition, he is the chief medical officer for the Metabolic Code Enterprise, a group of clinical experts focusing on developing wellness, lifestyle and nutrition programs.

He is the online editor for the integrative medicine section of the Journal of Men’s Health and the editor-in-chief of the Internet Journal of Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine.

He interviewed Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker in a podcast presentation in 2014.

Dr. Heyman obtained his M.D. as well as a masters in health services administration from the University of Michigan, and also has training in traditional Chinese medicine and shiatsu.


10 (tie). Neil Nathan, M.D. (4 mentions)

Dr. Neil Nathan is a physician focusing on complex medical conditions who has been treating mold illness patients for more than a decade.

He is the author of a book called Mold and Mycotoxins: Current Evaluation and Treatment 2016. 

(A review of the book is on the Living Clean in a Dirty World blog.)

His newest book is called Toxic: Heal Your Body from Mold Toxicity, Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Chronic Environmental Illness.

Dr. Nathan collaborated with Scott Forsgren and Dr. Wayne Anderson, N.D., on an article published in Townsend Letter in July 2014. The title was “Mold and Mycotoxins: Often Overlooked Factors in Chronic Lyme Disease.”

His interview with Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker was presented as a Paradigm Change blog post in 2014.

Dr. Nathan also participated in a podcast interview with Better Health Guy.

His M.D. is from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

He practices in Redwood Valley, California.


10. Sonia Rapaport, M.D. (4 mentions)

Dr, Sonia Rapaport is a holistic and integrative physician focusing on mold-related illness.

She received her M.D. from the University of Virginia.

Her website is at Haven Medical.

She practices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


10 (tie). Robin Thomson, N.D.  (4 mentions)

Dr. Robin Thomson is a naturopathic and Shoemaker-certified physician, focusing on treating patients with biotoxin and other chronic illnesses.

She received a grant to study tick-borne disease treatments with Dr. Bernard Raxlen in New York City, and now says that mold avoidance and treatment has allowed her to avoid the use of antibiotics for the large majority of her patients.

She graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Her website is at Trillium Integrative Medicine.

She practices in Bozeman, Montana.


14 (tie). Neil Hirschenbein, M.D. (3 mentions)

Dr. Neil Hirschenbein is a comprehensive medicine physician practicing in La Jolla, California.

He is certified in the Shoemaker Protocol for treating mold-related illness, and is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology.

He also holds certifications in Holistic and Integrative Medicine, Anti-Aging Medicine, and several nutritional areas (Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Nutritional Specialist).

Dr. Hirschenbein attended medical school at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and completed his residency and fellowship at UC San Diego.

He also has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University.


14 (tie). Scott McMahon, M.D. (3 mentions)

Dr. Scott McMahon was the first doctor to become Shoemaker-certified.

His interest in mold illness began when he identified a school where many of the children were suffering from what he realized were mold-related symptoms.

He previously completed a pediatric residency at Duke University Medical Center and has maintained a particular clinical and research interest on the effects of mold toxicity on children.

He was featured in the 2015 movie “Moldy,” produced by Dave Asprey.

His medical degree is from the Creighton University School of Medicine.

He practices in Roswell, New Mexico.


14 (tie). Kellyn Milani, N.D. (3 mentions)

Dr. Kellyn Milani is a licensed naturopathic physician and primary care physician in Montana and California.

She is certified in the Shoemaker protocol and specializes in mold toxin illness, Lyme disease and other difficult-to treat conditions.

She received her medical degree from Bastyr University and her clinical training in family medicine at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington.

Her current practice is in Auburn, California.


14 (tie). Steve Nelson, Pharm.D., Ph.D.  (3 mentions)

Dr. Steve Nelson is a naturopathic and holistic practitioner focusing much of his attention on difficult-to-treat chronic illness cases.

He has written many academic and clinical papers, and is featured in a chapter of Suzanne Somers’ book Breakthrough.

He has participated in several video interviews.

He holds a Ph.D. in clinical nutrition from Indiana University; a clinical Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Wisconsin; and a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin.

His practice, Helix Wellness, is located in Palm Desert, California.


14 (tie). William Weirs, M.D. (3 mentions)

Dr. William Weirs practices at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 

He also is a fellow-in-training with the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and a fellow-elect in the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

Previously he practiced emergency medicine.

His medical degree is from the Mercer University School of Medicine.

He practices in North Charleston, South Carolina


Practitioners with Two Mentions

Burton Berkson, M.D., Ph.D. (Las Cruces, NM)

Bela Chheda, M.D. (Walnut Creek, CA)

Gordon Crozier, D.O. (Lake Mary, FL)

Lauren Deville, N.M.D. (Tucson, AZ)

Margaret DiTulio, A.P.R.N. (Atkinson, NH)

Michael Gray, M.D., M.P.H. (Benson, AZ)

Cathryn Harbor, M.D. (Lexington, VA)

Jessica Jellison, M.D. (Overland Park, KS)

Jennifer L. Smith, N.M.D. (Scottsdale, AZ)

Alan Vinitsky, M.D. (Gaithersburg, MD)


Practitioners with One Mention

Wayne Anderson, N.D. (Santa Rosa, CA)

Ellen Antoine, D.O. (Carmel, IN)

Robin Bernhoft, M.D. (Ojai, CA)

Alex Bingham, M.D. (Waltham, MA)

Teresa Birkmeier-Fredal, M.D. (Rochester Hills, MI)

Joseph Brewer, M.D. (Kansas City, MO)

Corey Deacon, D.N.M. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

James Dillard, M.D. (New York, NY)

Christine Duke, D.V.M. (Hickory, NC)

Thalia Farshchian, D.N.M. (Foster City, CA)

Clifford Fetters, M.D. (Carmel, IN)

Timothy Fior, M.D. (Lombard, IL)

Kristine Gedroic, M.D. (Morristown, NJ)

Irene Grant, M.D. (Tarrytown, NY)

Dale Guyer, M.D. (Indianapolis, IN)

Phyllis Heffner, M.D. (Columbia, MD)

Anne Hill, N.D. (Portland, OR)

Karima Hirani, M.D. (Culver City, CA)

Douglas Husbands, D.C., C.C.N. (San Carlos, CA)

Kelly Ingellman, M.S.N., F.N.P.-B.C. (Ridgeland, MS)

Stephen Irestone, D.C. (Burnsville, MN)

Randolf James, M.D. (Woodland Park, CO)

Lysander Jim, M.D. (Pasadena, CA)

Karen Johnson, M.D. (Big Island, HI)

Al Johnson, D.O. (Richardson, TX)

Ami Kapadia, M.D. (Portland, OR)

Rebecca Keith, M.D. (Palatine, IL)

Michael Kehoe, P.A., Ph.D. (Denver, CO)

Darrell Kilcup, D.C. (Phoenix, AZ)

Robert Krakovitz, M.D. (Aspen, CO)

Tracie Leonhardt, D.O. (Largo, FL)

Sheryl Leventhal, M.D. (Valley Cottage, NY)

Allan Lieberman, M.D. (North Charleston, SC)

Becky Mauldin, N.D. (Douglasville, GA)

Michael McClenahan, PA-C (Carmichael, CA)

Marlene Merritt, D.O.M., M.S., C.N.S. (Austin, TX)

Will Mitchell, D.O.M., M.S., C.N.S. (Austin, TX)

Martin Mulders, M.D. (Wayne, PA)

Amy Nett, M.D. (Menlo Park, CA)

Stephen Nitz, M.D. (Rockford, IL)

Kelly Owens, N.D. (Portland, OR)

Carl Paige, M.D. (Louisville, KY)

Terry Pfau, D.O. (Las Vegas, NV)

Sunny Raleigh, D.O. (Irvine, CA)

Mary E. Ray, D.O. (St. Augustine, FL)

William Rea, M.D. (Since Deceased)

Kerry Schaefer, M.D. (Portland, OR)

Mary Shackleton, N.D. (Boulder, CO)

Mary Ellen Shannon, M.D. (Oceanside, CA)

Mark Sivieri, M.D. (Columbia, MD)

Roland Solensky, M.D. (Corvallis, OR)

Sara Stapleton, L.Ac., M.S., Dipl. O.M. (Austin, TX)

Ananda Stiegler, N.D. (Eugene, OR)

Kam Tecaya, D.N.M. (Tucson, AZ)

Craig Tanio, M.D. (Hollywood, FL)

Susan Tanner, M.D. (Atlanta, GA)

Morton Teich, M.D. (New York City, NY)

Wai To, D.O. (Winter Park, FL)

John Whitcomb, MD (Brookfield, WI)

Melissa Young, M.D. (Cleveland, OH)


General Comments

Please note that the results of this poll should not be taken to suggest that the individuals who received the most votes are definitely the best mold illness practitioners out there.

There are many reasons that a practitioner providing quality care to mold illness patients may not have come up with very many mentions or even any mentions in this poll.

For instance, practitioners may be relatively new and not yet have built up their practices; may be serving a patient population consisting mostly of people who do not participate in mold groups; may serve a limited number of new patients or patients in general; or may have patients who just happened not to see the poll when it was posted.

Note also that the methodology of the poll limited responses to those who had had positive experiences with these clinicians. Insofar as some mold group participants had seen clinicians but did not find them to have been helpful, this would not have been reflected in the poll results.



Please understand that the listing of physicians and other medical practitioners in this blog post does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by anyone associated with Paradigm Change. We do not suggest that individuals actually become patients of these professionals or follow their treatment recommendations based on their inclusion on this list. Mold illness is an emerging area, not all patients may benefit from the same treatments, and our knowledge about these practitioners is limited (in some cases, based on a single reported experience from someone who we do not personally know). Practitioners listed here use a wide range of treatment modalities, most of which may not be appropriate for all situations. The information provided through the sharing of these poll results is at most provided only to give patients a starting point with regard to doing their own due diligence in terms of learning about and interviewing practitioners that might be appropriate for their situations. Best of luck to all with regard to finding a practitioner appropriate for your situation.

Suggestions for corrections to this article may be sent to info at paradigmchange dot me.


About the Author

Lisa Petrison is the executive director of Paradigm Change. She holds a Ph.D. in marketing and social psychology from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


About Paradigm Change

Paradigm Change is an organization with the goal of providing information about the role of mold toxins in chronic illness.

Information on contacting most of the practitioners listed in this article can be found on the Mold Illness Practitioners page of the Paradigm Change website.

Links to articles by and interviews with many of the practitioners mentioned here are in another Paradigm Change article, titled Clinical Treatment of Mold Illness.

Those signing up for the Paradigm Change newsletter will receive a free PDF copy of the popular book about the remarkable life of mold avoidance pioneer Erik Johnson, called Back from the Edge. 

An introduction to a variety of mold avoidance topics is provided in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance, written by Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson. The book is available for free to those signing up for occasional emails on mold avoidance topics from Mold Avoiders and also is sold on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

Those interested in pursuing the approach to mold avoidance discussed in the Beginner’s Guide may want to consider joining the Mold Avoiders standalone forum or the Mold Avoiders Facebook group.

Questions about mold avoidance may be asked only in the standalone forum (not in the Facebook group), and members must be approved participants in order to post or comment there.

This article includes Amazon affiliate links. A small portion of the money from purchases resulting from clicking on these links may be directed to Paradigm Change and will be used to provide more information on mold-related illness through the Paradigm Change websites.

Links on this page are in orange (no underlining).

Thanks very much for reading this blog.


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