Dr. Lisa Fortes-Schramm has been practicing medicine since 2018 and is currently accepting new patients at San Jose Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Fortes-Schramm began her academic career in psychology and addiction studies thinking she was going to be an alcohol and drug rehabilitation counselor. After completing her internships, she realized that counseling did not cover the depth at which she desired to aid patients on their journey to health. This is when she discovered Naturopathic medicine…
During her time as a naturopathic intern, Dr. Fortes-Schramm began to fall in love with the cardiovascular system (the heart, the vessels, and the blood that flows through them). When she learned that heart disease and stroke cause more death than any other illness in the world, her interest turned into her specialty.
She spoke with her mother about this decision and their strong family history of heart disease. Her paternal grandfather had a fatal heart attack when Dr. Fortes-Schramm was only 2 years old, so she was never able to know him. Her mom, who has an MBA and BA in Dietetics, suffered a massive stroke when Dr. Fortes-Schramm was in 7th grade. Her mom had to relearn all her reading and math skills while the kids were going through junior high and high school. Dr. Fortes-Schramm’s dad suffered with heart rhythm issues from a childhood bout of rheumatic heart disease.
During Dr. Fortes-Schramm’s fourth year in medical school she began experiencing chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath. This presented her with the opportunity to be the patient and experience the myriad of testing necessary to properly diagnose a cardiovascular issue. Turns out, she had similar heart rhythm issues as her dad, but hers were uncovered by inadequate stress management and a drastic reduction in her exercise routine due to the intensity of her education. Dr. Fortes-Schramm was able to use a short course of western medicine, a good deal of naturopathic medicine (supplements, herbs, homeopathy) and some lifestyle changes to correct her heart rhythm condition.
A background in psychology plays a key role in Dr. Fortes-Schramm’s cardiovascular specialty. She knows that some of the precursors to heart problems are found in the mind. Brain chemistry and gut chemistry (also known as “the brain below”) both contribute to regulating the heart’s nutrition and electrical function. It’s possible to avoid many heart conditions by making changes at this level. Toss in a bit of dietary change and heart focused exercise, and the majority of heart problems can be avoided! (She gets super excited about this!)
Dr. Fortes-Schramm loves team sports. She started playing softball at age 5 and was able to play on her high school and undergrad college teams. In junior high she added in volleyball and basketball. She would often run out of the house after family dinner to go practice batting off a tee or shooting free-throws at the grade school around the corner.
During a junior high basketball team party Dr. Fortes-Schramm’s back was severely injured on a trampoline. She spent 6 months in a back brace. In undergrad, she experienced an inner knee ligament tear that took a year to rehab. Both of those injuries have had long-lasting effects. Her mom, who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since childhood, passed that along to her children.
Naturopathic medicine has given Dr. Fortes-Schramm a multitude of tools to keep her joints healthy and her body active, as well as greatly reducing the chronic pain she used to live with. She knows what it’s like to rely on pain medication, because you don’t know what else to do. It is one of her great joys to teach patients new ways to reduce pain, and often live pain-free.
Dr. Fortes-Schramm grew up in Tempe, Arizona and learned to swim as a toddler. She likes to say that when you’re born under the Arizona sun you go straight from your mom’s belly into a pool. Now that she lives in Santa Cruz, she has started to learn an ocean water sport: bodyboarding. Water is an excellent healer of pain. She also practices Taichi and Kungfu to keep her heart beating properly and her joints moving smoothly.
When she’s not practicing medicine, Dr. Fortes-Schramm spends her time with her spouse, Petra, and their cat, Marilyn. She also loves to garden and finds the art of woodworking and wood-burning highly meditative.
Dr. Lisa Fortes-Schramm’s favorite thing to say to patients is “Healthy Heart, Long Life!”
She is a graduate of Bethany College (formerly located in Scotts Valley, CA) and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR. She is a professional member of the American Heart Association and the California Naturopathic Doctor’s Association, as well as the American Pharmacy Association. She is on the CNDA’s Realize A Healthy California Mobile Clinic sub-committee.
If you’d like to work with Dr. Lisa Fortes-Schramm, request a free 10 minute phone consultation today.