Vision and Mission


The widespread adoption of a healthcare model that reverses the global epidemic of chronic disease and supports the development of vibrant longevity.


  • To shape and mobilize the next generation of Functional Medicine for both patients and practitioners through innovation, education, inspiration, collaboration and empowerment

Guiding principles:

  • The patient must be at the center of any health care approach
  • Healthcare requires a collaborative care team, with the patient and his support group at the center
  • We need the best of allopathic, integrative and systems approaches to optimize patient health
  • Understanding and addressing root causes can prevent or reverse chronic disease
  • Dietary and lifestyle factors are major determinants of health
  • Human ecology—including social, built and natural environments—is an integral part of creating lasting human health
  • The health of future generations will be determined by how we act today

About Dr. Kara Fitzgerald – The Sandy Hook Clinic

The Sandy Hook Clinic (SHC) is located in the Sandy Hook Village section of Newtown, Connecticut in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The clinic is housed on the fourth floor of a rehabilitated old brick mill building, overlooking the Pootatuck River. Visitors find the clinic setting to be beautiful, centering and relaxing. Indeed, perched up above the river nestled in the Rocky Glen State Park, it feels a bit like being in a tree house.

We would love to have you visit, and below you’ll find directions and accommodations. However, if you are unable to make it to the clinic, we offer telemedicine-education (“telemed/ed”) as an alternative.

Making an Appointment

Coming to Sandy Hook is a great option if you can do so, at least for your preliminary visit, and annually thereafter. Unlike Telemed/Ed, we can diagnose and directly treat you. You can also submit all costs to insurance for reimbursement. You may be able to tax deduct what isn’t covered by insurance.

Telemed/Ed may be a good option for you if you are unable to come to Connecticut. Although we cannot diagnose or treat you unless you come to the Clinic in person, we can complete a highly detailed investigation, including a history with laboratory analysis. From this body of information, we will create a comprehensive plan of treatment suggestions for you to discuss with your local clinician. If you choose to do so, you may continue to follow-up with us. Telemed/Ed is great option for some individuals unable or unwilling to travel. Skype tele-video conferencing is available and recommended.

Nutrition is the most powerful tool integrative doctors have at their disposal. I would argue that the appropriate dietary program can account for up to 80% of an individual’s success. Thus, for most of us, getting our diet properly “dialed in,” maybe more effective than any other single intervention! Nutrition consultations are great support, and very reasonably priced. Learn about nutrition phone consults HERE. Skype tele-video conferencing available and recommended

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and evaluating the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.


Functional Medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of disease.

  • Functional Medicine offers a powerful new operating system and clinical model for assessment, treatment, and prevention of chronic disease to replace the outdated and ineffective acute-care models carried forward from the 20th century.
  • Functional Medicine incorporates the latest in genetic science, systems biology, and understanding of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the emergence and progression of the disease.

Dr. Fitzgerald received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Physician, Clinic Director

Dr. Fitzgerald received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

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Dr. Kenneth Litwin received his medical degree from Allegheny University of the Health Sciences and has been in practice for 19 years. Dr. Litwin specializes in Internal Medicine.

Kenneth A. Litwin, MD FACP IFMCP, is a highly respected, board-certified Internal Medicine and Functional Medicine physician.

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Stacey Cantor-Adkins

Stacey Cantor-Adkins MD, MS, IFMCP, received her MD degree from Stanford University, and then trained as a cardiac anesthesiologist

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Elizabeth Bird, MD FAAP

Elizabeth Bird, MD, FAAP, IFMCP, graduated from The Yale University School of Medicine where she was awarded both the American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow Memorial Award and New England Pediatric Society Prize.

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Darisa Espinal

Darisa Espinal, ND, MS, received her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport. She earned her BS in Biology from the University of Hartford and completed her Master of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. She is currently licensed as a naturopathic physician in the State of Connecticut.

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Dr. Rachel Surprenant

Dr. Rachel Surprenant is a licensed naturopathic physician with a focus in functional medicine approaches to women’s health.

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Our Nutrition Team

All nutrition appointments are available remotely, conveniently fitting into your life and your schedule no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

All of our Functional Nutritionists are trained and experienced in Functional Medicine through our clinic and the Institute for Functional Medicine. Your nutritionist will help you uncover the root causes of your issues, using detailed histories and functional laboratory testing (often included in your package), and create a highly-tailored Functional Medicine plan just for you.

Our nutrition team also has the benefit of ready access to myself and Dr. Litwin during our weekly Clinical Grand Rounds, to consult on your case should that be needed.

Lara Zakaria RPh MS CNS

Lara Zakaria PharmD MSc CNS CN CDN is a Nutritionist, specializing in Functional Medicine. She uses scientific evidence as well as positive psychology to inspire patients to use whole food, herbs and lifestyle modification to achieve their health goals.

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Gretchen DePalma, MS CNS

Gretchen DePalma, MS CNS Nutritionist   Book an Appointment   Contact Phone: (203) 304-9502 Email:   Social links: Biography Gretchen DePalma, MS CNS, is a Certified Nutrition Specialist. She holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from…

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Jessica Kovalchik, DC MS CNS LDN

Jessica Kovalchik, DC MS CNS LDN CDN Nutritionist   Book an Appointment   Contact Phone: (203) 304-9502 Email:   Social links: Biography Jessica Kovalchik, DC MS CNS LDN CDN, is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Chiropractor. She received her Doctorate of Chiropractic in 2011 and her Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition in…

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Our Administrative Team

We have a fabulous, customer service driven team waiting to assist you.

Please do not hesitate to seek out support or guidance regarding any of your questions or concerns. We love to hear your compliments, too!

Karen L. Herb, MS CNS LDN

Chief Operations Officer

Karen L. Herb, MS CNS LDN holds a master’s degree in Functional Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, CT.

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Karen Frank, CPC, our Sandy Hook Billings Manager is responsible for the timely and accurate preparation and distribution of customer invoices for the company and its subsidiaries. In addition, her department handles special invoicing as some joint-venture related invoicing.

Chief Financial Officer

Karen Frank has been working with Dr. Fitzgerald since 2009. She began her coding career in Long Island with the North Shore Health System.

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Rhonda is energetic, organized and motivated individual who handles all aspects of communication that leads and inspires everyone in the office at Sandy Hook.

Office Manager

Rhonda is a dependable team player with strong analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills.

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Contact The Sandy Hook Clinic

Our Location & Directions