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Celebrating Women of Color in Veriheal’s Doctor Network

Samantha Velez

by Samantha Velez

May 10, 2021 11:19 am ET Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes
Celebrating Women of Color in Veriheal’s Doctor Network

We’re excited to shout out five Women of Color in Veriheal’s doctor and cannabis coach network. Their commitment to helping patients navigate medical cannabis and wellness is truly motivational. Check out our Q&A with each of these medical marijuana professionals below. 

Dr. Amber Jade Ellington, ND, RYT 

Amber Jade EllingtonDr. Amber Jade Ellington is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor with a Bachelor’s in Biology and is a registered yoga teacher. She is based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, and is passionate about wellness, self-care, nutrition, botanical herbs, the mind-body connection, etc. 
Veriheal: “Why are you passionate about medical cannabis?” Amber: “I have witnessed firsthand its amazing healing abilities in hundreds of people with varying ailments, [and of various] ages, races, and backgrounds. I want people to know that medical cannabis is worth exploring as a natural medicine for healing themselves. Some conditions I’ve seen it help immensely with include insomnia, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, cancer, nausea, lack of appetite, and chronic pain such as headaches, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and so much more.” 

Veriheal: “What barriers have you overcome to get to where you are today?” 

Amber: “I had to become more self-empowered and self-confident to continue striving for my dreams against negative forces. Every obstacle or barrier is a chance to grow and come out stronger on the other side.” 

Theressa Williams, Family Nurse Practitioner 

Theressa Williams Theressa Williams is a board-certified family nurse practitioner in Baltimore at Jade Health and Wellness, LLC where she is currently working on adding mental health services. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Association. 

Veriheal: “How did you become involved with medical cannabis?” 

Theressa: “I became involved with medical cannabis after doing research and realizing the good results patients had after using it. Many patients were able to use cannabis instead of depending on medications that were not helpful for issues such as pain, insomnia, depression, and muscle spasms just to name a few. Cannabis helps decrease pain, inflammation, helps improve sleep, and so much more. I am glad to be able to give patients another alternative (cannabis) as a treatment option for various conditions.”  

Veriheal: “What barriers have you overcome to get to where you are today?” 

Theressa: I grew up in an area where I saw violence, teenage pregnancies, and an opioid epidemic. I knew I wanted better in life, which pushed me to be an A student in high school, go to college to earn a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, then go back years later for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I overcame being a full-time nurse, mother to a toddler, and full-time student while being able to graduate early with honors having a 4.0 GPA while obtaining my MSN-FNP degree.” 

Dr. Yanetsi Flores Landa, Pediatrician 

Dr. Yanetsi Flores Landa is a board-certified pediatrician and medical aesthetics doctor in Florida and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She completed her medical degree at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. 

Veriheal: “Why are you passionate about medical cannabis?” 

Yanetsi: “I am passionate about medical cannabis because I have seen its medicinal value through my patients’ experience with it. I have seen how plant medicine (in this case medical cannabis) has helped relieve the physical and mental pain in so many of my patients. I got involved with medical cannabis less than a year ago, and I was introduced to this field of medicine through two other doctors. I was inspired by them and felt a calling to join and help as many patients as possible.” 

Veriheal: “What barriers have you overcome to get to where you are today?” 

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Yanetsi: I have overcome coming from another country and having to learn the language. I have always put my career first, and due to the time and effort dedicated to achieving my professional goals, I missed out on a lot of family time. I am the only doctor in my family. In addition, like many other professional women out there, I have had to delay starting a family.” 

Dr. Simi Ahuja, Family Physician 

Simi Ahujia Dr. Simi Ahuja is a board-certified family physician who works with plants at a very intimate level and teaches patients about balancing mind, body, and soul. She completed her degree at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and her residency through UWHealth Family Medicine Program (UWMadison’s rural track). 

Veriheal: “Why are you passionate about medical cannabis?” 

Simi: “Healing is my passion and the main reason I became a board-certified family physician. Cannabis has a great potential to heal when used with the right intention…If we want to experience the greatest healing benefit a plant has to offer, then it is important to cultivate a relationship with those plants, whether it’s a vegetable or medical marijuana. One way to do this is by expressing an interest through raising your awareness about how the plant acts in your body. Does it evoke an emotional reaction compelling you to clear that which no longer serves you? Or does it help you to focus?… Cultivating mindfulness is important when coming into contact with the energy of the plant, and is especially important with regard to cannabis when used medically.” 

Veriheal: “What barriers have you overcome to get to where you are today?” 

Simi: “I have overcome the stigma attached to cannabis that is generated by a political force keeping those who truly need it away from the plant. Even now the stringent regulations make it difficult to prescribe it to patients whom I feel truly need it. Being a trauma practitioner and an expert, I can say that most people have some sort of intrapersonal trauma, which is not addressed by the DSM-IV in terms of PTSD. Trauma can exist in subtle situations and runs our lives in subtle yet bold ways. Until we understand the depth of the trauma it makes it challenging to reap the benefits of the plant that has stepped forward to help humanity when used responsibly.” 

Ayako Monsell, Cannabis Coach 

Ayako MonsellAyako Monsell, also known as the Hemp Fairy, is a cannabis educator who focuses on rare cannabinoids, terpenes, and equity and inclusion for all. She serves as the Secretary of Wellness Education for the Cannabis Advocates of Nevada (WeCan702) and is a member of Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community Nevada (CEICNV). 

Veriheal: “Why are you passionate about medical cannabis?” 

Ayako: “I am passionate about educating others about regulated cannabis, because I watched so many, including myself, walk out of dispensaries or the doctor’s office with no idea how to use cannabis effectively. Terpenes, which give the strains its different effects, made a lot more sense to my analytical mind than the idea of buying only ‘indica or sativa,’ which could still leave me sleepy during the day or anxious at night.” 

Veriheal: “What barriers have you overcome to get to where you are today?” 

Ayako: One of the biggest barriers I overcome each day in the cannabis industry as a woman of color is simply using my given name. I’ve had many so-called professionals refuse to learn or use the name Ayako. I am multicultural whether or not others can pronounce it correctly.” 

Thank you to these amazing women for their work in wellness and medical cannabis. For those who are currently pursuing higher education, check out Veriheal’s Innovation in Cannabis Scholarship. If you are a high school senior or college student pursuing the study of cannabis, don’t hesitate to check it out. If you have any questions about medical cannabis, feel free to reach out today to Veriheal to set up an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor or a cannabis coach in our network.

Post Your Comments

Ryan R Brown says:

May 12, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Congratulations to all of the women helping to create a better world. I’m inspired and I wish you all more success

Chante Dukes says:

May 21, 2021 at 11:01 am

Ms Ayako Monsell is not a woman of color . Though I understand the subject is about why they’re so passionate about medical marijuana you still need to adhere to the subtitle which brings people to looking at the subject it was celebrating women of color. I’m not racist I’m just conscious. So even though her words have value ,she doesn’t belong under the header so let’s just keep it real.😉 so with that being said. I’m sure there’s enough black and brown women that could have been selected to have their commentary spotlighted. I did enjoy her commentary as well.

Lo says:

May 21, 2021 at 11:14 am

We won’t be splitting hairs over this, but she does belong and we celebrate her as a multicultural WOC. She is of Asian descent which is included under the POC umbrella.


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