Dr. Susan L. Marra
ND (Naturopathic Doctor)
MS (Master of Science Psychology)
Fellow - Metabolic & Nutritional Medicine
Fellow - Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine
Dr. Susan L. Marra is an adult and pediatric Lyme specialist with over 23 years of experience as a clinician, and over 30 years in the health care industry. She has trained with world-leading Lyme disease specialists (Dr. Richard Horowitz and Dr. Charles Ray Jones) on the east coast and has practiced both on the east (Connecticut) and west coasts (Seattle). She has a BS and MS in Psychology, with an emphasis in Psychobiology, and received her ND degree from Bastyr University. Prior to attending Bastyr, she worked at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and at the University of Pennsylvania in brain and behavior research. Dr. Marra has been an ILADS member since 2001.
She has extensive experience in treating tick-borne illness in both children and adults, and uses an integrated medicine approach to help her patients heal. She was the first Naturopathic doctor to receive an ILADS preceptorship from the Turn the Corner Foundation where she trained with Dr. Horowitz in Hyde Park, NY.
Dr. Marra believes that naturally occurring peptides will eventually replace pharmaceutical medications. Peptides are strings of less than 50 amino acids, and are an emerging therapy in medicine, and may be useful for immune modulation, increasing longevity, decreasing neuroinflammation, and enhancing cognition. They are generally made by a compounding pharmacy and can be taken orally most often or via sub-Q injections. Peptides are easily administered and can optimize an existing treatment plan for wellness. Generally, they are very safe and yield few side effects.
The new era of genomics will help identify risk factors in people who have a more difficult time healing from tick-borne illness. She shows compassion to a community of people who have been misdiagnosed and misunderstood for several decades.
Dr. Marra has been successful in overcoming her own battle with Lyme disease when she contracted it in 2001 while living and practicing in Westport Connecticut. Of note, she never found a tick bite and did not have a bullseye rash.
She is also Board Certified and a Fellow in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and is a Fellow in Metabolic Medicine through the Metabolic Medical Institute. She is also recently certified in nutritional genomics consulting through the Nutrigenetic Research Institute. Dr. Marra uses a variety of skills to help her patients heal from tick-borne illness, and believes that nutrigenomics is paving the way for a better understanding of the epigenetic environmental factors that contribute to people becoming ill with tick-borne illness. She regularly attends seminars, workshops, and conferences to advance her knowledge and remains at the forefront of this new era of medicine.
In April of 2021, Dr. Marra was asked to be a Medical Advisory Board member for Global Lyme Alliance (1 of 4). The other board members include Dr. Kenneth Liegner, Dr. Leo Galland, and Dr. Steven Bock. She is thrilled to now have the opportunity to contribute to high-level decision-making regarding future research money appropriation for tick-borne diseases. This opportunity will allow her to express a unique perspective as a Naturopathic physician to an audience that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
In July 2022, Dr. Marra was elected to the board of Dr. Richard Horowitz’s non-profit research organization, MSIDS Research Foundation. She will join 6-10 other prominent physicians and scientists to initiate and develop cutting edge research projects with the hope of finding a cure for vector borne diseases.
Dr. Marra currently uses a combination of naturally occurring peptides, herbs, vitamins, antibiotics, and German biologic medicine to address the complicated symptom picture that Lyme patients usually present. Generally, her patients do quite well and return to a productive life.
This includes the use of a sophisticated integrated systems approach to healing by utilizing an individualized combination of the following:
- Advanced Laboratory Testing
- Anticoagulation Therapy
- Antimicrobial Therapy
- Antifungal Therapy
- Antiviral Therapy
- Anti-aging Medicine
- Botanical Medicine
- Detox Strategies
- Diet Therapy
- Enzyme Therapy
- Hormone Balancing
- Immune Support
- Neuroendocrine Immunology
- Personalized Medicine
- Therapeutic Nutrition
Dr. Marra on Tick Borne Illness
Dr. Marra's Philosophy
In the last two decades, the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, and other areas of the world, have experienced a rapid emergence of zoonotic diseases at an alarming rate. Multiple factors including global climate change, escalating deer and grey squirrel populations, human urban development encroachment on feral animal habitats, pollution, excessive EMF exposure, and the human misuse of energy and waste management, have given rise to the 21st-century global epidemic of Lyme Disease, a perfect "storm." Even the Centers for Disease Control suspects that there may be as much as 6-12 times the number of reported Borreliosis/Lyme disease cases in the United States that have not been recognized and/or diagnosed. This is a national (and global) tragedy given that scientific evidence repeatedly demonstrates that early antibiotic intervention for tick-borne illness halts disease progression and perhaps even eradicates it.
A 30-year career in medicine and science that emphasizes the need for 1) integrating science and intuition, 2) utilizing a combination of Eastern and Western medicine philosophy, as well as alternative and conventional treatment modalities, 3) interfacing with other disciplines that shed new insights on old problems, and 4) exhibiting compassion and mindfulness for the needs of others.
The following are principles of healing, treatment, and conduct that Dr. Marra and her staff strive for in delivering healthcare to patients:
- To deliver safe and effective healthcare
- To use a combination of wisdom and experience
- To participate in continuing education to remain at the forefront of information about the role tick-borne diseases play in chronic illness
- To use an integrated medicine approach to healthcare for tick-borne illness
- To maintain appropriate standards and boundaries for personal and patient health
- To never lose sight of individual differences
- To utilize insight and instinct whenever possible
With respect specifically to tick-borne illness, Dr. Marra's core treatment philosophy includes:
- Decrease the pathogen load
- Decrease inflammation
- Degrade the biofilm
- Support the immune system
- Support general organ function where necessary (i.e., thyroid, adrenals, female and male hormones)
- Thin the blood
- Detoxify the body
- Rejuvenate and repair diseased tissues
Dr. Marra's hope is that in the next decade (known as the “Decade of the Microbe”), we find therapeutic agents with new mechanisms of action that complement existing natural and pharmacologic treatments, which eliminate the unnecessary suffering that Borreliosis/Lyme Disease patients experience. New and ongoing national and international research efforts offer promising insights into future therapeutics for tick-borne illness.
"Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health are the essential components of well being, which are constantly challenged in the modern world. Nature is the only healer that likely touches all of those human aspects, and comforts during times of distress and illness." SLM