About The Team
Patricia Fitzgerald, Director and Founder
Patricia Fitzgerald, D.A.O.M., D.H.M., L.Ac., C.C.N. founded the Santa Monica Wellness Center in 1994 after being in private practice for several years. She has a Doctorate Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, a Master’s Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine, and a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine. She is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, as well as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the author of the best-selling award winning book, The Detox Solution: The Missing Link to Radiant Health, Abundant Energy, Ideal Weight, and Peace of Mind. This groundbreaking book has received rave reviews from the press as well as medical professionals. For more information, visit detoxsolution.com
Dr. Fitzgerald is a member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the California State Oriental Medical Association. She serves on the Professional Advisory Council of the American Holistic Veterinary Association Foundation and is on the board of Creature Kind, an animal rescue organization.. She has served on the faculty of Yo San University and was the Wellness Editor of The Huffington Post from 2008-2016. Dr. Fitzgerald also served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Emperor's College for five years. Dr. Fitzgerald is also a volunteer with Los Angeles Animal Services and is dedicated to supporting the animal rescue community in matching homeless pets with loving hearts and homes.
Passionate and interested in integrative health since she was a teenager, Dr. Fitzgerald has attended countless seminars and workshops, and is often a featured speaker. She enjoys spreading the message of health and wellness, and feels strongly about educating and empowering her patients so that they may enjoy optimal health.
Lauren Howard, Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist, Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine
Lauren’s interest in Chinese Medicine began when she was a patient herself. After seeing positive changes in her own health and vitality, she enrolled in the prestigious Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, where she graduated with honors in 2004. Lauren has been an integral part of the Santa Monica Wellness Center team ever since.
At a time when many doctors are specialists, Lauren enjoys the full-spectrum of a family practice. Lauren truly understands the deep mind-body-spirit connection, and believes that to experience genuine healing, the whole person must be taken into consideration. In her practice, Lauren treats patients presenting with wide-ranging array of health challenges including endocrine imbalances, immune and auto-immune conditions, fertility issues, dermatological issues, gastrointestinal conditions, orthopedic and sports injuries, and stress and anxiety challenges. She utilizes lab tests, nutritional and lifestyle counseling, acupuncture, and herbal and nutritional supplementation.
Lauren is recognized by her patients for her passionate style of healing. She is thrilled to bring her unique approach to all people seeking greater health and wellness. When she’s not treating her patients, Lauren loves spending time with her family, especially chasing after her very active young son, Ben, and their rescue dog, Pita. She also loves creating new recipes, and cooking up delicious and healthy meals.
Tara Diaz, Licensed Acupuncturist, Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine
Tara Diaz, L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. She holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, CA. Tara has been interested in both allopathic medicine and natural remedies since childhood. Feeling called to the healing arts, Tara pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology where she was first introduced to mind-body medicine. Following a brief career in hospitality, Tara pursued her Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine and has been mentored by Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, focusing on integrative medicine for several years. Tara’s areas of interest include cosmetic acupuncture, sports medicine, women’s health, metabolic disorders, digestion, and mental and emotional health. She employs an integrative east-west approach using acupuncture, herbs, and nutritional supplements to improve health, prevent disease, and alleviate symptoms. Tara’s own health and vitality have been greatly enhanced by Chinese Medicine. Her approach to treating patients focuses on diet, exercise, stress reduction, and mind-body practices such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and meditation to restore and maintain optimal health. Tara is an advocate for preventing diabetes having seen the effects of this disease in her own family. Tara enjoys Middle Eastern dance, which she has practiced and performed since 2002. Her other hobbies include, yoga, qi gong, and cooking.
Tanna Moontaro, Marriage Family Therapist Intern
Tanna Moontaro, M.A, M.F.T.I., is a graduate of Antioch University’s Master of Arts in Psychology Program and is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. Tanna has been a volunteer lead facilitator in the Alternatives to Violence Project since 1998, working with felony youth offenders in prison. She is passionate about working as a therapist with adolescents incorporating all the arts.
Patient Care Coordinators