Meet the Practitioners

FOUNDERS

Jerry Smith, PA-C

FOUNDER

Jerry obtained a bachelor of science and clinical laboratory science degree studying at both the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University. He then attended Bethel College Physician Assistant program and has subsequently worked in hospital medicine, emergency medicine, and orthopedic spine surgery. He has served as a liaison for Physician Assistants across Western Kentucky to the governing body for the Kentucky Society of Physician Assistants.

He continues to obtain extended certifications in the area of hormone optimization in order to promote optimal care to our patients.

Jena Ruxer, MD

FOUNDER

Jena Ruxer MD started her journey to help people at the University of Louisville, where she finished getting her Medical Degree. She then spent 7 years honing her skills as a Hospitalist. 

In 2015, Dr. Ruxer found a love for the Aesthetic field and started her own business called “Jena Ruxer MD.” It was in this field she fell in love with helping people get back to feeling how they felt when they were younger, both inside and out.  Not only was Dr. Ruxer been able to help hundreds of people with “Jena Ruxer MD,” she was able to branch out into hormone optimization, helping people get back to feeling like themselves.  Dr. Ruxer along with the other partners started revive in 2017.

Brandon Strenge, MD

FOUNDER

Brandon Strenge MD has worked  at The Orthopedic Institute of Western Kentucky since 2009 as an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

Dr. Strenge went to school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine then did an Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program with a fellowship at the The Spine Institute at Santa Monica.

Dr. Strenge took a personal look at hormones when he started experiencing all the symptoms he now sees in his patients and realized the importance of hormone optimization in the public to help curb the rise in comorbidities and needed surgeries.

PHYSICIANS

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Robert Howard, MD

As a Vanderbilt graduate, Dr. Howard studied at Harvard and conducted research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Upon earning his degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, he completed his residency and fellowship training at UK and Vanderbilt.

Dr. Howard is interested in the mental health benefits of hormone optimization. With a background in psychiatry and addiction medicine, he provides a unique perspective on hormone optimization, which he sees as a necessary foundation for one’s health and vitality. Dr. Howard’s journey with hormone optimization has been nothing short of transformative. He is enthusiastic to share his knowledge and experience with his patients, helping them to look and feel their best.

Dr. Howard is licensed to practice medicine in Kentucky and Tennessee. He provides aesthetic services such as Botox in addition to hormone optimization.

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Omar Hamada, MD

Omar Hamada is a multi-board certified physician and surgeon who works with high-performing celebrities, athletes, and executives who want to improve their lives beyond what they ever thought possible. He spent 10-years as a US Army Special Forces Flight Surgeon and Diving Medical Officer supporting elite Green Berets all over the world in every climate, at every elevation, and in austere environments – including helping troubled climbers off Everest base camp (his attorney!).

Omar has a passion for seeing people perform at their highest levels and has developed a unique personalized and programmed process for reversing chronic disease, increasing longevity, and optimizing human performance with a goal of no meds at 120 years.

Fun facts: Omar trained at the NY Met and in Vienna in operatic performance (as a spinto tenor), plays jazz and classical trumpet, has a Seminary degree in Theology and is and ordained minister, is an in demand speaker and media consultant, and has performed and appeared to a combined worldwide audience of over 650,000,000 people.

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Kevin Lu, MD

Dr. Kevin Lu, MD is the physician medical director of Optimize U Chattanooga. His experience with testosterone and hormone optimization started with combat aviation and U.S. special operations soldiers, helping both conventional military and elite soldiers be the most functionally fit people they could be both on the job and at home in their personal lives.

Dr. Lu has had multiple combat deployments to locations in Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and various other combat zones. He went to Northwestern University for his undergraduate education, and then to Case Western / Cleveland Clinic for medical school. He is a practicing board certified emergency medicine specialist and physician, completed his residency at Medical College of Georgia, and is an Assistant Professor of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University.

Optimize U | Shawn Vedamani

Shawn Vedamani, MD

Dr. Vedamani earned his medical degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California. After completing his residency, we worked in private clinics throughout the US, including Los Angeles and Oklahoma City.

He is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with over 10 years of experience in the medical field.

His love for medicine led him to uncover a passion for hormones and preventative medicine. As such, he joined SDBotox in 2017, and founded the Optimize U San Diego location. He has since provided safe, evidence-based, customized treatments to every patient who has walked into the office.

Dr. Vedamani understands the importance of looking and feeling your best, and he is committed to helping patients reach those goals.

Paul Weinberger, DO

Dr. Paul Weinberger grew up in West Virginia. After attending both the University of Kentucky and Marshall University, he attended medical school in Erie, PA. There he became a board-certified emergency medicine doctor (ABEM), having completed his residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

His passions include his love of travel, shopping for deals, eating unique foods from all over the world, and exercise.

“I believe hormone therapy is the foundation for optimizing quality of life.”

Optimize U | Alex Roher MD

Alex Roher, MD

Dr. Roher remains a practicing board-certified anesthesiologist, but his real passion remains in helping people change their lives for the better. Back in 2012, Dr. Roher opened SDBotox with a desire to help people achieve enhancements with minimally invasive cosmetic procedures and micro-treatments. Since then, SDBotox has been a groundbreaking endeavor.

Dr. Roher has helped tens of thousands of patients achieve amazing results. He’s done so in a warm, relaxing environment. While doing SDBotox, he has seen firsthand the importance of healthy hormones and how they improve quality of life.

Optimize U | Michelle Mears

Michelle Mears, MD

Dr. Michelle Mears is a board certified physician in family practice. She earned her MD degree from the University of Minnesota in 1986. She completed a family medicine residency through the University of Washington in 1989. She has been in private practice in Hillsboro and North Plains, Oregon since moving here in 1994 with her family including 3 children.

As a family practitioner, her primary focus throughout her career has been wellness and preventative medicine. Her interests now include holistic approaches to health and wellness with the goal of living well and long.

Michelle loves living in the Oregon country and enjoys all the nature it offers. In her free time, she loves hanging with her family, grandkids, and friends. She especially loves cooking for them.

PRACTITIONERS

Optimize U | Shawn Vedamani

Joshua Porter, PA-C

Joshua Porter serves as the Clinical Director for Optimize U Chattanooga. He has worked as a Physician Assistant for over 10 years and has acquired an extensive background in sports medicine, nutrition, supplementation, and athletic performance.

After nearlya decade spent in the field of orthopaedic spinal surgery, he decided to switch directions and focus his efforts on wellness medicine.

He is passionate about hormone and health optimization which led him to help start Optimize U Chattanooga. He and his wife Laura and their 5 children have called Chattanooga home since 2017. They love being active in a variety of sports and outdoor activities.

Jessica Matis

DNP/ACNP-AG

I received my Doctorate in Nursing as an Adult Care Nurse Practitioner from the University of Kentucky, in 2015. Since then, I have specialized in Adult Care treating a wide array of illnesses and diseases. Throughout my career I have found my greatest passion in treating hormonal imbalances in both men and women. My husband and I have both experienced the frustration of going to our Primary care provider with symptoms and being told “our labs are normal” and “we are healthy”, even though we did not feel good. We both feel passionate about Optimize U and what it has to offer the community in and around Louisville. I make it a priority to treat patients like family and base care on symptoms and not just numbers alone.

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Matt Hughes, PA-C

Matthew Hughes is a certified physician assistant at Optimize U Clarskville and Chattanooga. He received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training degree in 2008 and then went on to receive his Master of Physician Assistant Studies in 2010 from the University of Southern Illinois Carbondale. Matt is licensed to practice in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois.

His passion is in helping his patients achieve their desired performance and wellness goals.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, staying active, off-roading, and watching movies.

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Inessa Brooks, PA-C

Inessa Brooks was born and raised in Nashville, TN. She graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, TN in 2012 where she received her Bachelor of Science in Health Science. She then graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN with her Master of Science Medicine in 2015. She has experience in orthopedics and pain management.

Inessa is board certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants NCCPA, and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants AAPA.

She has clinical experience in many fields, most notably working in emergency medicine, pain management, and since discovering the world of BHRT has decided to call Optimize U her home.

She loves to spend time with her family, her husband, and taking fur baby to the dog park.

Optimize U | Shawn Vedamani

Paul Strohl, PA-C

Paul received his NCCPA certification as a Physician Assistant from the United States Army and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. During his military career he participated in multiple deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. He has overseen Soldier Health Clinics for Infantry Brigade Combat Teams in Schofield Barracks Hawaii and at Fort Campbell. After retirement from the military, Paul returned to the Fort Campbell area with his Wife and their five children eager to start a new chapter in life and in medicine.

Helping individuals achieve their personal goals and live longer healthier lives is his new focus. He is motivated by the positive changes he has seen in his hormone replacement patients and is excited about continuing to work with the Optimize U family.

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Brian Moyer, PA

Brian obtained a Bachelor of Science degree studying at Truman State University in Missouri. He then attended Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL where he earned his Masters in Medical Science as a Physician Assistant. He has subsequently worked in organ transplant, allergies/asthma, and spent 6 years as clinic director of a Chicago men’s health clinic where his passion for hormone optimization began.

He recently moved to San Diego to join the Optimize U family and continues his passion for patient care. He takes pride in listening to each patient and optimizing care individually.

He enjoys the spending time outdoors with his dog, volleyball, softball, and traveling.

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Stefanie Carmickle

DNP/AG-ACNP

Stefanie is a board certified Nurse Practitioner. She started her medical journey at the University of Kentucky, earning her undergrad degrees in Biology and Nursing in 2009, and then a Doctorate in Nurse Practice specializing in Adult Gerontology and Acute Care. She has extensive experience in the ICU, ER, PACU, Radiation Medicine, and Research.

Her passion for functional medicine and long time friendship with fellow Optimize U owner, Jessica Matis led her to discover the field of BHRT. Stefanie has a profound desire to help people to look and feel their best. She has always been fascinated by anti-aging medicine and to that end will be expanding her practice to offer aesthetic services in the near future.

In her spare time Stefanie enjoys traveling, practicing yoga, cooking, and spending time with her husband and 3 boys.

EDUCATION & RESEARCH

Optimize U | Brian Moyer

Scott Howell, PhD

Dr. Scott Howell holds a PhD in Health Science, earned while attending Trident University. In addition to that he is a Certified Strenth and Conditioning Coach (CSCS) as well as having an Advanced Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Certification (ABHRT-C). He specializes in Sex Hormone Endocrinology and Metabolism while also focusing his efforts on the nuances of Lifestyle Medicine.

As a subject matter expert on the toxicology and pharmacogenetic risk of performance-enhancing drug abuse, Dr. Howell has served as a clinical trial interventionist and bio-mechanist at Wake Forest University on the Strength Training for Arthritis Trial (START) (NIH Funded) and the Runners and Injury Longitudinal Study (TRAILS) (DoD Funded).

His latest research was a 6-Year Cohort Study of the Risk of Androgen Toxicity Among Inpatients and his research interests include androgen sensitivity, sex hormone polymorphisms, and adverse effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

 “I have always had a passion for hormones even at an early age since my grandmother suffered from insufficient thyroid treatment after removal of her thyroid due to cancer. She was placed only on Synthroid (T4) and gained over 100 pounds rapidly, but once her thyroid hormone was switched to combination (T4-T3) therapy, her fatigue resolved. She was a completely different person…. Hormones do not stop working, people do!”

It’s time to revive your life.

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