Shari B. Kaplan, LCSW

Integrative mental health and trauma specialist

Shari B. Kaplan, LCSW is the founder/clinical director of Cannectd Wellness. She has 30 years of experience in both NYC and Florida. Kaplan is the creator of integrative mental health and well-being programs, based on trauma treatment protocols, designed to help individuals on their path of mind, body, soul healing, well-being and empowerment.

Kaplan is also an innovative formulator of plant extracts for the cannabis and health and wellness industries.

As the founder of CANNECTD Wellness™, Kaplan successfully treats people using the ‘Whole Life Plan© (WLP),’ her signature integrative approach to well-being.

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 Kaplan received her Masters in Clinical Social Work (MSW) degree from Fordham University.

She is also the founder of the Can’t Tell Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization (

Kaplan collaborates with Dr. Michelle Weiner using ketamine assisted therapy, cannabis and plant medicines to support their patients on their path of well-being. Additionally, Kaplan, along with Dr. Weiner and the University of Miami, has completed a study on Ketamine assisted therapy.

Jenelle Becerra

Psychedelic Integration Coach

Jenelle Becerra coaches patients on mindfully using psychedelic medicine and transformational coaching to achieve optimal well-being and peak performance. At the start of the coaching alliance, Jenelle assists patients in mentally preparing for the psychedelic therapy session by helping them connect with their core beliefs and emotions to understand the root cause of rigid thought patterns and limiting beliefs. Patients can then crystalize their intentions to make the most out of their experience with this understanding. Once the psychedelic sessions are complete, Jenelle helps patients integrate the insights into daily life for lasting transformational change.

Alessandra Zapata

Board Certified Nurse Practitioner

Alessandra is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner with a plethora of experience in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Pain Management, Internal Medicine & Mental Health. She has been in the healthcare industry since 2007 as an LPN where her first job was working in a juvenile correctional setting, it is no wonder that mental health is one of her passions! Since then, she has obtained a Bachelors in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies, Associate in Science of Nursing & a Masters in the Science of Nursing. Alessandra has worked in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, doctors offices among many other settings. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, participating in community events and practicing aesthetic medicine. You will always feel at home with Alessandra, her priority is always providing a cathartic experience no matter what your appointment is for!

Bianca Abbott

Psychedelic Nurse Practitioner

Bianca Abbott, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC is a Psychedelic Nurse Practitioner, Transformational Wellness Coach, Detoxification Specialist, Plant-Based Nutrition Expert, and Kundalini Yoga Teacher. She specializes in Functional and Integrative medicine, merging Eastern and Western practices to empower her clients to embody thriving health.

Bianca received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Eckerd College, a Bachelor’s in Nursing from New York University, and a Master’s in Nursing from the University of Miami. She is the co-founder of the LunaFast, a virtual holistic fasting program that has helped 1000+ people fast and detox around the world. By combining the LunaFast with psychedelic therapy and integration, she creates a personalized program for her clients to heal at the root and tap into their inner physician!

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For the past 8 years, Bianca immersed herself in the personal exploration and education of psychedelic medicines. Through facilitating in ayahuasca and psilocybin ceremonies, she saw miracles that couldn’t be explained by Western medicine and was able to deeply heal from past trauma. Since then, Bianca has been on a mission to break the stigma surrounding psychedelics and share this medicine with her community.

Currently, she serves ketamine therapy for clients at Spine and Wellness of American and combines all her expertise and bio-hacking therapies for cellular rejuvenation, mental health optimization, and spiritual awakening. Bianca also leads global yoga wellness retreats and organizes live and online monthly events, workshops, and trainings.

Jessica Stark

Holistic Health & Wellness Coach/ Psychedelic RN

Jessica is a prior traveling nurse who decided to leave the hospital and go back to school to pursue holistic nursing. She has a growing passion for natural/alternative medicine, including psychedelics and places a priority on mental health. Working as a Ketamine integration nurse and sitter, Jessica is with the patient from beginning to end. She will sit with the patient before the session to go over what their set intention is and create a space for them to feel safe. Jessica will remain with or near the patient as they go about their journey, and once completed, will listen and speak on what they experienced during their psychedelic conquest. She will then educate the patient on how to integrate the profound insight from the journey to do the “work” once they’re ready to go home. Jessica holds much empathy for each individual and believes everyone has the power to connect to their highest wisdom. With this belief, she wishes to provide accountability to her patients while enacting a positive, lasting change to all aspects of their health- Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual.

Jillian Acosta

Registered Dietitian

Jillian Acosta is a registered dietitian and owner of the functional nutrition private practice, The Root Cause Method. In her practice she works with clients to uproot life-long behavioral patterns and deeply buried traumas that result in physiological imbalances. Through her expertise in functional nutrition, she provides personalized dietary guidance to support the body, but Jillian takes her clients beyond the physiology to address the underlying psychological and emotional reasons that drove each client to their current state of health. Her work results in measurable and lasting changes, that dramatically improve her clients’ relationships to food, their bodies, and themselves.  Uncovering and uprooting what shapes our relationship with food is, in her experience, what’s missing in the reversal and prevention of obesity and associated chronic illnesses, and what’s standing in the way of true embodiment, fulfillment and connection.

Jillian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition where she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida International University. She has received extensive training from the Institute for Functional Medicine through the University of Western States. She lives in Delray with her dog, Daisy.

Irina Vlada

Awareness Coach

As an Awareness Coach, Irina’s path is deeply rooted in the discovery and exploration of the authentic self. After obtaining her coaching certification from University of Miami and establishing her coaching practice, Irina traveled to the Himalayas, India, to study with living Masters and embody the  ancient knowledge of Kriya Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation. Her coaching style expanded into mindful practices, inviting the clients to combine the tools of Western psychology and Eastern philosophy. 

This path has led her to co-create Evolve, the Wellness App for personal transformation via evolutionary modalities. This curated marketplace platform connects mindful leaders and clients from around the world for live virtual sessions and ultimately contributes to building a healthier society.

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Irina’s personal story is a powerful narrative that blends international roots, world travel and unique experiences as well as adversity, addiction and new beginnings. Life experiences inspired Irina to continue her education in addiction recovery and psychedelic integration to cultivate the connection and sense of unity for those who have been suffering from disconnection and isolation. Working in partnership with Mindbloom, a national ketamine telemedicine company out of New York, Irina has seen 100+ clients in the last year who are embarking on ketamine medicine journeys for mental health purposes, and the success stories are overwhelming.

Now she leads Psychedelic Integration Circles and Psychedelic Panel Discussions to raise awareness around the power of intentional use of psychedelic medicine. She is a consummate student of life, yoga, philosophy and academics.

Virtual Reality Effects on Pain Perception: Implications for Pain Management

Current Status: Pending

Literature suggests that the use of virtual reality distraction for adjunctive pain control has been successful. In clinical settings and experimental studies, participants immersed in a virtual reality experienced reduced levels of pain, general distress/unpleasantness and reported a desire to use virtual reality again during painful medical procedures.

There has been research into the use of virtual reality distraction for adjunctive pain control with significant success. There has been growing evidence for the use of EEG for the measurement of pain. It has also been suggested that virtual reality could be used an alternative to marijuana and opioids for pain management. Further implications have been seen specifically among chronic pain sufferers. This is especially interesting since there is a reduced risk of addiction as is seen associated with marijuana and opioid use. This study aims to investigate the effect of virtual reality distraction on pain perception.

Additionally, we intend to create a body of open source content for potential use by other investigators utilizing similar tools. 

The intervention has the potential to relieve chronic pain sufferers of their pain with a non-invasive mechanism and minimal risk. The participants may experience a temporary decrease in the perception of pain during the course of the experiment or a distraction from said pain.

Pending IRB approval at UM

Seniors Over 60 With Chronic Pain Using Medical Marijuana

Current Status: Active


The purpose of this study is to identify what is effective and safe for older adults with chronic pain to develop an understanding of what educational materials are required for facilitate access to appropriate products at medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC). 

Survey older adults (> 50 years) with chronic pain who have MM access cards and receive their product from state-approved dispensaries to document: demographic/health data; patterns of use; product specifics; pain effects on daily life; pain-related medical conditions; education prior to MM purchase; helpful and problematic effects of MM use. 

The proportion of Florida’s population that is 60 and older is growing more rapidly than other components of the population. Musculoskeletal disorders with associated chronic pain are a common problem in later life. Symptom management in older adults, including chronic pain management can be challenging (Briscoe, 2018). Medications, especially opioids, can increase the risk of confusion, constipation, falls and injury (Briscoe,2018). Medical marijuana (MM) is often recommended by doctors in the treatment of these medical conditions, guided by state law that defines qualifying conditions.

Medical marijuana use among older adults is growing at a rate more rapid than younger age groups (Lum, et al, 2019). The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated a 2.9% prevalence of marijuana use among this older population. However, the survey did not ascertain if use was for medical or recreational purposes (Han et al., 2016). Older adults may have important differences in pathophysiology, pharmacological interaction of medications, comorbid conditions, and toxicological responses to cannabis.

There is little evidence to evaluate the differences associated with medical marijuana use among older adults, such as individual reasons for use and problems arising with use (Haug et al., 2017).

Chronic pain is a major public health problem. Approximately 178 million (41%) adults in the U.S. age 18 and older suffer from at least one painful health condition (Nahin, et al, 2019).

In Florida, there are 327,492 medical marijuana card holders and chronic non-malignant pain was the No. 1 diagnosis for which patients are registered (The Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use, 2020). Yet, it is not a qualifying condition, creating challenges for physicians wishing to support patient use of MM for chronic pain.

Chronic pain accounted for nearly 34 percent of diagnoses at certified dispensaries (The Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use, 2019).