Harriet Hansell, MD

I was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States when I was a little over one year old. I grew up with an immigrant mentality that hardworking, motivated people could attain any level of success in life. Even though I grew up very poor, my mother made all home cooked meals that were affordable and nutritious. The Chinese believe that food is medicine, therefore you tailor your food choices to treat and prevent conditions.

Growing up, I did not realize that there was a difference between western (conventional) and eastern medicine. My mother would go to two different providers to keep her healthy. I didn’t understand why there wasn’t one person to provide that. That was when I realized that I wanted to be the provider that could bridge the gap between western and eastern medicine.

In 1999, I started at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for medical school. I was able to create an elective in China, spending one month working at Peking Union Medical College Hospital in both the western medicine and eastern medicine departments, only reconfirming my desire to become certified in medical acupuncture. I chose Duke University Medical Center for my family medicine residency because of their focus on evidence-based medicine and because I was able to become certified for medical acupuncture by the UCLA Helms Institute for Physicians during my residency. I was then able to use my elective time during residency to increase my clinical practice further by working with local acupuncturists.

After residency, I worked with a small, local Integrative practice in Durham until the birth of my first child. After my maternity leave, I went back to Duke Family Medicine clinic, practicing family medicine and helping start their medical acupuncture clinic. I also taught at Duke Medical School, for their Practice Course, teaching communication, physical exam, and clinical reasoning skills. I then left Duke in 2011 and joined a UNC clinic in Raleigh. Along with my philosophy of health promotion, I also developed their first acupuncture clinic that was integrated into the traditional primary care clinic. The majority of my patients there were looking for personalized medicine to optimize their health. They would bring in articles and always want to know what they could do other than pharmaceuticals to help improve their health. This spearheaded my desire to learn more at nutrition and integrative medicine conferences offered through Dr Andrew Weil’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, and the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Growing up, I had always loved sports. I am a former gymnast and volleyball player. After having two children and working full time, I had a hard time getting back to the shape I was used to. After a torn rotator cuff in 2012 left me with severe pain and the inability to exercise, I explored other multidisciplinary approaches to heal my injury. I was able to rehabilitate my shoulder with steroid injections, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, and chiropractic care, rather than having surgery. I knew part of my recovery had to include strength training to help with the healing process, so I started CrossFit in 2014. I have a new love for the art of intensive cross training to heal injuries, process stress, and give you the confidence to do anything both physical and mental. I also now coach CrossFit at CrossFit Durham.

I am married with two children. I love to cook and travel. I have an amazing husband who is very invested in the Durham community and also does an amazing job juggling the majority of the children duties with enthusiasm. Clearly seeing how nutrition, sleep, and exercise impacts both my children has made it clear to me that these foundations affect the health of people of all ages.

Education

  • Duke University Medical Center
    Chief Resident, Family Medicine Residency, 2006
  • UCLA Helms Institute
    Physician Medical Acupuncture Certification, 2005
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Medical Doctorate, 2003
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Bachelor of Science, Zoology, 1998

Certifications / Experience

  • North Carolina Medical Board, Physician Licensure, 2004
  • Certification in Medical Acupuncture, 2005
  • American Board of Family Medicine, Board Certified, 2006 and 2016
  • National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, Board Certified, 2015
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, 2017
  • Functional Medicine, AFMCP 2017
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer, 2017
  • Ma Strength Chinese Olympic Weightlifting Level 1 Seminar, 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Sarah Kenan Medical Scholarship, 2000-2003
  • NC Academy of Family Physicians Intern Grant, 2003
  • William Kane Award for Excellence in Clinical Family Medicine, 2006

Affiliations

Competitions

  • Spartan Trifecta, completed Sprint, Super and Beast all in 2019
  • CrossFit Durham Women’s Powerlifting Total (2nd place, 2019)
  • Triangle Invitational, Masters 35+ Team Competition (1st place, 2018)
  • CrossFit Sua Sponte Summer Slam, Masters Division (1st place, 2018)
  • CrossFit Durham Women’s Powerlifting Total (1st place, 2018)
  • Crossfit Open, CrossFit Durham, RX Women Overall (1st Place, 2018)
  • Masters Gone WOD, RX Masters Team Women (2nd Place, 2018)
  • Crossfit War of the WODS, Female Masters Team RX Competition, Greensboro, NC (2nd Place, 2018)
  • Crossfit Fitcon, Masters Team Competition, Greenville, NC (1st Place, 2017)
  • Crossfit Triangle Invitational, Masters Team Competition, RTP, NC (2nd Place, 2017)
  • CrossFit War of the WODS, Individual Masters Competition, Greensboro, NC (1st Place, 2017)
  • CrossFit FitCon, Masters Female Team Competition, Greenville, NC (3rd Place, 2016)
  • CrossFit Triangle Invitational Masters Team Competition, RTP, NC (2nd Place, 2016)
  • Spartan Trifecta, completed Sprint, Super and Beast all in 2015