Our HABIT Staff: Meet Dr. Shandera-Ochsner

Feb 9, 2018 | Miranda Morris, HABIT Program Coordinator | @mirandamorris

Dr. Anni Shandera-Ochsner

Some of you may have had the great opportunity to meet and work with Dr. Anne Shandera-Ochsner when she was with our Florida team in 2013 and 2014. After she finished her Fellowship in Jacksonville, she and her husband moved away from Florida to begin the next chapter in their lives. Last year, the position of Director for the Rochester HABIT Team became available and to our great delight, she accepted the position! Dr. Shandera-Ochsner will have two HABIT sessions in Rochester this year.

We thought it might be great to start introducing the team to all of our readers so that you can get familiar with the entire HABIT Family. Last month, I chatted with Dr. Shandera-Oschner and asked to learn a little more about her.

Miranda: Thanks for chatting with me, Dr. Shandera-Oschner! First, I’d like to start at the beginning. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Dr. Shandera-Oschner: Since high school, I have loved working with the older adult population and wanted to be a psychologist. In college, I became more interested in the biological side of psychology, and considered switching to medicine. Then a neuropsychologist came and spoke to my “Geriatric Issues in Healthcare” class, and I knew it was the perfect mix for me.


Miranda: What is your favorite thing about the HABIT Program?

Dr. Shandera-Oschner: I spend most of my professional time evaluating and diagnosing various brain problems. I love getting to actually help treat problems in HABIT and to see the progress patients make over the 2 week program.


Miranda: What’s your favorite tip for managing stress?

Dr. Shandera-Oschner: I love to attend group fitness classes at the YMCA – I feel energized by the group and exercise and find that it’s hard to think about anything but what I’m doing in the moment, which is great.


Miranda: Some of the healthy habits that we talk about in the program include eating well, emotional self-care and getting quality sleep. With such a busy work life and a family, how do you make sure to practice the habits of wellness?

Dr. Shandera-Oschner : We participate in a local farm share CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which provides us with a large box of local, organic vegetables and fruit from May to December. This forces us to make most meals with the produce we receive and helps us stay on track with our eating habits.  We also get to try vegetables we’ve never heard of through this program. Since the birth of our first child, we have made a regular bedtime a major priority for the whole family. We realized that nothing feels better than being well rested, and with a toddler, sleeping in is not an option. My husband and I are pretty strict in making sure the television is off and we are headed to get ready for bed by 9PM every night.


Miranda: How long have you been a part of HABIT?

Dr. Shandera-Oschner : I got my first taste of the Memory Support System part of HABIT as an intern at Emory Medical Center in Atlanta while learning from Dr. Melanie Chandler. Soon after my rotation with her, Dr. Chandler left Emory to direct the HABIT program at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. I felt so passionate about what I learned that I applied for my post-doctoral fellowship training at Mayo Clinic and was very fortunate to match there and continue to work with Dr. Chandler in HABIT throughout my 2-year training period. Afterward, I took my current position as a staff neuropsychologist in the Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. When the opportunity arose for me to take over directing the Rochester HABIT program, I jumped at the chance and have not looked back.

Ochsner Family

Welcome Back to the HABIT Team, Dr. Shandera-Ochsner!!!


Enjoy some of Dr. Shandera-Ochsner's prior posts:

How Big was That Fish? When Memory Loss Changes the Story

Coping with Memory Loss in Social Situations



Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) blog.

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