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Latest News & Advocacy: OANP Member Spotlight

Dr. Maeghan Culver

Thursday, March 22, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cherish Simmons
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Dr. Maeghan Culver, practicing as a PCP in Tualatin, focused on neuroendocrine rebalancing.

How are you currently using your ND? What is your primary focus area of practice?
I am a primary care physician in Tualatin, seeing patients of all ages and all complaints. I am carving out a niche focused on what I lovingly refer to as "Complex Care". These patients have multiple systems that have decompensated, such as in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and metabolic disorders. I focus on neuroendocrine rebalancing through neurotransmitter support, HPO and HPA axis rebalancing, and craniosacral therapy.

What is unique about your clinic or the way you practice?
When we started our clinic, our goal was to create sustainable job options for NDs and to create an environment that is collaborative rather than competitive. We have four physicians from 3 different schools all with different focuses, including mental health, pediatrics, nature cure and primary care. It is rare when a patient comes in with just one complaint and having such a wide variety of providers allows us to create a team approach where we readily refer to one another for specialty services such as craniosacral therapy or constitutional hydrotherapy, or for support with specific complaints, such as severe mood disorders. This allows me to focus in on what I do best and allow my colleagues to support my patients with their expertise. Our patient’s love knowing different providers and feeling like we prioritize their care over our own egos. I believe that this cooperative spirit is in large part because we are all employees of the same company based rather an assortment of independent contractors who happen to be sharing the same space.

How is OANP valuable to you and/or your profession?
Over this last year all the providers at my clinic were able to take advantage of the Medicaid EHR incentive program, which made us each eligible for ~$65,000! This incentive money has allowed our clinic to get all new IT equipment and expand the services we offer, such as with our new diathermy machine. Seeing this money come in to help our clinic was solely because of the tireless work of the OANP and has launched our business at least 2 years ahead of schedule on our growth plan. Even the first year of incentives was enough to justify a lifetime of membership. This is just one of the many projects that the OANP supports me in. Plus- the end of year conference is my favorite of the year!

Do you have a favorite patient experience?
Choosing just one experience is impossible- I love what I do and have great moments all the time. The ones that stick out for me are seeing someone get relief from pain or a mood issue that they have struggled with for years and seeing hope come back into their care. Those breakthrough moments where patients become empowered in their healthcare and start taking responsibility for their lifestyle are always moments of celebration.

Why do you practice naturopathic medicine?
Our clinic started out primarily serving low-income Medicaid patients who were assigned to our care through their insurance, and most had never heard of a naturopathic physician before meeting us. New patients were often skeptical at first, not really understanding how this type of care worked. But often, even by the end of the first appointment, patients note how for the first time they felt like they were heard, that they had hope of actually getting better, that this was the type of medicine they had were seeking without even knowing it.

My passion is in changing the paradigm of primary care back to preventative medicine and building relationships of trust with our patients, exactly what we naturopathic physicians are best at!I love that I get to take time with patients, get to know them, and help to build plans of care that are holistic. It is my belief that naturopathic physicians have the potential to help heal this broken medical system and the relationship between the average person and their health. It is a blessing to be a part of this amazing profession.

Who is the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
I have many amazing mentors in our field, attending providers and professors who helped me grow in my understanding and supported me through those inevitable tough times. But my love for natural healing was inspired first by my mother. When I was a child I had strep throat 6 times in one year, and being allergic to penicillin, my options were running out. The doctors wanted to remove my tonsils, but my mother instead began classes in herbal medicine and using this was able to not only get rid of strep that year, but for years to come.She inspired me to trust the wisdom of our elders and that there are often many options that are left, even when conventional medicine has none.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
It has been my goal from the beginning to have a way to give back not only to my patients but to be a part of building our profession. This year, because of the excellent team I get to work with every day, our clinic is starting a residency program. This to me feels like a grand success and I am so proud of my staff and colleagues who have helped this practice grow so tremendously in the last two years.

Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?

Know that this medicine we carry is desperately needed in our communities! There will be challenges in delivering it and there is always a temptation to over-do because the needs are so great. If you can, resist that temptation. Take care of yourself, body, mind and spirit so that you will have the strength to persevere. Graduation is only the beginning, but you have plenty of time. 

On a different note, don’t be afraid to make money. Have a plan on how to create profit and be ready to adapt. You have put in a lot of work to get where you are, and a part of being sustainable is being able to take care of yourself, including financially. It is possible for you to make money without sacrificing your patient care, I promise! One last thing, and this is not a fun fact, but it is the truth. We are still a small profession and how each one of us practices and behaves represents all naturopaths. We are a diverse group and have different practice styles and specialties, but we must stand together in order to make the changes we know are needed in the world. Speak kindly of one another and remember that we are in this together.

What would you sing at Karaoke night?
I am a huge karaoke fan and it is always fun to start out with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.This rockin’ song gets everyone involved and allows for plenty of air guitar.

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