How did you determine you wanted to become a Naturopathic Physician? I decided I wanted to become a Naturopathic physician in a roundabout way. I knew I wanted to be a physician that helped patients with their overall health not just treating disease. I also knew I had a passion for nutrition and exercise with my history as a college athlete and current high school coach. But throughout undergrad I did not know that naturopathic medicine was a career choice option. Then a physician I was shadowing told me to come to NUNM (NCNM at the time) and look into their naturopathic medicine program, which I did with my mother, and finally it felt like home. The degree I had been trying to obtain or find in the allopathic medicine world, existed all along through naturopathic medicine. From there I applied and was accepted, and the more I learn about the principles of naturopathic physicians and the more I see the medicine work with patients, the happier I become about my decision.
Do you volunteer for any community or academic organizations? In my spare time I am a volunteer high school track and field coach. I have been doing this for the past 7 years. I love working with athletes and I love being able to give back to the community. I did track in college, so it was a natural transition for me to go from student-athlete to coach. It also allows me to encourage young adults and teenagers to move and take more ownership with their health at a younger age. Someday I would love to merge my passion for track and sports medicine into my career as a naturopathic physician.
I also volunteer for the NMSA and OANP. In the OANP I am the elected student board member for this year. Since getting on the board I have joined three committees, legislative, public relations, and nominations. This has allowed me to become more involved in not only the OANP, but our profession as a whole. I hope to continue to do more work with the OANP after I graduate.
How is OANP valuable to you as a student? The OANP is valuable to me as a student, because it has helped me to get more involved in our profession by being the student board member. It has also allowed me to learn more about the legislative process being licensure and help me to become an advocate for our medicine, which I think is vital if our profession is going to continue to grow. Lastly, it has allowed me to meet so many amazing clinicians and mentors along the way that I know I will continue to call upon as I enter into this next phase of my journey as a doctor.
Who is/was the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey so far? The most influential person to me on my naturopathic journey so far has been Dr. Kimberly Windstar. I have been a teaching assistant for her since my 2nd year of medical school and worked with her in clinic. Watching how she blends naturopathic medicine and traditional modalities with conventional standard of care, showed me that it can be done and patient outcomes are better this way. She also is an example for me for the need of balance in your career life. She inspires me daily to be a better student clinician, and I hope to continue to look to her for wisdom and guidance as a first year resident next year.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am proud of so many things that I have accomplished over the past several years, but I think my most recent accomplishment that I am proud of is my case paper on Parkinson’s disease winning first prize and being featured in the latest issue of NDNR. I have always enjoyed writing, but never thought that other people would enjoy what I have to say as well. Seeing my case paper and the work that I put into that patient encounter to help them obtain health, is what I am the most proud of so far.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current or future naturopathic students?My wisdom for current or future naturopathic students is to write down why they are becoming a physician and why specifically a naturopathic physician towards the beginning of their time in medicine school. Refer to that reason often throughout the journey to bring yourself back to those roots and sense of purpose. That has often helped me get through a difficult class, board exams, or a tough patient contact.
How do you plan on using your license after graduation? After graduation and hopefully passing my board exams at the end of the summer, I plan on using me license first as a resident at NUNM. Outside of practicing medicine, I have a passion for teaching, and I would like to merge these two passions together through my time as a resident. After residency, I hope to continue to use the naturopathic principle of Docere with my patients either in a private practice or integrative clinic setting focusing on primary care and integrating both naturopathic principles with all of our available modalities from nutrition to exercise prescription to herbal medicine and to pharmacology. I also believe that naturopathic medicine is a field that can be expanded larger than it already currently is and I would like to continue to help our profession grow so that more patients can get access to our care. One of the legislative areas that I would like to stay involved in is the push to get naturopathic medicine available to our veterans as well as to get hospital privileges for naturopathic doctors as primary care physicians. I plan to stay active and engaged within the OANP as a clinician as well as the AANP to help this goal become a reality.
What would you sing at Karaoke night? If I was by myself probably show tunes or jazz. If I was with a group then definitely Spice Girls, embarrassing but true.
Who is your favorite author? Officially Jane Austin or Isabel Allene, but realistically after boards I will be re-reading all of the Harry Potter series again on a beach somewhere.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say? "Do not attempt contact until after coffee." I am not a morning person at all and coffee is a part of my morning wake up routine.