OANP Member Spotlight with Dr. Eliot Edwards
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Posted by: Cherish Simmons
How are you currently using your ND? What is your primary focus area of practice?
I have been practicing for 16 years since my graduation in 2002. For the first 6 years, I practiced in upstate New York, where I am from, and had a general naturopathic medicine practice. I worked in 2 offices, which were multidisciplinary with a variety of practitioners including MDs, DCs, LAcs, and LMTs.
In the beginning of 2009, I left my private practice and joined the Naturopathic Medicine Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, in Zion, IL. Since that time, I have focused on oncology care and am a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO).
In addition to practicing, I have been teaching in various capacities including undergraduate studies and at Naturopathic Medical schools (NUHS in IL as well as NUNM and OCOM currently).
What is unique about your clinic or the way you practice?
I am very focused on integrative oncology care – blending naturopathic medicine safely with conventional cancer treatments. Much of my focus is helping patients know what they can and can’t do while on conventional treatments. The goals are to help minimize side effects of conventional treatment, support immune function and maintain quality of life for my patients.
How is OANP valuable to you?
Since graduation, I have been highly involved with our state and national associations. I was a board member and the Vice President of the NYANP, VP and President of the ILANP and currently a member of the OANP. Additionally, I have been elected to start serving on the Board of the AANP in January 2019. In all these instances, my work has focused on advocacy and licensure of naturopathic medicine in NY and IL. Our state associations are invaluable to our profession and the advancement of naturopathic medicine. I have always felt a professional responsibility to be a part of my associations to support them, as much as I want their support back to me. Without the hard work and dedication of our Boards at the state and national level, our profession may very well have become extinct by now.
Do you have a favorite patient experience?
My favorite moments I’ve had in practice, are the times when I have been able to joke and laugh with my patients. Cancer is such an ominous diagnosis and patients are at their most vulnerable states when they are fighting cancer. It’s nice when we can lighten the mood and laugh a little bit.
Why do you practice naturopathic medicine?
I frequently reflect on how lucky I feel to have found this little-known profession. I can’t think of any other profession I would like to be in at this time. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help people in need and to help them heal, if not on the physical level, perhaps on the mental, emotional or spiritual level.
Who is/was the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
There are many amazing doctors in our profession and I have learned from many of them. Attending our annual conferences and getting to reconnect with my colleagues is always fulfilling and inspiring. My most favorite teacher and mentor is Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis – he has always been supportive of me as a colleague and a naturopathic physician. There is no better endorsement of your role, than one that comes from someone you look up to – especially when they have been practicing for 40 years!
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the advocacy and legislative work I have done over the years. Though, both states where I did legislative work have yet to become licensed, I know that the work I was involved with has increased the awareness and acceptance of our profession.
Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?
Move to an unlicensed state – and then work to get that state licensed. You can do so much for your patients in an unlicensed state without having a script pad… and those people need our help!
What is your definition of “happiness”?
Doing a 75 mile bike ride, or fly fishing on the Deschutes River.
Who is your favorite author?
David James Duncan
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?