OANP Member Spotlight with Dr. Angela Cortal
Saturday, March 23, 2019
How are you currently using your ND?
I am currently using my Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine primarily to see patients in private practice, but I also speak at conferences and write professional articles. My two main areas of clinical focus are in natural therapies for chronic joint and other musculoskeletal disorders as well as hormone and metabolic optimization.
What is unique about your clinic or the way you practice?
My practice is about 50/50 patients coming to me specifically for a chronic joint or ligament pain or injury and those coming for hormone assessment and natural treatment. The unique piece is that in many cases we end up venturing from one “side” of my practice to the other, such as for a patient wanting prolotherapy for knee pain, and finding they also have Insulin Resistance or a sex hormone deficiency, which would negatively impact that injection’s outcome. This is the very topic of a presentation I will be giving in April to the American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine’s annual conference. The subject is assessment of hormonal dysfunction to optimize Prolotherapy outcomes.
How is OANP valuable to you and your profession?
On a regular basis, I enjoy the MedTalks and annual conferences, but the primary reason I have been a member since my first year of medical school is the legislative piece. The OANP is instrumental in maintaining and improving our scope of practice and ability to best assist our patients through lobbying and legislative efforts. I was involved in a lobbying day with the OANP my 2nd year of medical school, which at that time focused on formulary expansion, and am currently involved with the bill on Pay Parity. None of this would exist without the OANP.
Do you have a favorite patient experience?
I have so many positive patient experiences, I feel very fortunate to work in a field and have a practice I enjoy so much. One of my recent very gratifying experiences was helping a patient to improve her thyroid health and heal from a prior injury. Now her energy and physical health are such that she can work her new job, which demands 12 hours on her feet. Two months ago when we first met, she could not even stand 30 minutes without causing severe pain. Now she is very much looking forward to a trip to Belize, which she was considering canceling, due to fatigue and the severe knee pain.
Why do you practice naturopathic medicine?
I practice Naturopathic medicine because it really seems to be the best of both worlds; conventional tools are at our fingertips, as well as all of the truly transformative natural and functional medicine therapies.
Who is the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
I would have to say it is a tie between Dr. Paul Anderson, who inspires me to keep constantly learning and contributing to our field, and Dr. Tyna Moore, who was instrumental in my education on best practices and application of Regenerative Injection Therapies, as well as someone who leads by example of creating the practice and life you love.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am really looking forward to the AOAPRM presentation on hormonal dysfunction and prolotherapy outcomes, but since that hasn’t happened yet, I would say that patients getting better is what I am most proud of. I have so many patients who have been told a certain condition or symptom is normal or cannot be improved. My track record of success proves to them and me, that viewpoint is damaging and short-sighted. The number of times I have been told “I have my life back” or “I feel like me again” or “I thought I would always be in pain” is what I am most proud of. Or at least what I am most grateful for.
Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?
I think that starting out, there can be many causes for overwhelm. The amount of knowledge is so huge, starting out a new ND may not know where to start, what to test for, what to use for treatment. I think that having a strong and specific clinical focus can provide two services here: it can help to bring in most those patients you are focusing on, and can help you establish a practice base you feel confident working with in order to expand into other clinical areas as you wish. None of us can be everything for everyone. So I would recommend studying under those experienced practitioners who can mentor you in the areas you are most passionate about.
What is your definition of “happiness”?
My definition of happiness is having all of your needs met. That may sound weird, but I think about things like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, so if my needs for comfort, good food, relaxing environment, social interaction etc, are met, then I’m happy.
What would you sing at Karaoke night?
I’m not very good at remembering lyrics, and have a pretty low voice, so I stick to easy and low range songs. I usually sing a 90s one-hit wonder Fast Ball’s The Way. Most wouldn’t know it by its name, but for 90s kids out there, you’ll remember it when you start to hear it.
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author changes over the years, depending on my passions and interests. Recent favorites include Paul Stamets, Chip and Dan Heath, and Gary Taubes.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
My warning label would probably actually be a placeholder sign in my absence saying, “This doctor cannot be found.” I’m always on the go, traveling, out at the beach, mushroom foraging in the forests. I’m very regularly away from cell service so in my off time I can be difficult to track down.