OANP Member Spotlight with Dr. Jennifer Means
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Posted by: Brook Schales
How are you currently using your ND license?
I have a full time practice in Beaverton. I mainly treat difficult, chronic cases including chronic fatigue, Lyme/tick born infections, autism, environmental illness but I also consider myself a primary care family physician and do physical exams, and treat a broad variety of issues ranging from infancy to geriatrics. I have been seeing many of my patients for over twenty years.
What is unique about your clinic or the way you practice?
I am eclectic in my practice. I use a wide variety of modalities including herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, IV therapy, nutrition, and even pharmaceuticals. I encourage people to look at underlying trauma and beliefs that may contribute to their illness. I have long-term relationships with many of my patients. Singing River feels like a community. I think that people – patients and staff - feel nurtured and cared for and respected.
Here is our mission statement: Singing River Natural Medicine offers healing – addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of illness to bring balance into our patients’ lives. We recognize that each journey toward health is unique. We approach each person with curiosity and respect, knowing that much can be learned by listening.
We draw from the vast body of natural medicinal knowledge and techniques, from Eastern and Western traditions, both ancient and cutting-edge, to guide each patient towards healing. We support the maintenance of health and personal growth as a way to create positive change and to help move our culture toward environmental and social balance.
How is OANP valuable to you and the profession?
Over the years, I have come to deeply value and appreciate the work that the OANP does for our profession. I have personally seen recognition for our profession grow in the medical community. When I first started practicing, if I called an MD or the ER about a patient, I often felt disrespected and unheard. Now, thanks to all of the work the OANP has done for us, I get phone calls and referrals from all sorts of doctors around the Portland area. The ER even calls me sometimes about patients.
Do you have a favorite patient experience?
I have many favorite patient experiences. I love that children feel safe enough to tell their parents that they need to see Dr. Jennifer when they are not feeling well. I love it when patients come to me after years of being away because they want my opinion on an important health matter. I am awed by the level of healing that can happen with some patients. With deep healing, a ripple goes out that affects their lives, their families and I have seen miracles happen.
Why do you practice naturopathic medicine?
I love my profession. I have always loved healing: nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, shamanic healing, counseling, the power of touch, the power of prayer, the power of community. Naturopathic medicine brings it all together for me. I love that I have the freedom to regard the whole person as I assess their health and guide them on their journeys toward wholeness and health. I feel deeply grateful that I found this path. I can’t think of anything that I would rather do.
Who is/was the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
I have had many great teachers that have shaped me in my work and taught me so much. I feel that I have been gifted an incredible box full of the most amazing tools. My patients are my constant teachers. But, the most influential person in my life has been my daughter, who was born without a breath or pulse a year after I graduated from school. She taught me to listen to my heart no matter what the doctors tell me. She taught me about miracles and the power of prayer and community. She taught me to use everything I know to heal her. She guided me onto my spiritual path. She showed me that the medicine that I learned in school works. She opened the door to the work that I do today.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud that I have a busy, successful practice and that I am able to work with even the most fragile patients. I am proud that I have been able to teach students, mentoring them in my clinic, teaching them when I have and being a part of their journeys. I am proud that I have been able to support my family with the work that I do.
Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?
Learn who your allies are. Don’t be afraid to call other doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists, herbalists and consult with them about your patients. Our medicine works. When you are confronted with a difficult case, start with the basics. Clean up the environment, their diet, get them to drink enough water and move their bodies. Learn to listen well and don’t be afraid of emotions. Sometimes silence is a great teacher. AND don’t forget to chart even if you are treating friends and family.
What is your definition of “happiness”?
Happiness is being in the forest on a warm day drenched in the smell of the rich Earth. It is being on the ocean shore in a storm. It is being with my family and close friends sharing a beautiful meal that we have made together, sharing stories and laughter and life. It is being in community by the fire, being with my sisters in ceremony and witnessing the mystery that is part of the fabric of the world.
Happiness comes from being connected to the world around me: to the people, to nature, to the weather, to the chaos.