OANP Member Spotlight with Dr. Carrie Baldwin-Sayre
Monday, September 28, 2020
Posted by: Audra Bates
How are you currently using your ND and/or what is your current position?
I am the Associate Dean for Health and Wellbeing at Reed College in Portland. It was a position that was newly created at the college, due to a recognized need to more holistically support students in an academically rigorous environment. The position was formed by the college leadership to be the key element in creating a culture of wellness on the campus, and I oversee the departments that directly contribute to physical and mental health - the student health and counseling center, athletics and outdoor programs, sexual health and relationship education, and the community wellness program.
What is your clinical and practice background?
Most recently, I was the Associate Dean of Clinical Education at NUNM, and a clinical faculty member there. I also held a clinical faculty position for a few years at OHSU, providing supervision with an MD for their integrative medicine consult clinic. Prior to that I was in private practice, working as both a primary and complementary care physician. Through the OANP I connected with the Oregon Health Authority when they were first creating the new CCO structure and the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home program. OHA invited me to be on the first PCPCH advisory committee, and subsequently our clinic became the first ND-owned clinic to achieve the PCPCH credential.
How is OANP valuable to you?
Where to begin? The OANP was valuable to me before I even knew of its existence! The OANP, with its dedicated members and board are the reason we have the licensure we have in Oregon. The OANP has steadfastly protected our license, and has worked to allow NDs to have a seat at the state healthcare table. Many NDs may not even realize the amount of work that goes into keeping abreast of the all the ways that the state’s laws impact NDs, and how even the smallest statutory changes can be detrimental or advantageous to our practices. The OANP provides all NDs – members and not, a crucial service in protecting our ability to practice, and helping us to maintain credibility and legitimacy as a profession.
Do you have a favorite patient experience?
I do! I worked with a 60-year-old male with inflammatory bowel disease that was seriously impinging on his quality of life, so much so that he was having regular suicidal ideation. His medical treatment was insufficient to manage his frequent flares, and he was basically home-bound as a consequence. His finances were also extremely limited. Over a few sessions we focused solely on education around how the food one eats can contribute to intestinal inflammation, and how certain foods can contribute to healing while others may contribute to flare-ups. Without giving specific advice but rather just starting from a place of education, he started to make changes on his own and realized improvement almost immediately. Over time, I provided more specific dietary advice as he was ready to receive and act on it, and we were able to find him a healthy dietary balance that resulted in a massive reduction of flare-ups, minimal medication, and no further need for steroids during the 5 years we worked together.
Why did pursue a degree in Naturopathic Medicine?
I pursued an ND because I truly believe that food is medicine and that a healthy mind-body connection is necessary for people to thrive. I did not believe I could learn how to help people thrive without a solid education in those principles.
Who is the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
Dr. Kathleen Germain was my first naturopathic doctor. It was her gentle demeanor, compassion, and ability to listen that set her apart from any other doctor I had ever been to, and made me certain that I had chosen the right path.
Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?
Consider joining or opening a practice outside of the large metro areas. Our medicine is so desperately needed in smaller towns. Treat some of the local physician specialists to coffee or lunch – explain what you do and how your services will be valuable referrals for their patients. Being a member of the OANP means can help you to more readily make those connections.
Beatles or Elvis?
Ha! Neither. The Boswell Sisters. Check them out if you’ve never heard of them.