Meet Anton Alder, Naturopathic Physician (ND). He is deeply committed to the future of naturopathic medicine as a profession and putting in place legislative safeguards that improve our ability to affordably provide the most effective care available without restricting our scope of practice.
How are you currently using your ND? What is your primary focus area of practice?
I currently practice in rural Hermiston, Oregon as a general family practice naturopathic physician. As the only Oregon ND within an hour drive radius, I see a large variety of patients from varying demographics.
What is unique about your clinic or the way you practice?
The Peterson Clinic where I work was home to Oregon’s longest practicing naturopathic physician “Dr. Ken” Peterson until his recent retirement. The clinic is well known for its family friendly environment, the ability to treat difficult cases, and their use of Neuro Emotional Technique (NET). NET helps me in my practice as I consider the mind-body component of health. Additionally, I have a strong interest in the electromagnetic properties of the body and how those properties can aid in understanding a patient’s state of health.
How is OANP valuable to you?
OANP has been a strong ally in improving patient access, improving the financial outlook for NDs practicing in Oregon and protecting our scope of practice. I’m very grateful for their legislative efforts and hope I can continue to support those efforts.
Do you have a favorite patient experience?
I had a young patient who I knew before they became a patient. I found out they had been admitted to an ivy league medical school after developing idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). They left without much improvement to their headache and double vision, though the pressure in the head had been decreased by medications. I had the privilege to evaluate them and noticed their character had completely changed. They had usually been outgoing and cheerful but now had become practically mute and severely negative. The family had all but given up hope that their child would ever be themselves again. With a little bit of investigation, I determined the cause to be PCOS and one of their medications. There are a lot of studies that demonstrate an association between PCOS and IIH, which I found after the fact. Once they came off the medication and started treatment for PCOS the double vision and headaches stopped and after a few weeks, they returned to their normal self. It was a great recovery that shows how potent naturopathic medicine can be. Patient stories like this are what make me love what I do.
Why do you practice naturopathic medicine?
While I have always wanted to serve those around me by bringing them health, I chose naturopathic medicine because it resonated with me as being the form of medicine with the most potential to do good. A physician should inspire change from within as these are the only changes that can last. Additionally, a physician must honor the powerful source of healing that the person themselves are. Each person is designed to adapt, grow and heal their mind, body, and soul.
Who is the most influential person to you on your naturopathic journey?
Working as an assistant to Dr. Ken Peterson at the Peterson Clinic was my introduction to naturopathic medicine. It was clear that he was experienced, kind and humble. His results spoke for themselves. Through him, I realized that naturopathic medicine was what I had really been looking for, though I didn’t know it until then. I also need to give a big shout out to my wife who has been my rock of support through becoming who I am today, I couldn’t have done it without her.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Upon graduating from school at the University of Bridgeport I was recognized for excellence in community service. While there are others I feel may have been just as deserving, I am grateful that others noticed how much I care about those around me. Community service has always been a big part of my life and continues to be today.
Do you have any words of wisdom for recent ND graduates?
Be an active voice. Whether we like it or not, we are all still pioneers in this profession. We continually need good leaders to protect all that we have worked to achieve while laying out the foundations of a profession that promises to be the future of medicine. Obviously, you should devote yourself to your practice and your patients, but do not forget to support the organizations that keep your practice open and patients flowing through. If you disagree with those organizations, make your voice heard so they can better serve you!
What is your definition of “happiness”?
Happiness is knowing that your loved ones love you and that you are capable of facing any challenges the day may bring together.