2014's Naturopathic Medicine week is upon us!

I’ve said it all before: Naturopathic Medicine has changed my life in so many ways. It allows each one of my patients to teach me something new everyday. I am privileged to share the good times with them, honored to be with them in their times of need, and grateful for all of the laughs, tears, and hugs. As we celebrate Naturopathic Medicine this week, I want to briefly reflect on my journey in becoming a Naturopathic Doctor as well as the journey that being a doctor, itself, has become.

Some of you know my story. You know about how I found naturopathic medicine, or maybe I should say how naturopathic medicine found me. But, if you don’t know the story here it is.

I was in my senior year at Bluffton University, in my home state of Ohio, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I took the GRE test for graduate school programs because I knew I needed more education, and because I did not know what to do with my biology, and chemistry degrees. I checked a box on a form that said I was going to allow schools to send me information about their programs. So a bunch of brochures were waiting for me at my parents house when I got home for Christmas. I took them to my favorite thinking room (the bathroom), to go through the stack. I left all but the naturopathic medicine brochures in the bathroom trash can. Being from Ohio, I was not exposed to Naturopathic Medicine, but it made sense to me. I then went up to my computer, and read more about Naturopathic schools. I crossed two out instantly then applied for the other three schools. In a matter of about an hour I had written my essays for their applications.

The next thing I knew I was flying out to Tempe, AZ, and Portland, OR to interview at two schools with the third school’s interview being on the phone. I knew the moment I walked onto the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) campus in Tempe that I had found my new home for the next few years. In August of 2003, I packed up my parents minivan, and drove out to Arizona to start school. Four short, or maybe long, years later, I graduated with honors from SCNM. In my last year I spent time doing clinical rotations with MD’s, and DO’s around the country as I wanted to understand what my patients would have already experienced. I wanted to understand how patients were traditionally looked at, and treated. I learned many important lessons from Dr. Karen in Arizona during this time. She is an amazing DO who spends time with her patients. Dr. Karen told me to always listen to my patients, and to connect with them. I feel that I am a better doctor because of the lessons she taught me.

In August of 2007, my classmates, and I took our national board exams. A month later I found out that I had passed, and could start practicing. Starting a practice has been filled with many challenges. There have been many ups and downs, tears, joy, and heartache. You name it. However, each year my practice grows because of you, my patients, and each year I am challenged to become better at what I do in new ways. Again, you, my patients make the days worth it. You bring joy to my life, keep me laughing, learning, and wanting to do better. So to all of you, I say thank you. As for my future patients, I am excited to start a health adventure with you. I am blessed, and honored to be a Naturopathic Doctor. I am in a profession with amazing doctors, friends, and colleagues. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week!