A: I graduated from naturopathic medical school in 2016, and completed a year long residency in primary care and community health in Portland, Oregon. Following the completion of my residency, I moved to Southern California and worked as an IV doctor for 6 months. I then opened a private practice in Costa Mesa, CA in 2018 with a colleague. My husband and I moved back to the midwest (I am originally from Wisconsin) in November of 2019 :)
Q: What made you choose to pursue naturopathic medicine?
A: The main influence on my career decision was my undergraduate independent study with the University of Wisconsin Industrial Engineering department. At the time I was a pre-med biology major, and was ready to go to “conventional” medical school. The Industrial Engineering department recruited people who were pre-med, and we were given the task of watching hours of primary care visits and coding doctor-patient-computer interactions. While the research was tedious at times, it ended up being a valuable experience because I essentially had the opportunity to virtually shadow numerous area physicians for hours every week. One patient that stood out to me was a woman in her 50’s who was using a walker. I was already surprised by how restricted her mobility was for someone of her age, but what was even more shocking to me was that the number of prescription medications she was on was in the double digits. These were all powerful medications with serious side effects. Many of these medications were prescribed to combat the side effects of her other medications. She, like many other people in this country, was on a chain of one medication being used to mask the symptoms of another. After seeing this visit I quickly became disillusioned with conventional medicine. I realized that although it is really good at preventing people from dying, it is not good at making people well.
Some months after my independent study, my mother showed me an article in one of her nursing magazines that gave basic information on naturopathic medicine and NDs. With my previous experiences prominent in my thoughts, the article sparked my interest. After several months of reflection and research, I decided that pursuing this kind of work would be extremely valuable. I believe in a more holistic approach to medicine: treating patients instead of treating just diseases, and treating the root cause of an illness instead of only giving people Band-Aids.
Q: What kind of patients do you like working with most?
A: I love helping people who struggle with mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. While I was in medical school and during my residency, I completed rotations in naturopathic mental health in conjunction with Pacific University of Oregon’s Psychology and Comprehensive Health Clinic. I love that naturopathic medicine gives people options beyond pharmaceutical intervention for achieving their health goals. Even if patients are already on mental health medications (which are often necessary), naturopathic medicine gives me the tools to help people’s symptoms improve. Whether it is making sure that someone has the proper nutrients to form their neurotransmitters and make the most of their medications, or giving people herbal supplements to augment or even replace their existing medications, I have seen naturopathic medicine help get people’s mental health conditions into remission.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I love spending time with my husband, friends and cat. I like hiking, backpacking, doing yoga, swimming, playing board games, working out at the gym, listening to podcasts and cooking/baking.
Q: What do you look for in a health care practitioner?
A: I like someone who is thorough and straightforward. I really like it when practitioners explain what they are doing as they perform tests and procedures, the reasoning behind why they are doing those tests, and the results and their interpretation of those results. A great health care practitioner, in my opinion, values and demonstrates transparency, expertise, and empathy.