Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 03/18/20

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss what is known to date about COVID-19 and natural therapies.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • The implications of a novel virus
  • Review of current literature and knowledge, including Traditional Chinese medicine and natural therapies
  • Tips to support a healthy immune system
  • How to show appreciation and support for those working on the frontlines of providing care
  • Tips to keep your mental health positive in the face of COVID-19

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And We are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. We are joined by Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’ career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care and public health. She joins us monthly to talk about all issues related to naturopathic medicine, health, wellness and just overall well-being. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning, folks. I hope that you are all well.

Erin Brinker: Yes, going a little stir crazy, but other than that we’re really great. So, one of the things that’s come up throughout this growing crisis is people with their, and I’m going to use air quotes, you can’t see me, but I’m using air quotes, their natural cures for this virus, for the COVID-19. I think most of that is probably bunk, but you are the expert, so what do you do from a naturopathic standpoint do to combat this disease?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you so very much for bringing that up. So, first off, COVID-19 is a novel virus. What that means is that we’ve never seen it before. So if we’ve never seen it before, we never run any clinical tests or trials on it. Therefore, nobody should be claiming anything is a cure, or anything is specifically preventive for COVID-19. I want to be really emphatic about that. I was actually on the record in Newsweek because there was somebody making claims about cures for coronavirus. And so what we’re seeing is that there is nothing at all indicating that anything is, nothing has been tested. This is all brand new. Some of the trials in China are actively going on right now. They are testing Traditional Chinese Medicine and testing things like intravenous Vitamin C, but that is all going on right now. We have no data, we have no information. We don’t know. So, I think at this point anybody claiming to have a cure should not be doing so.

Erin Brinker: You know, they say that, they point to Chinese medicine and say that naturopathic medicine has been there for thousands of years. I say naturopathic, homeopathic or naturopathic, has been there for thousands of years, and that they have the right cure. But like you said, that may be true that this has been going on, that they’ve had this kind of medicine thousands of years, but this particular virus hasn’t been around for thousands of years. It’s new.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. This particular virus is brand new. Traditional Chinese medicine is not the same as naturopathic medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for many thousands of years and has clinical trials, has studies regarding many, many types of conditions. And if can be very efficacious in those types of conditions. But like I said, this is new, so we really don’t know specific to COVID-19 what is going to work.

We’re seeing interesting things with this virus and virus progression, from a microbiological standpoint of how it works. And so, we’re just trying to understand how the virus works, how it infects tissue, how it’s different from other viruses and other Coronaviruses. Most Coronaviruses will cause very minor symptoms or a common cold. This is obviously not the case here. And so people in the natural products industry are definitely speculating what could work based on what we know about the microbiology of this virus specifically, but we have no, it’s all speculation at this point. Does that make sense?

Erin Brinker: It does. It does. Where something may look promising, but we don’t have any studies to prove that it will indeed be promising, or that there might be some other issue down the road.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Exactly. There are no studies because it is novel. Novel means new.

Erin Brinker: So, what should people do to, I mean we know about the social distancing.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Erin Brinker: Are there supplements that people can take to boost their immune system? I know that there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of nonsense out there. And so the consumer says, “Well if I take this, this and this then it’ll help me.” But I don’t know because everybody seems to say that they have the cure for everything. So, how do you cut through the muck?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are definitely things that help support a healthy immune system. And we’ve talked about that on this show before. Making sure that your vitamin D stores are adequate. Vitamin D is a supplement or it’s a vitamin that increases from sunlight. So, we have higher levels of it in the summer time, lower levels of it in the winter time. So, making sure that your Vitamin D stores are adequate. Understanding that those respiratory droplets, they stay longer in colder air. And so there is a thought process, again, it’s all speculative, that having more humidity in the air, not having as much cold and dry air, may contribute to a lower spread of that respiratory droplet. But again, you don’t really know.

The key takeaways, stress, keeping your stress down. Stress will lower your immune system. And also very, very important to have adequate sleep, to make sure that you’re getting long restful sleep in the middle of the night as much as you can, keeping stress down. We’ve talked about mindful meditation, gratitude before, I know all of those things that are really helpful. That we know helps to mitigate our risk. Making sure that you’re eating a really well balanced and nutritious diet, keeping the sugar down low to a minimum. And you know, all of the basics that we’ve talked about, Erin, before on this show about staying strong and keeping your immune system healthy.

There are some folks that are looking at various different approaches with vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin D. There are natural anti-inflammatory herbs and natural antiviral herbs. But again, we don’t know what is going to work in this case.

Erin Brinker: So, I think about things that people do to clear their minds and to reduce stress and many of them involve being around other people, and we can’t do that right now. And so what do you recommend for, you’re going to get a little, people are going to get cabin fever.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Erin Brinker: What do you recommend for keeping that peace of mind?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, that is a really important component of this because we are by nature social beings. My son is home from school, and we’ve been trying to make the best of it. And I’ve been really heart warmed at all of the afterschool activities that have managed to go online. Yesterday my son did his taekwondo practice online in the living room.

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: He got to wave to all his friends and everybody was there and they had this little mini group taekwondo class and the master was watching them all on their screens, checking their forms, correcting them when they made mistakes. And it was just like they were in class except they were all on their screens. And so I think you know, as much as we can, try and check in with your loved ones every day if you can. If you’re home, if you’re not in the car commuting, you shouldn’t be any way, unless you have a job that is essential to be going into. And so go and connect with folks. You know, we Skyped yesterday with my son’s cousins, and he got to wave at them and talk to them for a little bit.

I think, that human connection, we are so fortunate. I’m just thankful that this didn’t happen 30 years ago because I would be sitting drinking Tang and watching Inspector Gadget soap operas or something. I’m so thankful for those who do have technology now. That is something that is, there’s a disparity there, not everybody has technology and has enough bandwidth to be able to be on with folks constantly. So that is something to be considerate of. And I know that there are some internet companies that are starting to make concessions with people who are low income to up their internet now because they understand that this is the only way people are staying connected. So you know, I do just want to be mindful of that and recognize that not everybody is that fortunate. But I will say that try as much as you can.

You can get outside, within reason it, keep that six feet of distance between you and other people. Go take a walk, go get your bike out. Yesterday my son took his scooter out and I jogged alongside of him. You can still get outside. So, I think people need to recognize they don’t have to necessarily be housebound. You just need to be social distancing. Does that make sense?

Erin Brinker: It makes total sense. Tobin actually talked about how therapeutic it was yesterday for him to run.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure.

Tobin Brinker: Yeah, I did the LA Marathon a week ago, and I did not intend to get back to running quite as quickly. I like to give my legs a couple of weeks off, but I was going stir crazy. So, I just did a short two-mile run, and it completely changed my perspective.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. I’ve seen friends of mine going out and going for hikes in the woods. You can get out, go out into the desert, just don’t be around people. So, I think people need to recognize, connect with nature, connect with your families, and connect with yourself.

Erin Brinker: So, the final question that I have for you, and I know we’re running a little over, but the final question that I have for you, it has to do with our first responders and our, hospital staff, people who are working longer hours, in areas that have been affected. What can we do? Is there a fund to support them so that they, or is there something that the average person can do to show our appreciation for people who are putting themselves in harm’s way?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, I’m not exactly sure of existing things. I would imagine that that would be a local jurisdictional type of thing that, maybe call up the non-emergency line of your fire or the police department to ask them what they need, how you can help. Call up the non-emergency line, the hospitals are pretty packed right now. My husband is a hospital administrator as you know here locally, and has been working around the clock all through the weekend, and through the week trying to get the hospital prepped and ready for what they’re anticipating will be increased volume, and also dealing with the emotional state of healthcare workers. So, what I could say on a personal level if you know healthcare workers, check in on them, make sure that their mental health is okay. They’re going to be working hard for the next bit here.

Erin Brinker: They are. And it’s working long hours in a high-pressure situation, and we’re all very grateful for the work that they do.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I know. So, I’m thinking like this is, we’re basically at war. I feel like we’re at a war time in our country, like this is a war against the virus. We’re being called to do our civic part. Stay home, stay out of crowds, stay safe ourselves, and rather than the army being our infantry, our health workers are our infantry right now.

Erin Brinker: Indeed. Indeed. And that will be our final note. How do people find and follow you on social media and learn more about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, if you don’t want to leave your house, next week we have a virtual fair. You can stay home, log in on your computer, and join us on our virtual fair. There will be folks from all of the colleges there. We are on social media, on our website at aanmc.org, and we’ll see you online. I hope that folks stay healthy and safe.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, thank you so much for joining us. As always, it was informative and interesting, and we look forward to our next conversation.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you folks. Talk soon.

Erin Brinker: Talk soon. Be well. So, with that, it is time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: I’m Todd Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 02/12/20

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate “On the Brink” to discuss the power of positive psychology on health.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • An overview on positive psychology and how its related to naturopathic medicine
  • Emerging research on the benefits of positive psychology and health
  • Perception framing in hard times
  • Developing an attitude of gratitude
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3, and I am super excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She is a naturopathic doctor herself and she joins us once a month to talk about all things health and wellness.

Erin Brinker: Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning. How are you both?

Erin Brinker: We’re doing great.

Todd Brinker: Doing good.

Erin Brinker: How are you surviving the wind?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It’s been windy.

Erin Brinker: It’s been windy.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It’s definitely windy. That’s an understatement.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I loved in the intro that you talked about wellness, and for me it’s so fascinating. So the 17th, we have these random alerts on, I don’t know if you guys pay attention to all those weird days now that all of a sudden have been invented?

Erin Brinker: Oh yes.

Todd Brinker: Hard to miss them.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: All the days. The Drink Coffee day, the Right Eye day, all of the days. But February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness day, and this one-

Erin Brinker: Oh!

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Struck me … Yes, exactly. This one struck me as special.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, naturopathic medicine, you know, I come here every month, we come from a wellness-based approach. Not only are we working with patients struggling with a symptom or an illness, but we partner with them to understand the why, and why that illness or symptom is manifesting. And how we restore balance is often through this wellness based lifestyle approach.

So personally, I’ve become enthralled with this whole line of research called positive psychology. Have you ever heard about that?

Erin Brinker: No. I-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Positive psychology was founded by two researchers who were disillusioned with this sole focus on the illness-based model. This, you go to a doctor, you find out why you’re sick, but we don’t really do a whole lot to stay well or focus on why people are happy or healthy.

They studied the traits and the characteristics of happy and healthy people, and it’s this whole wellness-based model. And I think that’s why as an ND, why I’m so attracted to it.

Erin Brinker: Holy cow. That’s awesome.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I keep wanting to know more about it. It’s really cool.

There’s all this growing literature around positive psychology and this wellness-based model. And research has been showing, concentrating on positive qualities, life experiences, cultivating a positive mindset, are actually showing results in mental, emotional and physical health benefits.

So, things like expressing gratitude, like with Random Acts of Kindness Day, are associated with somebody’s overall sense of well-being. It’s been shown in research and again, the research is developing, but there’s been emerging research here on its impact on depression, relationships, even work performance and fewer trips to the doctor.

I’m just super excited about it. There’s been additional research also showing preliminary results in HIV patients where those who were more optimistic in their lives showed lower disease progression, coronary heart disease, the list goes on. It’s really exciting.

Erin Brinker: So, I think that we have, I mean anecdotally I’ve heard of stories with cancer patients, that the ones who tend to survive are the ones who … And this is not always, but they are more positive. They have something to live for.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes

Erin Brinker: Or feel that they do.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There was this Three Stooges study, where they had cancer patients watch the Three Stooges or watch comedy, and then they measured blood markers for immune function. And they found that folks have better immune function when they’re laughing and they’re enjoying life.

And so white blood cells go up, immune system function works better. All of that impact. It’s amazing. I always used to think, “They studied the Three Stooges?” But yes, they actually studied-

Erin Brinker: But I have to-

Erin Brinker: The subjects were male, because I don’t know a lot of women who watch the Three Stooges.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, yes. Just this weekend my husband was watching Mr. Bean with my son, and the two of them are cracking up. And I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know about this . . .”

But I think the ultimate point is, focus on positivity in your life. And so, for me personally, things happen, life happens. I’ve had a little bit, you could call it a rough year with some close family having health and illness problems and challenges, and a very close friend of mine having an accident that left him a paraplegic-

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, but in the midst of this, and I was talking with him when he was really in a rough place and I framed it for myself and for him, I’m like, “I didn’t go to your funeral. I know this isn’t how you thought life was going to be, but let’s find something good here.”

And so, for me, I think, you can stay in a place of darkness, or you can try and make a positive choice to find the good. And so that gratitude is for me really important to not stay in those dark places, and to be able to come out of it.

There are lots of different ways that you can improve that and practice at it. And I think we’ve all experienced rough patches. I don’t think there’s a person alive that has not had something that could qualify as a rough patch, but it’s so much about perception. It really, to me anyway, is how you frame that and how you … Do you allow yourself stay in that dark place or do you look for the good?

And so, for me there are lots of different ways to do this. You can create a gratitude journal, you can just think about three things that you have to be grateful for, even in the midst of tough stuff, find three.

And then, who are you grateful for? Who are the people who’ve done nice things for you? Say thank you to them. It goes both ways. And that’s where this Random Acts of Kindness day comes in. Random Acts of Kindness, I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but I’ve gone and paid for the person behind me in at the coffee shop. Offered to do something random for folks. And I’ve got to say, it makes me feel good. And it also brightens up the day as a person who is on the receiving end. So both people benefit.

So, this Random Acts of Kindness day, yes, it’s one more day along with the Right Eye day and the Left Eyelash day. But I encourage everybody to increase that kindness and their positivity in their life every day.

Erin Brinker: I could not agree more. We, so many times, because cause every single person has some sort of hardship or tribulation in their own lives. Everyone. That’s part of the human condition. And the people who are able to handle it are the ones that choose to handle it in a positive way.

And I’m thinking of Viktor Frankl who … And the name of his book just flew out of my head right now-

Todd Brinker: A Man’s Search for Meaning.

Erin Brinker: A Man’s Search for Meaning. The man was in a concentration camp and manage to stay positive. And not that all of us are going to find themselves in that situation, God forbid-

Todd Brinker: Right.

Erin Brinker: But we do have a power over how we react to the world. How we choose to find ourselves and keep ourselves in this world.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. Years ago, when I was watching cartoons with my son, there was Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which was a riff off of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. But one thing that they had was this whole episode on ‘choosing happy’. And so that became a mantra in our house when things were going a little south, or there was a temper tantrum or something. I would always just reiterate, choose happy.

And for me, I have to tell myself that sometimes too! I think we all do, but the wonderful thing about gratitude and happiness is we can cultivate it for ourselves. We can be mindful and we can practice, and so anybody can develop this attitude of gratitude and improve their mental, emotional and physical health. But like you said, Erin, it’s a choice.

Erin Brinker: It is. And that will be our last word. How do people find and follow you on the web and on social media?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, you bet. We are at AANMC.org. We’re also on all the social media handles, and we host in person events. Next month we have a virtual fair for folks thinking about becoming a naturopathic student. We are also hosting a Food as Medicine webinar next month in March too. So, if one of those interests you come to our website and sign up.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s always a treat to have you on the air.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you folks. Have a great day-

Erin Brinker: Thank you too.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And find something to be grateful for.

Erin Brinker: There you go. We will. And I hope you do too. Have a great day.

Erin Brinker: So, with that, it is time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 01/08/20

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate “On the Brink” to discuss the power of mentorship, and what it can offer you personally and professionally.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • How mentoring is linked with career success and satisfaction
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Mentor and mentee relationship needs
  • Seeking mentorship at different stages of your life and career
  • Recognizing strengths and weaknesses
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: We are On the Brink, the morning show, on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. I am super excited to welcome back to the show, Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She joins us once a month to talk about all things health related, naturopathic and otherwise. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me folks.

Erin Brinker: Did you enjoy your holidays?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I did. I hope you all did as well. You know what I’m enjoying today?

Erin Brinker: What’s that?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Today is, “I am a Mentor Day.”

Erin Brinker: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Who knew? They have so many different days now, that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

Erin Brinker: That one is a beautiful one. In our last segment, we were talking about issues of despair and how human connection is important. Mentors are a huge part of that.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: They are a huge part of it. There’s actually research that’s been done on working professionals and folks that have mentors in their work environment and people that don’t. It’s amazing. Folks that have mentors are more likely to get a raise. They’re more likely to get a promotion. They’re happier in their jobs. The folks that do the mentorship, who are the actual mentor, report higher job satisfaction and professional connection. That professional connection part and the personal connection part that you just talked about, is so important. And It’s interesting, now I hear even from my own colleagues, where maybe they haven’t been able to find a mentor in the traditional sense, and they’re getting personal coaches.

Erin Brinker: They’re feeling that need for themselves.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. They’re feeling that need for themselves professionally and maybe there isn’t somebody who’s doing exactly what they want or they haven’t been able to find that. So, they’re going and hiring coaches for work.

Erin Brinker: It’s interesting, in this area, the number of people going to college who are the first in their families to go to college, is quite large in the San Bernardino and Riverside counties, especially in San Bernardino. Students who have a mentor when they start college fare much better, are much more likely to persist to graduation and just have a better overall experience than those who don’t. For youth, mentoring is incredibly important as well.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, it is. Some of the data… I know that maybe this is embedded in that San Bernardino data, but some of the data around diversity definitely demonstrates that first-generation or folks who are coming from a disadvantaged background, really can be helped with a hand up in support and resources to help ensure that they’re successful. They may not have had the same type of family support that other folks might have had coming into school. They’re just as capable, if not more so, of working hard and doing well, but there might be some additional resources that they may need. There was one recent article on diversity that I was reading about that spoke to Native American students, and assisting them and getting work study so that they could stay in school, in those early years of school because many do have to provide support back home, even though they’re in school.  It’s very interesting to see that there isn’t a one size fits all approach in success. That common thread is help, is asking for help, and getting help, whether it’s a mentor or a coach or an advisor or whatever. Asking for that help and seeking it out and making sure that you’re also receptive to getting help. Sometimes folks are proud and they don’t want to admit that they’re lost or they need help until it’s too late. I wrote an article last month about mentorship and it’s just as important with the mentor, to be sensitive to what the mentee needs, but also the mentee to be able to receive that feedback and to ask for help, and to say what they need. It’s a bilateral relationship.

Erin Brinker: I think about doctors, especially now naturopathic and other independent doctors, who generally, they’ll put a shingle out and have their own practice or have a small practice as opposed to being part of a majorly large group like Kaiser Permanente. In that point, connection with others in the field, people who have been doing it longer, becomes incredibly important, I would imagine.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is. It’s one of the pieces of advice that I always share with prospective or new students, is the power of mentorship, the need for networking. If you are starting a business… Erin, would you think of starting a restaurant, or any other type of small business without talking to other people who’ve started restaurants and what worked, what didn’t work, what did you learn? What do you wish you knew? Most people, if they’re doing it right, wouldn’t enter into some sort of a new business without doing a lot of homework, without finding out what best practices were, what works, what are the pitfalls, what should I look to avoid? Those types of things. In naturopathic medicine, like in any other practice where many people are opening up their own business, it’s really important. It’s an important step in doing your homework, to find that mentorship, to seek that out, and find out what’s worked before.

Erin Brinker: I know that AANMC does a lot of that leadership work. I’ll call that leadership work and mentorship work both to the college leadership but also to people who are interested in becoming naturopathic doctors.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We do and our work focuses right now a lot more on the academic leadership and helping to build up another network of up and coming academic leaders. That is another area where we see, not a lot of people who even recognize that it’s a career path. Then once they do, it’s like, “Oh wait, I have to learn how to teach. I have to learn how to lead. I have to learn all of these other things that I didn’t get in medical school necessarily. Curriculum plans. I know that you have loved ones in academia. Teaching is an art.

Erin Brinker: It is.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Leadership is an art. That’s not always an art everyone succeeds in very well.

Erin Brinker: Not everybody has that gift.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: No, not everyone has that gift. There are some that do, and how do you foster that? Yes, we’re definitely focused on promoting that and looking at that. I don’t know if you’ve had mentors, but I’ve had mentors along the way and part of my passion is giving back. I still seek out mentors. I think it gets a little harder the further along you are in your career sometimes, to find folks who have the level, the skill sets, and the things you need for mentorship. I’m always leaning on colleagues. Other executive directors and I will have powwows and so on, from time to time. What’s working for you? What’s not working for you? I seek that out even with my role in my job in seeking out mentorship and belonging to professional associations that have other folks that are doing what I do. It’s really important to continually, as part of a process of continual improvement, self-improvement, and self-awareness to… And I know we’ve talked about self-awareness before… But to have that mentor or a network of social support within your profession to bounce off ideas. Hey, I’m feeling this. Or Hey, am I overreacting? Hey, is this normal? Should this be happening? All of those things that are important to have for your own mental and your own career trajectory.

Erin Brinker: It also builds trust within an organization. Any healthy organization has succession planning for all positions, but especially for those at the top. The people who are coming up should be mentored. Number one, you get to know them and trust them. Teams work better when you know each other better. Number two, you figure out what their strengths are. You have somebody coming up in an organization, you find out that they’re more people oriented, they’re numbers oriented, even if they’re working in the accounting department. Okay. So maybe they’ll be in leadership in one segment versus another. That’s part of mentoring, is getting to know the people that you are working with.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. It’s really important, I think, and what you’re mentioning, with any sort of work environment, whether it’s an association like mine or a school or a regular business or a medical center, to know people’s strengths and weaknesses. Help them know those strengths and the weaknesses. It allows you, as a leader, to get the right people in the right positions to know what you need and when you need it. I think there’s a component of that as well. That mentorship really is important.

I think as some of the younger academic leaders that are starting to participate in some of my groups, and seeing them mature and seeing them grow and it’s really awesome to see, and inspiring to see people learning. Oh, here’s a way that I can get better engagement in my meetings. Here’s a way that I can get people to respond to my emails. Basic stuff that we take for granted. It’s fun to see it grow. I always have a rule for myself, okay, if anything… but I’ve had to learn it the hard way. If I’m having to email you more than a couple of times on a topic, it’s time to take it to the phone. Those are just things that I live by it. If there’s an email thread of a bunch of stuff, or if something is maybe going to elicit an emotion, let’s take it to a phone call, or better yet if face to face, if you can do that. Those are the things that I had to learn the hard way. I had to learn after email threads of 15 back and forth emails.

Erin Brinker: Everybody misunderstanding what’s happening and getting more and more frustrated or annoyed or hurt or whatever.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. Absolutely. If I could pass on a little bit of the things I’ve learned the hard way to someone else, and keep them from making that mistake, I would love the opportunity. I think the mentorship month that we’re in now, culminates with thank your mentor on the 30th. I have a long list of folks that I’m going to be emailing that day and thanking.

Erin Brinker: Wonderful. Well Dr. Yanez, this has been enlightening and fun. Tell people how they can find you and follow you and learn more about the AANMC.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You bet. We are on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn. AANMC.org is our web handle. We host monthly webinars. We’ll have one this Friday about changing careers. If you’re interested or thinking about a career in naturopathic medicine, I hope you can join us.

Erin Brinker: Wonderful. Well it has been a treat as always. Dr. Yanez, thank you so much for joining us and have a wonderful rest of the week.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You bet. Thanks to you and same to you all.

Erin Brinker: With that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: We are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 12/04/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate “On the Brink” to discuss tips to avoid overindulging this holiday season. Hear all about how to help keep you on track!

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Reducing holiday sweet temptations in the workplace and at home
  • Focusing on people instead of food this holiday season
  • Alternatives to sugary beverages
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker-

Todd Brinker: … and I’m Todd Brinker-

Erin Brinker: … and we are On the Brink, the Morning Show on KCAA, AM 10.50, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. I’m super excited to welcome back to the show, Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She joins us once a month to talk about all things health and wellness, and just feeling the best way you possibly can. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning. Happy holiday season.

Erin Brinker: Happy holiday season to you. I have to say thank you to you. Yesterday I get this call from the station that this beautiful fruit bouquet had been delivered here to the station and it was from you all, and thank you so much for doing it. I do have one complaint. There was one dipped in chocolate and Tobin ate it before I got home from work. I’m like, “You ate the only chocolate one?” He’s like, “Well, I’m the one who went and picked it up.” But I was up, so I had a fruit feast last night. It was delicious. There’s still plenty of fruit left, but …

Dr. JoAnn Yanez:  I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes, we try to keep it mostly healthy here at the AANMC.

Erin Brinker: Well, I wanted something sweet last night. It was absolutely perfect. So, thank you so much.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You bet. You bet.

Erin Brinker: Well, and eating healthy over the holidays is easier said than done, because there are sweet things and fatty things and creamy things everywhere.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are. You know, it is funny that so much of our holiday season focuses around food and drink and debauchery and lots of extra calories available if we so choose. And so we’ve written a few pieces on how to stay healthy during the holiday season, and that includes food, but there are a number of things that you can do to minimize that holiday bloat, shall we call it, that many people find themselves gaining weight over the holidays, not feeling as well, and there’s a lot that you can do about that.

Erin Brinker: So, we all know to stay away from the cookies and the other things. But you know, in my office for example, we just made a move and people were bringing in donuts and people were bringing in candy and you know … and some of those people were me. And so, how do you make healthy choices in that environment?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: One thing that you’re bringing up here is workplace culture. Having been in medicine and so you know, witness to the plate of cookies and the chocolates and the donuts at a place of health care, it’s very difficult. I think there’s something that leadership can take a stand and step up and say, “Hey, we’re going to celebrate our holidays differently this year. Let’s keep the cookies and the cakes to a minimum.” Or make one day that, everybody gets to bring in their sugar fix if they like to make holiday cookies, and that’s part of their tradition.

But you know, leadership can take a stand in that, and leadership sets the tone of what is … you know, without being overly restrictive of what is healthy. There are ways that leadership can do that, and set that pace for the rest of the staff. That’s one way. Now if leadership isn’t doing that, and isn’t stepping up, then we all have to take ownership in that. If we’re bringing in cookies ourselves or we’re bringing in things that aren’t as healthy. We have a rule in our house. We don’t buy bread. We don’t bring in ice cream. We don’t bring in cookies and things like that into the house, because guess what happens?

Erin Brinker: We eat them.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, we do! And so we have a rule, like every once in a while my son will see something on the shelf and, “Oh mommy, I want that,” and I’ll bring it home and then I’ll get this nasty looks from my husband like, “Why did you bring that into the house? You know I’m going to end up eating it?”

Todd Brinker: I would spend a lot of time on the patio.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Exactly. I think that we all have to do our part. One of those core tenets is, don’t put yourself into that position if you can. And so, you know, in the workplace we’re kind of held captive. We don’t have as much of a say. But if you do have ways of giving feedback back to your leadership and saying, “Hey, I’d like to create a healthier tone for the holidays. What can we do? Can we organize a corporate wellness event? Can we do a corporate walk? Are there charities we can raise money for, rather than spending money on food and things that we really don’t need here? Can we organize a community event? Can we organize some sort of a charity event or something like that?” And focus the energy in a different way. Does that make sense?

Erin Brinker: It makes total sense. It makes total sense. There’s probably way … you bring in, I have to say the fruit that’s in this wonderful arrangement that I was given by you, it had melon and pineapple and … It has, because there’s still some fruit left because there was a lot … grapes and beautiful strawberries. So, then I got the sweet fix last night but it wasn’t unhealthy.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. I think that some people are able to tolerate fruit better than others, but again, it’s really the whole thing. Now, this is holiday party season, so how do we manage the holiday parties, because that tends to be tough for a lot of folks as well, between the alcohol and all the extra finger food. And so, there are a couple tips for navigating that holiday party. Number one is, don’t show up super hungry, because if you’re hungry, guess what. You’re going to be gorging yourself on everything that there is there that may not have been a choice you would have made otherwise.

Another is, bring healthy food with you. If it as a potluck and you can bring something to the holiday party, brings something that you would prefer to eat. I have friends of mine who are celiac and gluten free and a lot of times they’ll end up just bringing things they know that they can have because they can’t anticipate that there will be food that will be in their food plan and diet plan and not make them feel ill. So, I think that there are a lot of tricks to that. Drink water. Have a glass of water for every alcohol drink you have. Maybe skip some of the eggnogs and punches if you are going to drink, and have just a plain glass of wine. But there are a lot of ways of navigating that.

And, focus on the people. I think at the holiday parties … I know my family traditions are always guilty of this. “What are they serving? What’s the food? What do they have?” Everybody’s focused on the food. But, focus on the people. What are the holidays really about? What are these gatherings really about? Are they just about sitting and feeding your face, or should they more be about connecting with people? And so, I think if you look at these holiday parties more as a chance to get to connect with folks and it isn’t so much about the food components, I’d just stay focused on the people more than the food.

Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s a good idea. That’s really what it’s about anyway, is that if you’re going for the food, you’re going for the wrong reason. I mean, it’s about connecting people to one another, you know? I mean, unless it’s at a Michelin star restaurant. Then you’re going for the food.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, yes, but my holiday parties don’t roll that deep.

Erin Brinker: You brought up having a glass of wine. Are there other beverages, alcoholic beverages, that are better? You know, along the spectrum of beverages, in addition to wine, what are some other choices that are not quite as bad?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Skip the sugary mixers. If you are going to drink … I’m not one authorizing, you know, taking shots at the bar or anything like that, but if you’re going to be drinking, the sugary mixers are also what gets people into trouble. You know, the sodas and the fruit juices and all of that and so maybe choose-

Todd Brinker: There’s egg in my nog.

Erin Brinker: There’s egg in your nog?

Todd Brinker: This can’t be unhealthy.

JoAnn Yanez: In the nog … Actually, I’m of the Caribbean persuasion and so the holidays bring out … I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of coquito, but it’s a coconut-based eggnog which is just decadent and ridiculous, but-

Erin Brinker: Oh, that sounds delicious.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … full of sugar and not one of the healthiest choices to be making. So again, mixed … If you are going for an alcoholic drink, limit the number, be mindful of how many you’re having, keep it to one or two max, and skip out on those sugary drinks or sugary mixers if you are going to be mixing. You can have a splash of soda water instead of soda or tonic or things that have more of a carb count in them.

Erin Brinker: There are often skinny versions of favorite cocktails. Like, you can get a skinny pina colada or a skinny lemon drop.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: They are often loaded with chemicals. The way they make them skinny is … What are they using as a sweetener? What are they using for flavor? And so, I think often you’re better just saying, “Hey, if you are going to give me … If you’re going for a “skinny margarita,” just have them give you tequila and a bunch of lime juice with the salt rim. That is a much more waist friendly version than if you were going for the full-blown margarita with the sugar and all of that added. I think there are ways of making healthier cocktails. You know, squeeze the lime, squeeze the lemon, squeeze the orange just straight rather than going for a lot of fruit juice. So, there are healthier ways of making those cocktails.

Erin Brinker: We are out of time. How do people find out more about the AANMC, and how do they follow you on social media?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: AANMC.org. We have a webinar tomorrow with Dr. Doni Wilson on depression and anxiety and how to overcome that naturally (view the recording). So, there are lots of ways that you can connect with us at AANMC.

Erin Brinker: Dr. JoAnn Yanez, as always, it is such a treat to have you on the air. Thank you so much. And Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and happy holidays to you.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Same to you both.

Erin Brinker: All right, so with that we need to take a quick break. I’m Erin Brinker-

Todd Brinker: … and I’m Todd Brinker-

Erin Brinker: … and we are On the Brink, the Morning Show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 11/13/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss the relationship between sleep, stress, and memory function.



Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Sleep hygiene
  • Disciplining our thoughts and minds to better sleep
  • The difference between naturopathic and integrative medicine
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. So excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium education committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life. Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. She joins us every month to talk about health and wellness from a naturopathic perspective. I’m tongue-tied this morning. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning. How are you?

Erin Brinker: Good morning. We’re good. We’re good. How are you?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I’m doing really well.

Erin Brinker: So, tell us about … This is a perfect topic for today, brain health.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. Today … I need to remember the topic, which is memory. What was I talking about today? Oh, memory. That’s right.

Erin Brinker: Memory. When I get tired, especially, I have many more of those senior moments and we’re not seniors yet. I’m not a senior yet. So, yeah.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are so many facets to memory and you really nailed it, sleep is one of the big ones for people, sleeping and stress. Think of what is involved in having solid memory. You have to be present, your brain’s got to be functioning optimally, and so anything that’s going to take that brain space out of optimal mode can have ripple effects in your memory and how you feel.

Erin Brinker: So, what about people who just, they have a difficult time sleeping? Maybe they have a young baby at home, maybe they have something, just unbelievable stress in their lives, maybe they’re grieving, somebody’s passed away. What do you do to … What’s some good sleep hygiene that will help you keep your brain in good working order?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So much of that’s going to be individual. I think when you look at issues with sleep, issues with stress, we’ve all had those periods of time and sometimes it’s got to be the, “Okay, let’s patch this temporarily or let’s get through this moment,” knowing that it’s going to pass. Sometimes there are things that won’t pass, like illnesses that are more chronic and longstanding and so it’s really, it’s going to be an individual case by case basis.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But with sleep, there are some important ones. I had a young child at home who was waking up every hour and a half or so to feed when he was little and it seemed like it went on forever and that he was going to graduate high school the same way. But it does pass.

Erin Brinker: That’s so true. You’re thinking it’s never going to end.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: When you’re in that moment, it feels like it’s never going to end.

Erin Brinker: It really does.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And my husband would look at me sometimes like, “How long are you going to do this? Is he going to be walking across the stage with you? Like, come on.”

Erin Brinker: No.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: No, but so I think at the end of the day, yes there are things that are temporary, but there are things that you can do. Like you said, sleep hygiene is really important. One of those key ones that I was really guilty of in those early mommy days was turning my phone on, and the light from the phone can start to stimulate some of the hormones in your brain that wake you up, and so that’s the last thing that you really should be doing at two, three in the morning when your brain is trying to stay asleep.

There are other things like meditation or prayer, or just focusing your thoughts. Some people have the brain that just doesn’t turn off. I don’t know if that’s ever impacted either of you, where your brain just starts to go into hyper-drive, “Oh, I’ve got to vacuum. Oh, I need to … What do I need at the grocery store?” And all of those things that just start creeping in. Brain discipline is what I call it, where you discipline yourself to think of those things at another time, and as those thoughts come in and creep in, you say, “Thank you very much, I’ll deal with you tomorrow.”

Erin Brinker: Ah, all right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Keep staying very disciplined on every single time one of those thoughts comes in, I will just kind of focus in on the space in between my eyebrows, on that little space, and just kind of get really calm and focus on that space and just say, “Thanks very much. We’ll go shopping tomorrow.”

Erin Brinker: Well that’s-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: “And if I don’t remember you tomorrow and then so be it.”

Erin Brinker: It wasn’t that important.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, the world’s not going to end.

Erin Brinker: So, it is odd how … My low spot in my circadian rhythms, it’s three and three. Three in the afternoon is my low spot, then I wake up at three in the morning a lot. Some of the times I can go back to sleep, but other times, it’s those thoughts, those, “Okay, I need to do this. I need to do … Oh, I hadn’t thought about this, I hadn’t thought about that,” and I thought, “Well, do I get up and write those down? Do I roll over and go back to sleep?” I haven’t tried what you said.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. The roll over and go back to sleep, unless it’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel or something like that.

Erin Brinker: And it’s not.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, you know, if you’re solving world hunger, sure, write it down. If it’s what’s got to go on the grocery list or what chores you have to do or something for work, let it pass.

Erin Brinker:  Yep. Yep. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. So having that mindful exercise, that ritual, can help you train your brain to get rid of those things,

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, it takes discipline. I will say I’ve been at it for a good six years now-

Todd Brinker: I’m out.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez:  … and it definitely takes discipline and practice and I’m not always perfect, but it helps a lot and it helps with that getting back to sleep after you’ve woken up, especially in the middle of the night.

Erin Brinker: So how do you share this good news with your kids? I mean, they wake up in the middle of the night, too. Have you taught your kids how to do this? Or has it not come up yet? Or how do you train them?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, that’s a tricky one. Mine doesn’t wake up all that much anymore. But trying to empower people to do that work on themselves and calm their brains down is something I love about my son’s school. They have that as part of the program where they teach them how to relax and focus and calm their brains down, especially when they’re a little hyper, and so I think that’s a valuable lifelong tool.

Erin Brinker: Indeed. Indeed. So, is this going to be the topic of your next webinar? Or was it the topic of your last webinar on the AANMC website?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, we have … Our upcoming topic for this coming month is going to be depression and anxiety, but brain health and all of that kind of ties in pretty nicely. But today actually, we’re on for our virtual fair, our annual virtual fair. We have all of the schools online and our online platform and they’re all there talking to folks about how to be a student or how to find an ND and choose a career path.

Erin Brinker: Awesome, that’s wonderful. Now, I do have one question related to naturopathic medicine versus integrated medicine. So, does an integrated medicine doctor go to traditional medical school or like a standard medical school? Or do they go to a naturopathic medical school? Or both? I’m putting you on the spot because we didn’t prep for that, but kind of wondering how that works.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh no, no worries. Integrative medicine is one of those kind of catchall terms that even naturopathic doctors will use. What I think of with integrative medicine is really integrating natural approaches into conventional care, and so that can look like a lot of ways. There are NDs that practice more integratively, where they’re more in a primary care setting. They may be part of integrative healthcare teams that can include medical doctors, osteopaths, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, counselors, and so on. So, there are lots of different ways that integrative medicine can work.

When medical doctors choose to go more of an integrative route, they can do that in a lot of different ways as well. There isn’t one standardized approach for medical doctors to learn about integrative medicine right now. Some will go and take weekend courses. There are fellowships available as well. Some will just study on their own and find nutrition interesting and study a little bit more about nutrition or go and take a course in acupuncture or medical acupuncture.

It can very much vary, depending on the practitioner, so it’s really good to do your homework and find out what that person’s areas of expertise are, what kind of training and study that they’ve done and if they’re certified or if they’ve had any fellowships or additional training in addition to their medical doctorate, because I always joke with my husband, who’s trained as a conventional medical doctor and worked ER, and when we first started dating, he confessed, he’s like, “Yeah, I had maybe 20 hours of nutrition class.”

Erin Brinker: Wow.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And of that, it was like IVs and parental nutrition and tube feedings and stuff like that that’s more hospital-based. So yeah, I had to wrestle the Frosted Flakes away from him when we were first dating. “Step away from the Frosted Flakes!”

So, I think that we all have our strengths and all professions have weaknesses, and one of the strengths naturopathic medicine is really, it focuses on that whole person approach, including nutrition, including mind-body medicine, including the physical, including conventional diagnosis and understanding the medications people may be still taking. So, that’s all a whole package of really helping people get to wellness.

Erin Brinker: Well, that is wonderful. And so the fair is going on today. How do people plug in?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez:  If you go to our website, aanmc.org/events/, it’s right on the top of our events page and you can just click on that and join us there. I hope to see you.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, it’s always a treat to have you on the show. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you both. Have a great day.

Erin Brinker: Thank you, you too.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Hope the kids in your lives are all okay in the restaurant.

Erin Brinker: Yours, too.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thanks.

Erin Brinker: So, with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Receive information from the accredited schools of your choice located across North America!

Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 10/16/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss naturopathic medicine around the world.




Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Naturopathic organizations around the world
  • What to do if you get sick abroad
  • Climate and health
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3.

So excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. And she joins us once a month to talk about naturopathic medicine and public health.

Dr. Yanez, welcome back to the show.

Dr. Yanez: Hi, good morning folks. How are you both?

Erin Brinker: Doing wonderful.

Todd Brinker: Doing well.

Erin Brinker: Doing wonderful. So let’s talk global health, especially … You know – People move around from country to country so much, and the things that used to be that you’d only see in one area of the world now you’re seeing in other areas of the world as people migrate and move around. So public health really goes beyond the borders of your own community and it’s a global thing now.

Dr. Yanez: It really is. It’s something, Erin, that’s actually … It’s way on my mind. I just got back this weekend from Cuba and visiting family there, and we are such a global community now. And what used to be isolated to one area is often with travel, and the ease of airplanes and travel and such, and our multicultural community that we live in here … There is such a fluidity in what is considered medicine now. We’re also seeing, just from the naturopathic perspective, much more interest from our prospective students in wanting to be able to bring what they have abroad, and to be able to travel and provide medicine to other communities too. I think for us … I had come from a multi-ethnic background with a history in grandma’s giving teas and weird herbs showing up in things, and I think it brings more of a global perspective to healthcare, to healing. I’m thinking … Monday was just … You know? I’m old enough to remember Columbus Day, but now many places are embracing Indigenous People’s Day and recognizing the folks that were here before.

In preparation for my trip to Cuba with my son, I read him a book about Cuba and about the indigenous tribes that were there before colonization. And it’s so fascinating to see, notwithstanding the genocides and the atrocities that occurred, but the traditions that were very strong to use nature, to use the plants that were natural and endemic to those areas as medicine. And so naturopathic medicine very much embraces that, and tomorrow we have a webinar with the executive director of Naturopaths Without Borders.

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. Yanez: And Dr. Sean Hesler … he’s the executive director … with his wife, Dr. Sarah Preston Hesler. They have done so much work abroad in bringing natural medicine back to the communities that very much originally embraced them, and promoting public health, promoting positive communities, and healing within those communities. And there are other opportunities for  NDs, Natural Doctors International that operates in Nicaragua … There are many communities that are embracing natural medicine. I’m not sure if you know this, but we also have a World Naturopathic Federation that represents 33 countries, and varying different types of naturopathic practice in each of those countries.

Erin Brinker: Wow! No, I didn’t know that.

Dr. Yanez: And it’s really interesting, while I was in Cuba last week, I met a doctor from Germany, and I was speaking to him and I said, “Oh, I’m part of the World Naturopathic Federation and one of our members are the Heilpratikers in Germany.” He’s like, “Oh, you know about that?” I said, “Yes.” Yes. Because there is a worldwide practice of recognizing that what’s around you can heal you. And so it is … Yes you’re right, Erin: there is this global perspective of diseases. And Dr. Hesler tomorrow is going to talk about some tropical diseases, and things of that sort. And I can tell you I was very afraid of dengue while I was in Cuba.

Erin Brinker: Yeah, I bet.

Dr. Yanez: Despite the chemicals and the sprays, was constantly dousing my son, myself, and my husband, with anything I could get my hands on to keep the bugs away for fear of getting some sort of a mosquito-borne illness.

But I will say though that there are so many things that NDs bring to the table when we’re thinking about maybe some of these tropical diseases, or folks travel abroad, they go to other places. And what do you do if you get sick abroad? How do you take care of yourself? And so there is so much to offer. I’m excited about Dr. Hesler coming to speak tomorrow.

But we’ve also been making huge strides in an advancing naturopathic medicine. We just came off of Naturopathic Medicine Week last week, and AANMC launched a series of new videos. So if you haven’t had a chance, Erin, to check out our website, we’ve got a bunch of videos out there now just talking about naturopathic medicine, and residencies, and the growth that we’re offering for patients, and really the interdisciplinary approach that we have.

Right now, there is the … Winding down in San Diego, the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine annual conference. Thousands of doctors come. Integrative professionals come from across the country and across the world to this conference. And so, the ACIH, which I’m the chair of, has a table there right now, and the AANMC does as well. And we’re promoting residencies and interprofessional practice. And so I know that you come more from the patient perspective, but patients are increasingly seeing these healthcare teams coming together to provide more of a whole person approach to their care.

Erin Brinker: And I think that’s beautiful. And I actually am now seeing an integrative health, a naturopathic physician. And she’s changed my diet, and we’re going through some changes about trying to get me healthy. And the diet is a little restrictive but I am actually, after just a day, I started it yesterday, I’m feeling better. So it is quite amazing. Food is medicine and it is quite amazing, and I’m excited that this global movement continues to grow. In places like Germany, naturopathic medicine is just normal. You see the naturopathic remedies right next to the pharmaceuticals in their drug stores, and so it’s quite a normal thing. And here it isn’t, but it should be.

Dr. Yanez: And it’s so funny. Because when you go to other countries, and oftentimes we’ll have prospective students who come from either multiethnic backgrounds, or they’ve traveled abroad, or they’ve experienced other cultures, and they see it is normal.

One of my family members is having some health issues. And her water bottle was pink because she was walking around with this her inside of it that was good for her condition, and it was just like that was just commonplace. She just drank this water with the herb in it every day, and that was part of her regular regimen. And so for many customs and cultures, there is a normalization that nutrition can be medicine, food can be medicine, herbs and plants are medicine. And it’s not the weird thing; it’s actually the norm.

Erin Brinker: Exactly. So I’m curious … And I know we’re running short on time. As the climate changes, in addition to people moving I would imagine that some of these tropical diseases are moving their way north, and was there discussion about how to prepare new populations for dealing with this?

Dr. Yanez: Well, so there are two issues actually with that. With the warming of the climate and the change in the climate, there is a migratory nature of that but there’s also a worsening. So think of the mosquito season. Normally mosquitoes will die off at that first frost. But if that first frost is coming later in the year, then their cycle is going to be longer as well. There are a lot of factors. So it isn’t just the geography of going possibly a little bit higher along the equatorial line. It’s also that the season may be longer in and of itself, and more virulent, and … You know? More propagation. The more rain you have, the more standing water you have for mosquitoes. And so there is this whole cycle that we’re seeing, and that’s why the Caribbean was seeing one of the worst dengue seasons they’ve had in a long time this year: because of the extra rain.

Erin Brinker: Wow! Things we have to think about now.

Dr. Yanez: Things we have to think about now, exactly. So yes, take care of yourself. I’m glad that you’re trying … You know, there’s the saying: “If you like what’s happening then keep doing what you’re doing. If you don’t like what’s happening, then you need to change something.”

Erin Brinker: Exactly.

Dr. Yanez: So, Erin, I’m glad that you’re making some changes and I know … You know? Nutrition is one of those hard ones for a lot of people to implement and stay consistent on, so I applaud you for giving it a try.

Erin Brinker: Thank you. Thank you. So tell people how they can find and follow you on social media and your website.

Dr. Yanez: You bet. So, we are an AANMC.org. But also on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And we also have a YouTube channel that’s got all these new videos posted. You can also find them on our website.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, it’s always a treat to have you on. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Yanez: You bet. Talk to you soon.

Erin Brinker: Talk to you soon. All right. So with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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