Dr. Jacqueline Yang – SCNM

“When I learned of naturopathic medicine, a light bulb turned on and there was no question on what I wanted to do.  The principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine held true to my heart.  This is how I wanted to help people.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

As a pre-med student, majoring in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry, Jacqueline Yang, ND, CAc questioned her fit with allopathic medicine.

“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but when I was college, I started to ask myself what kind of doctor do I really want to be? How do I want to help people?  I see my work as my purpose, so these questions hit me hard.” With that, she began researching other approaches to care.

“When I learned of naturopathic medicine, a light bulb turned on and there was no question on what I wanted to do.  The principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine held true to my heart.  This is how I wanted to help people.”

SCNM as a springboard

Born and raised in the Northeast, Dr. Yang was eager to explore more of the country.  “I was searching for experiences that would challenge me and expose me to new things.” Dr. Yang chose to pursue her naturopathic medical degree at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM).

“I had the best four years of my life at SCNM.  Not only did I learn about the human body and the medicine, but I was able to create strong relationships that still hold to this day. There was a strong sense of community with the students and faculty.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

Following graduation, Dr. Yang began working with another naturopathic doctor. Two years later she took over the practice. “I am the proud owner of New England Integrative Medicine, practicing in Salem, NH and Boston, MA.  I have a great staff and work with two other great naturopathic doctors.”

Dr. Yang gives back to the community by providing educational health and wellness presentations. She also served on the New Hampshire Board of Naturopathic Examiners for five years.

“My journey has not been easy, but I have no regrets.  I am so grateful to be a naturopathic doctor. What I like most is that I am able to provide options for patients. The best thing ever is the feeling I get when a patient tells me I’ve turned their life around and have given back hope. I also have a passion for the therapies that we use, such as botanical medicine, acupuncture, and homeopathy.”

In her personal time, Dr. Yang enjoys spending time with friends and family, exercising, and cooking.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Yang advises prospective students to spend time exploring their interest in the field of naturopathic medicine. “Visit the schools and reach out to a variety of naturopathic doctors – especially those who practice in the state you want to work in.” The scope of practice varies by state so it is important that you are aware of what you are able to offer. “Becoming a patient is another great way to experience the medicine.” Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.

“In the beginning, I made sure to list out the things that are important to me.  Following that list helped direct me on what I needed to do to be successful and happy.  Creating a financial plan each year is also important for success.  Writing down goals, personal and business, will help keep you focused in all areas of your life.”

Dr. Yang is pictured to the right with a prospective student at HPW Live! in Boston – the kick-off to Health Professions Week – a virtual series of events held every fall for prospective students to explore career options in the health professions

Learn more about Dr. Yang

www.newenglandintegrative.com

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Dr. Aaron Wong – BINM

“I believe that life is a journey and health challenges give us the opportunity to grow as human beings.  My enduring purpose as a physician is to be an active facilitator in the lives of my patients, teaching them that healthy choices come from remembering our innate worthiness.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Aaron Wong, ND, RTC, BASc started his path to naturopathic medicine with an undergraduate degree in chemical and biological engineering. He spent the early years of his career working in mining, oil and gas, while also operating his own biofeedback practice. After suffering a debilitating back injury that resulted in years of recovery, and experimentation with numerous conventional and alternative treatments, Dr. Wong found healing in naturopathic medicine. Experiencing the power of holistic medicine was the driving force in his career change to naturopathic medicine.

BINM as a springboard

Dr. Wong pursued his calling at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) in his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. The strong curriculum, small class sizes, close-knit community, and one on one instructor interaction was important to him. Further, the integration of basic sciences and exposure to multiple approaches to care were paramount to his education. Dr. Wong graduated with confidence from a wide variety of patient care experiences.

On a personal level, the rigorous curriculum and a challenge of balancing naturopathic medical school and daily life taught him perseverance, and helped define what he wanted in his career.

Immediately following graduation, Dr. Wong launched his own practice, began teaching courses in holistic nutrition, and continued his education by completing certifications in teaching, chelation, oxidative therapies, and prolotherapy.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I love that there is always so much to learn, and so many different directions that you can go with patient care. Naturopathic doctors fill needs in so many areas where mainstream medical or other modalities aren’t able to.” NDs offer hope to patients who think they are out of options.

“I believe that life is a journey and health challenges give us the opportunity to grow as human beings. My enduring purpose as a physician is to be an active facilitator in the lives of my patients, teaching them that healthy choices come from remembering our innate worthiness.”

Dr. Wong is the clinical director at Butterfly Naturopathic in North Vancouver where he works three days a week. The other two days are spent supervising third- and fourth-year clinicians at BINM.

“I believe that to teach is to learn, so I give back to the naturopathic profession as part of the clinic faculty.”

On the weekends, Dr. Wong reconnects with nature by spending time in his garden. He also enjoys walking through the forest with his dogs – especially during the summer months for cold hydrotherapy.

Food as Medicine

With fond memories of picking fresh produce from his grandmother’s garden, Dr. Wong is a big proponent of growing your own food as a means to healthy living and giving back to the earth. There is a great sense of accomplishment and pride in knowing that the food you grow is fresh, organic, and sustainable.

While working in Nicaragua with Naturopathic Doctors International, Dr. Wong saw firsthand the power of food as medicine. With limited income and resources, food was often the only medicine for some especially when supplements and further treatments were not affordable.

Dr. Wong shares his knowledge on food as medicine at local venues. Click here to watch Dr. Wong’s AANMC webinar on demand.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Wong offers the following advice for prospective students: “Be open minded and willing to see different perspectives. Be humble. Be inquisitive and curious. Be prepared to work on yourself. Be prepared to lead by example.”

To learn more about naturopathic medical education, click here.

Learn more about Dr. Wong

www.butterflynaturopathic.com

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Dr. Lindsey Wells – UBSNM

“My favorite part about being an ND is being able to truly make a difference in lives of families and to bring hope. I’m passionate about being able to provide safe and effective treatment options for my patients particularly through the use of herbal medicine, homeopathy, and nutrition.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“I knew that naturopathic medicine was the right path for me after reading about the naturopathic principles, the healing power of nature, and treating the person as a whole.”

Recognizing that parents of special needs children have one the highest divorce rates, Lindsey Wells, ND was motivated to focus her medical career on keeping families together. After shadowing allopathic doctors and observing some of the challenges with limited disciplines and time spent with the patients, she knew there had to be another approach to care. Her belief that “a child will thrive emotionally, physically, and academically if the family members are also thriving in all aspects of their health” led her to pursue naturopathic medicine. She found that the holistic approach was the best way for her to support children with special needs and their families.

UBSNM as a springboard

Dr. Wells pursued her naturopathic medical education at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine (UBSNM). She chose UBSNM for its location and for the clinic’s community outreach opportunities.

“UBSNM offered a very strong foundation of the core modalities of naturopathic medicine including homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, nutrition, etc. I gained a deep appreciation for the philosophy of naturopathic medicine.”

Dr. Wells knew that she wanted to specialize in pediatrics early on in her education, so she jumped at every opportunity to network with and shadow local pediatric health professionals. Her persistence in following up with an integrative medical doctor eventually led to a job offer at her current practice.

Following graduation, Dr. Wells received job opportunities with pediatric NDs with whom she had mentored with. She began her career as an independent contractor and also began teaching Anatomy and Physiology as an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“My favorite part about being an ND is being able to truly make a difference in lives of families and to bring hope. I’m passionate about being able to provide safe and effective treatment options for my patients particularly through the use of herbal medicine, homeopathy, and nutrition.”

Dr. Wells currently works with an integrative medical doctor and registered dietitian in Wilton, Connecticut. The practice specializes in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS), Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition, Dr. Wells lectures at Autism parent conferences around the country. She looks forward to being the first naturopathic doctor to speak at the Medical Academy of Pediatrics conference this fall.

Over the past few years, Dr. Wells has been traveling to Ghana to mentor doctors on integrative medicine for children with ASD. She is in the early stages of organizing an ASD clinic with the Nyaho Medical Center in Ghana.

As President of the Connecticut Naturopathic Physicians Association (CNPA), Dr. Wells focuses on legislative efforts to expand the scope of practice for naturopathic doctors in Connecticut. Furthermore, she and the CNPA work to build a sense of community for the naturopathic doctors within the state.

Dr. Wells enjoys hiking and exploring all that nature has to offer with her husband and their dog named Ed. Together, they aspire to visit all of the national parks across the United States. If you stop by her clinic, you might be lucky enough to meet Ed, as he provides emotional support for children and families.

Advice for aspiring NDs

The field of naturopathic medicine offers many career paths and opportunities for those who are motivated, passionate, and invested. “It’s not easy but it’s so worth it!” Put yourself out there and be your own personal advocate.  If you do, the future of naturopathic medicine will be yours!

Learn more about Dr. Wells

www.lindseywellsND.com

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Dr. Heather Wright – Bastyr

“I chose to pursue naturopathic medicine out of a deep sense of knowing that nature is the best medicine and that food, plants and our environment are integral to human health. I saw a direct relationship between how people lived and how they experienced health.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Following in her great grandmother’s footsteps, Heather Wright, ND, FABNO started her career as a midwife. While completing a pre-medical program with her head set on obstetrics and gynecology, she soon learned that her heart was elsewhere. Her medical education “seemed to leave a huge gap for working with people to build health rather than just address pathology” – that gap was filled by naturopathic medicine.

“I chose to pursue naturopathic medicine out of a deep sense of knowing that nature is the best medicine and that food, plants and our environment are integral to human health. I saw a direct relationship between how people lived and how they experienced health.”

Bastyr as a springboard

“I explored each of the school options but decided I would go to Seattle first, and truthfully, that was that! I saw the food and medicine gardens, the St. Edwards parkland that the school is set on, the lake, the trails – it was all so beautiful. I knew it was the right place for me!”

“Through the great experience of the Bastyr naturopathic and traditional Chinese medicine programs, I learned that people have their own wisdom about their bodies and tend to know more about themselves than their doctor. If they share that knowledge with a respectful provider, we can do our work.” This patient doctor relationship is “the heart of naturopathic medicine.”

Furthermore, “I learned my own strength and independence as a person and doctor, and to trust that I was strong, smart and intuitive.”

Naturopathic medicine with a focus on oncology

After graduation Dr. Wright’s friend invited her to learn more about her Seattle-based naturopathic oncology team. Her friend taught her about mindfulness meditation, relaxation practices, and oncology patient care.

Not long after, Dr. Wright began networking in her hometown hospital in upstate New York. The hospital was hoping to build an integrative program and invited her to give a presentation to the board on what naturopathic medicine could offer.

“I pulled out all the stops to put together resources for how they could hire me and what I could do for the community.”

Dr. Wright’s first cancer patient was a member of her community – a young man with stage IV lung cancer and a father of two young children. She incorporated natural therapies along with conventional treatment which provided relief from treatment side effects and improved his quality of life. Dr. Wright learned about his desire to stop treatment and live out his life during their guided breathing meditations. He was continuing treatment because he was worried about his children’s future should he pass away. Dr. Wright worked with the patient and his social worker to prepare a plan. In doing so, he reconnected with his sister and asked that she become his children’s caretaker. This experience opened Dr. Wright’s eyes to the whole-person approach to cancer care – not only did his physical health need to be addressed; it was just as important to provide support for his emotional and spiritual well-being.

After two years in the New York hospital, Dr. Wright learned about plans to develop an integrative team in the Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital. She joined the team and began deepening her knowledge of oncology specific care.

“I believed our profession could integrate into health care and wanted to work in hospital setting as well as in private practice. I saw that the successful physicians in the naturopathic profession were contributing from academic and clinical posts and leading initiatives that help bring clinical integrative medicine forward. My skills in research and writing were part of what helped me navigate beyond clinical care to enrich my career. As physicians we have a responsibility to continue learning – not just for our CE’s and to maintain licensure but because there may be new therapies and approaches (or old ones) that we can apply in clinical care to benefit our patients.”

Today, Dr. Wright is a board certified in naturopathic oncologist and President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP). She is also the co-research director for the KNOW project – a searchable database of integrative oncology clinical trials. Throughout her career, Dr. Wright has become an expert in the co-management of pancreatic cancer and on intravenous vitamin C for people with advanced cancer. As a specialist in naturopathic oncology, Dr. Wright has worked diligently with countless families to improve quality of life and longevity.

Dr. Wright is a volunteer and clinical board member for Gilda’s club and Cancer Support Community and is a lecturer, writer, and consultant for research and publication project in integrative oncology. She has published articles on intravenous vitamin C as supportive care in Current Oncology, on the power of the placebo effect in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and on tools for integrating natural approaches into conventional care for pancreatic cancer in Natural Medicine Journal. Dr. Wright also consults with organizations to incorporate integrative providers and approaches into clinical settings.

Additionally, Dr. Wright is taking business courses and creating a business plan for an integrative oncology clinic with her pharmacist business partner. Their intention is to establish an infusion center that offers multidisciplinary integrative care.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I am passionate about helping folks find balance, teaching nutrition, and teaching patients about their organs of digestion. I’m also passionate about growing naturopathic medicine through residency training.”

Dr. Wright’s Philadelphia-based private practice Good Apple Wellness offers integrative care through in person and tele-consultations with specialized expertise on families affected by cancer. She has a large referral network including nutritionists, counselors, acupuncturists and has built relationships with several oncology providers. She balances her family life as the mother of two while seeing patients four days per week.

In her spare time Dr. Wright enjoys gardening vegetables and herbs. Every summer she looks forward to spending time with her family in upstate New York on the St. Lawrence River.

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Naturopathic medicine is a rewarding profession that enriches the mind, body and spirit of providers and patients. Through your education you will have the opportunity to experience healing in your own life and to build a solid foundation in the medical art. Explore the different facets of naturopathic medicine as well as traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture to determine if those meet your interest and long-term goals to use as tools as a provider. Be prepared to trust your intuition and that of the patient as well as the clinical data and traditional knowledge about conditions and therapeutics. Work hard to keep life in balance. This may need to be revisited several times throughout your career as you fine tune a good life.”

CLICK HERE to watch Dr. Wright’s naturopathic oncology webinar on-demand!

Learn more about Dr. Wright

www.goodapplewellness.com 

www.oncanp.org

www.knowoncology.com

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Dr. Wright’s published Articles

Klimant E, Wright H, Rubin D, Seely D, Markman M. Intravenous vitamin C in the supportive care of cancer patients: a review and rational approach. Current Oncology. 2018;25(2):139-148.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29719430

Green J, Wright H. From Bench to Bedside: Converting Placebo Research into Belief Activation. The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2017; 23(8): 575-580. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28719223

Wright H, Samson K. Evidence based treatment of digestive symptoms in pancreatic cancer patients. Natural Medicine Journal 2016;8(8). http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2016-08/evidence-based-treatment-digestive-symptoms-pancreatic-cancer-patients

Green J, Seely D, Wright H. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Naturopathic Oncology: Maximizing outcomes using KNOWoncology.org Part 1. NDNR.  Nov 1 2017. https://ndnr.com/oncology/non-small-cell-lung-cancer-nsclc-naturopathic-oncology/

Green J, Seely D, Wright H. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Naturopathic Oncology: Maximizing outcomes using KNOWoncology.org Part 2. NDNR.  Dec 1 2017.

https://ndnr.com/oncology/nsclc-naturopathic-oncology-maximizing-outcomes-using-knowoncology-org-part-2/

Schor J, Wright H. Review: Artificial Light at Night Increases Breast Cancer Risk. Natural Medicine Journal April 2017; (9) 41: 24-26 (suppl). http://www.pageturnpro.com/CHAT-Inc/78146-April-2017-Womens-Health-Special-Issue/default.html#page/1

Dr. Lisa Ghent – BINM

“I thrive on helping people feel better, not just for a few months, but for the rest of their lives. Often it’s about helping people to discover what is most important to them and showing them ways they can prioritize differently.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Frustrated with the lack of help she was receiving from conventional medicine, Dr. Lisa Ghent discovered naturopathic medicine as a patient struggling with fertility. With a background in the medical field, she saw medicine in a new light, and was inspired by the holistic approach to patient care. “Considering everything about a patient – mind, body, soul –  was so different than what I had previously been exposed to. Something just felt right about naturopathic medicine.”

BINM as a springboard

Following her gut instinct, Dr. Ghent took the leap of faith and completed her naturopathic medical degree at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, while working full-time and having three kids throughout the program. “The experienced and caring faculty took an interest in helping me hone my skills. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Following graduation, Dr. Ghent opened a small private practice where she saw patients on evenings and weekends while working a corporate day job. She admits that it was challenging to balance family, school, and a full-time job, however her determination and hard work paid off after two years when her patient base was established enough to allow her to practice full-time.

Dr. Ghent opened a clinic earlier this year, offering family-focused and community-oriented care. “For me, running a business has always been about staying true to my core values. It’s always been incredibly important to me to provide practical and affordable healthcare. I am blessed to work with other like-minded local health care practitioners and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

As a naturopathic doctor, “I thrive on helping people feel better, not just for a few months, but for the rest of their lives. Often it’s about helping people to discover what is most important to them and showing them ways they can prioritize differently.”

As a mother of three, and the wife of a pilot, career flexibility was big component to pursuing naturopathic medicine. “When things with my kids are really important, I can be there, and that is important to me.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“This is a profession that requires you to be all in if you want to be successful, so your why has to be meaningful.” Pursue your passion by taking time to shadow or interview a local naturopathic doctor, and visit the naturopathic medical schools you are interested in to determine the best fit for you!

Learn more about Dr. Ghent

www.drlisaghent.com

www.collaborativewellness.ca

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. Spice Lussier – SCNM

“I love being a part of the transformations I see in my patients’ lives with the improvement of their health.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

With a love for science and a passion to provide person-centered holistic care, Dr. Spice Lussier discovered naturopathic medicine while pursuing a career in allopathic medicine. As a medical receptionist, she felt there had to be more to medicine than spending ten minutes with a patient and writing a prescription.  Feeling discouraged with her future in allopathic medicine, she took the advice of a friend and went to Discovery Day at the  “natural school” in town – Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM).  “I still remember walking in to SCNM and reading the naturopathic philosophy banners for the first time – they were exactly what I thought medicine should be! “

SCNM as a springboard

With its convenient location and warm weather, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine was the best fit for Dr. Lussier. “I had a great educational experience at SCNM.  I enjoyed the challenge of didactic and the early integration of patient interactions.  I was very active in the community medicine program and enjoyed providing naturopathic care to the underserved while putting my clinical skills to practice.”

As a student, Dr. Lussier took shifts with local practices to gain experience and to network with other doctors.  Because of these experiences and connections, she received opportunities prior to graduation.

Following graduation, Dr. Lussier took a full-time position as a physician with a startup company. As the first employee, she had the unique opportunity to build a successful practice from the ground up. This experience helped her realize her love for business.

Today, Dr. Lussier runs a thriving practice, Desert Wellness Center and recently launched ND Catalyst, a consulting business in which she works with other doctors to ensure successful naturopathic businesses.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I am grateful for the privilege of being a naturopathic doctor. I love being a part of the transformations I see in my patients’ lives with the improvement of their health.”

A big advantage of a degree in naturopathic medicine is the variety of career paths. “I have a balanced 40-hour week schedule of seeing patients, running a practice, and growing my consulting business.  I am also a contributing author, lecturer, and teacher. As a mother of two, I love the flexibility of being my own boss and setting my own schedule so I am able to spend my evenings and weekends with my family.  I am so grateful for the ability to have an amazing career and be there for all the special moments.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Lussier encourages prospective students to interview or shadow a local naturopathic doctor. Furthermore, if you have the means, visit the naturopathic medical schools you are interested in to determine the best fit for you! Each of the schools has a unique culture, location, and feel.

Learn more about Dr. Lussier

Website

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