Dr. Eric Secor – Bastyr

 

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Eric R. Secor Jr, ND, PhD, MPH, MS, LAc, Dipl Ac., NCCAOM

Dr. Eric  Secor sought out naturopathic medicine when standard medical approaches alone were not treating his chronic ear infections, skin inflammation and acne. He and his naturopathic doctor reviewed his diet and lifestyle with a common sense approach that lead to a rapid improvement in symptom management. The naturopathic approach resonated with Dr. Secor and his then girlfriend, Mary Markow, ND, MS, LAc, and together they began their exploration into the field of naturopathic medicine.

Bastyr as a springboard

With family recently settled in Seattle and an interest in the acupuncture program, Drs. Secor and Markow decided Bastyr University was the naturopathic medical school for them. “Bastyr provided an incredibly strong foundation in the fundamentals of naturopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and the application of wellness and lifestyle interventions.” Furthermore, the clinical rotations gave them the opportunity to experience a wide variety of approaches to private and group practice.

“Living the dream” after graduation

Immediately following graduation and the completion of the ND licensing boards, Drs. Secor and Markow packed up and started their lives together. They traveled to the Czech Republic and spent time in the medical spas and in Slovakia and Vienna. Once they returned to Connecticut, Dr. Secor pursued his interest in research at the Hospital for Special Care which had opened one of the first multi-disciplinary integrative medicine clinics. This experience led to publications and a transition to the University Connecticut School of Medicine, where he successfully competed for an NIH/NCCIH F32 and K08, venture capital funding and MPH and PHD in occupational and environmental health. His research was focused on evaluating the role and impact of botanicals such as ananas comosus and their extracts as immune-modulators.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

As the proud father of two teenage daughters, Dr. Secor will see his oldest off to culinary school this fall and his youngest will enter high school.  He currently oversees and advocates on behalf of integrative medicine within Hartford HealthCare and its Cancer Institute. Dr. Markow works for the same system as an Integrative Medicine Physician and acupuncturist.

Dr. Secor describes his role as “a challenge and blessing being one of the only NDs directing and growing a multi-site hospital-based IM program.” He enjoys the opportunity to work with an integrative team of health care providers to offer the best care possible.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Secor encourages prospective students to “visit and explore as many practices and professional areas as possible throughout your formal education. You will likely find a practice or professional model similar to your interests which you can emulate.”

Find a mentor. “Having a mentor or several mentors in a variety of key areas is critical to both long term personal and professional success especially in naturopathic medicine.”

As with any career, there are challenges that you may face in naturopathic medicine such as state licensure, variations of scope of practice and pay. “If you resonate with the philosophy and lifestyle of the naturopathic profession, go for it.” The naturopathic medical field is a viable career path with flexibility to pursue opportunities in many different fields such as academia, government, administration and media to name a few. “Tremendous opportunities exist nationally and internationally.”

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Dr. Xermã Palmares – ND Student

“Although I enjoyed delivering care to my patients as a conventional medical doctor, I did not feel totally fulfilled personally and professionally.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Xermã Palmares, MBA was already a Brazilian medical doctor when he decided to pursue a career change to naturopathic medicine. With experience as a cardiovascular surgeon, intensive care physician and medical consultant for many years, he needed more out of his career.

“Although I enjoyed delivering care to my patients as a conventional medical doctor, I did not feel totally fulfilled personally and professionally.”  It took him some time to realize that what he wanted was more than the conventional approach. Dr. Palmares wanted to provide a holistic approach to health by focusing on prevention and all aspects affecting patient health including mind, body and soul.

Furthermore, adding to the discontent of his medical career, the stress of a demanding career with little flexibility was taking a toll on his family. He found himself unfulfilled and fatigued. Something needed to change.

“In the midst of a personal and professional crisis, I decided to regroup myself around my purpose and rebuild my professional life. I made an assessment of my personal and professional history.”  Dr. Palmares found that the highlights of his career in which he felt most fulfilled were spent helping others better themselves in small community classes and seminars, as well as in organizational and corporate change. This realization led him to further his education in life coaching and leadership training.

CCNM as a springboard

It was in his quest to learn more about training for coaching and leadership that Dr. Palmares first learned about naturopathic medicine.  The key words he used in his online searches matched those of the AANMC. “One day I clicked on the advertisement and read it. I was shocked! The description of naturopathic medicine was tremendously aligned with what I was looking for in a career.” He dug even deeper and explored resources available through the AANMC such as the naturopathic webinar archive. After speaking with those he knew who had experience in naturopathy, he decided to apply to naturopathic medical school. He jokes that “it seems that I have found the field I’ve ever wanted to create!”

When deciding which accredited naturopathic school was right for him, Dr. Palmares considered the curriculum, financial investment and location. “Due to a combination of factors, and since my wife and our three children had been living in Toronto for a little while, I found the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine to be the best fit for us.”

“The whole process was really scary, and this history is still unfolding, however, my present feeling is gratitude for finding naturopathic medicine.”

Work/life balance as an ND student

The accredited schools of naturopathic medical colleges are full-time, in residence programs. CCNM students have the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular seminars in which visiting companies inform students of the latest clinical and technological opportunities available. In addition, the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic offers hands on experience for students to engage with patients from all walks of life with a variety of health conditions.

One of the greatest learning experiences Dr. Palmares has experienced thus far, is the opportunity to coordinate with an ICU integrative team comprised of a pharmacist, physiotherapist, two physicians, a therapist, a nurse. Each member of the team offers their expertise in discussing clinical cases and lab tests to determine the best therapeutic strategy for each patient’s unique needs.

Dr. Palmares anticipates being directly involved with an integrative team following graduation. One of his goals is to combine his conventional cardiovascular experience with his naturopathic toolkit to offer a holistic approach to health.

Dr. Palmares describes the time away from his family as the hardest part of the journey, however in the long run he expects his career change will offer a better quality of life with more flexibility.

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Naturopathic medicine has a lot to add to healthcare. It is an expanding professional field that relies on many ancient and recognized medical traditions.” Consider all of the resources available to you when you are deciding if naturopathic medicine is right for you. Do your homework and research the schools, curriculum and financial investment of your education.

“As in any other professional field, there is heterogeneity, however, it is possible to find solid ground to establish a sound naturopathic medicine practice.”

 

Learn more about Dr. Xermã Palmares:

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Dr. Ralph Esposito – UBSNM

“I was determined to prove that perhaps modern medicine did not have all the answers. Mix that with drive and a reluctance to accept the status quo, and you have what some would call passion.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

At six-years-old Ralph Esposito, ND, LAc recalls his pediatrician telling his mother, “If your husband had two heart attacks by 48, your son is going to have one by 30.”

“As a kid, after experiencing the perils of chronic disease in my family, I found comfort in thinking that if anything were to happen to me I’d be okay. Doctors had medicine, and there would be a pill to cure me.”

Those pills were not enough. Dr. Esposito watched as his father became medically disabled and heavily medicated. The threat of family history of chronic disease was a major contributing factor to why he chose to pursue naturopathic medicine when conventional medicine alone was not working.

“I was determined to prove that perhaps modern medicine did not have all the answers. Mix that with drive and a reluctance to accept the status quo, and you have what some would call passion.”

UBSNM as a springboard

“My curiosity in naturopathic modalities, largely nutrition and herbal medicine, sparked my interest even prior to entering undergrad at New York University.” Dr. Esposito started his path to naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University but his heart soon led him back to the East Coast where he completed his degree in naturopathic medicine at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. With dreams of practicing in New York, moving back to the East Coast allowed him to get a head start networking with MDs, DOs, NDs, LAcs and other professionals in the tri-state area. Those connections helped him land a position as an adjunct professor in nutrition at New York University, his alma mater.

Dr. Esposito credits UBSNM’s incredible faculty for the blend of conventional and integrative medical education. “Working with Dr. Peter D’Adamo shaped me as a physician and a person. His insight into molecular biology, network theory and genomics is remarkable which allowed me to see medicine in a new light, which I am grateful to have experienced while at UBSNM. “

“Living the dream” after graduation

Due to persistence and outreach to experts in the field of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Esposito accomplished his goal of practicing in New York. “I reached out to every single person I knew in the field of integrative or naturopathic medicine. I would email or ask any doctor I saw online, in articles or in person for their experienced insight.”  He especially credits Dr. Geo Espinosa for his mentorship and for allowing him to work with him at the NYU integrative and functional urology center for almost seven years.

Following graduation, Dr Esposito continued his work with Dr. Espinosa in research, writing and education modules. This experience led him to his current position as a medical consultant and research analyst for medical practice in New York. “Using my clinical and research skills, I am a second set of eyes to every patient. I provide my insight with all that is to be found in the medical literature coupled with my experience as a clinician.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“The naturopathic philosophy and approach to medicine is unfounded in other health professions. There is always something we can offer our patients.” Dr. Esposito continues to demonstrate his persistent and passionate spirit in promoting integration of naturopathic medicine with other well-known experts in the naturopathic medical field. This collaborative approach with other medical professionals drives his passion with the opportunity to push medicine forward. “I want our profession to be open to collaborating and integrating in an attempt to practice sound medicine.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“There is no allopathic medicine vs. naturopathic medicine. There is only good medicine.” There are many skeptics of the naturopathic approach, but there is a world of medical experts that support the research and efficacy of naturopathic modalities.

“There is much we can offer to medicine but it must be accompanied with hard work, diligence and perseverance. If you are willing to work, the flexibility can be your strength.”

Learn more about Dr. Esposito:

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Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. Robyn Prescott – BINM

“I get to share a piece of people’s lives and help guide them to better health on a daily basis. I enjoy creating a safe, connected, and inspiring atmosphere for my patients to heal.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Dr. Robyn Prescott grew up with a naturopathic lifestyle. As a child, she looked forward to visiting her naturopathic doctor and appreciated the individualized care. Her passion to provide that same care and to help people discover the root cause of their health issues is what drove Dr. Prescott to switch paths from a degree in traditional English literature to naturopathic medicine.

“I truly believe I was born to be a naturopathic doctor. Every day I feel honored to be a part of people’s health journey.” Naturopathic medicine is more than a career, it is a lifestyle that continually encourages you to better yourself personally and professionally.

BINM as a springboard

Dr. Prescott earned her doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) in New Westminster, British Columbia.  She was attracted to BINM for its outstanding physical medicine program and the Vancouver community. Dr. Prescott credits BINM for providing her with a well-rounded education that set her up for success as a naturopathic doctor. In addition, Dr. Prescott holds certifications in intravenous and advanced injection therapies.

“Living the dream” after graduation

Dr. Prescott operates a successful practice in North Vancouver where she sees 50-60 patients per week. The practice focuses on pain management and hormone health. Her passions include the body’s basic mechanics: physiology, hormones, muscles, nerves, and brain. She practices several hands-on assessments, diagnostic laboratory testing and physical medicine.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I get to share a piece of people’s lives and help guide them to better health on a daily basis. I enjoy creating a safe, connected, and inspiring atmosphere for my patients to heal. “

Dr. Prescott’s passion for nature extends into her personal life as well. When she isn’t at her office, you can find her mountain biking, road cycling, hiking, horseback riding or dancing in beautiful North Vancouver.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Prescott encourages prospective students to pursue their goals with confidence. Success and failure are choices. “Make sure you do not accept failure. You do have a choice to be successful. Always stay true to your core beliefs – patients can sense if you stray from what you believe in.”

Work-life balance is also something you should consider. How do you want your life and career to balance? Do you want room for spontaneity in your personal life or do you want more structure? The beauty of owning your own naturopathic medical practice is that you may choose!

Learn more about Dr. Prescott:

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Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Click below to receive information from the seven accredited naturopathic medical schools across eight North American campuses!

Dr. Erik Nelson – SCNM

“I believe that in order to think critically to solve any medical problem you need to have not only an open-mind, but also flexibility in your decision-making to treat the patient’s individual health puzzle. Naturopathic medicine allows you to see all the pieces and the big picture without having to risk missing out on an entire part of the picture.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Immediately following the completion of his undergraduate degree from the University of New England, Dr. Erik O. Nelson followed his calling in medicine and headed West to Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences. “Once I toured SCNM I knew it was the right path for me. The campus is amazing and the staff and faculty go out of their way to make your naturopathic medical education individualized and make you feel like more than just a student, you feel a part of a community.” Furthermore, Dr. Nelson was drawn to the cutting edge scope including regenerative injection therapies and the Pain Relief Center (now known as the Neil Riordan Center for Regenerative Medicine).

SCNM as a springboard

“As a student at SCNM, I had the opportunity to use the full scope of naturopathic practice during my clinical training and experience evidence-based naturopathic medicine during clinical shifts. I am very thankful for my time and experiences working under Dr. Jeffrey Langland in the amazing research department at SCNM. The ability to be a part of research, to publish research papers and to acquire the skills to critically examine research and extrapolate clinically relevant information is paramount to being an excellent physician.”

Dr. Nelson credits SCNM for preparing him for his career not only in medicine, but also in business. Business courses are a part of the SCNM curriculum. Students learn what to look for in a potential employer and how to start up their own practice with lessons in marketing to help it succeed.

“Living the dream” after graduation

It was never a question as to where Dr. Nelson saw himself after graduation. His heart would always belong in his home state of New Hampshire. With a little help from SCNM’s job link website, he was able to connect with a clinic just minutes from his hometown.

After establishing himself at Seacoast Spine and Sports Injuries Clinic, Dr. Nelson joined the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NHAND). Through NHAND, Dr. Nelson heard about an opportunity with the New Hampshire Board of Naturopathic Examiners for an ND with experience in injection and parental therapies. With his experience from the SCNM Medical Center and Integrative Pain Relief Center, Dr. Nelson was appointed in 2018.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I love the flexibility in my medical approach and that I can tailor my treatment strategy to the individual patient. Every patient is unique and therefore every treatment should also be just as unique. I believe that in order to think critically to solve any medical problem you need to have not only an open-mind, but also flexibility in your decision-making to treat the patient’s individual health puzzle. Naturopathic medicine allows you to see all the pieces and the big picture without having to risk missing out on an entire part of the picture. “

The flexibility in Dr. Nelson’s career extends outside of the office and into the field. As a naturopathic doctor for a spine and sports injury clinic, he has the opportunity to serve on the sidelines as a team doctor for two local high school teams. “It is this kind of career flexibility and out-of-the office work experience that I love about naturopathic medicine.”

When not seeing patients, Dr. Nelson enjoys coaching varsity boy’s soccer and is a member of an integrative team doctors at Kingswood Regional High School.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Nelson recommends to begin by asking yourself what you kind of doctor you want to be. If you don’t know, explore your options, spend time in clinics to develop your own medical philosophy, develop yourself as person by becoming involved in your community. “When setting up your own practice or getting your name out to the public, a positive presence in your community and a willingness to help others goes further than a small fortune spent on marketing ever could.”

Learn more about Dr. Nelson:

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Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Click below to receive information from the seven accredited naturopathic medical schools across eight North American campuses!

Dr. Raynette Ilg – NUHS

“I love to do the research and figure out the remedies to people’s health problems.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Dr. Raynette Ilg’s career started in office work, but her spirituality and family roots in botanical medicine led her to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine. Dr. “Ray” fondly recalls picking healing herbs from her grandmother’s garden, a practice that foreshadowed her professional calling as a naturopathic doctor.

NUHS as a springboard

Dr. Ray pursued her bachelors of science in biological medicine at the age of 40 while raising her children who were in junior high at that time. “Since I was an older student it was extremely important to me to be able to maintain a family relationship and go to school for my passion.” National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) offered the proximity and rigorous naturopathic education she needed to complete both goals. She valued the hands on courses and resourceful faculty that taught her an integrative approach to working with all kinds of other medical professionals in a team setting.

“Living the dream” after graduation

Following graduation in 2011, Dr. Ray launched Olive Branch Wellness Center in South Elgin, Illinois. She loves the flexibility that entrepreneurship has offered her and her family. Furthermore, she is proud of the office and team she has built. Each of her employees are hand-picked.

In addition to being a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Ray is also the author of Livin’ LaVida Grande: Why You Can’t Lose Weight and has been featured speaker on major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

From her start picking healing herbs in her grandmother’s garden to her established career in naturopathic medicine, Dr. Ray says, “It is a dream come true to be able to help people and not be so invasive! To see people who were told that nothing was wrong with them, even though they were not feeling well, come up to a new height of health and energy is amazing.” Another aspect  Dr. Ray enjoys about naturopathic medicine is the patient-doctor relationship where she has the opportunity to teach her patients. The doctor as a teacher approach puts the patient in control of their well-being with the tools they need to heal.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Ray encourages prospective students to study hard and take advantage of opportunities to develop a sense of what you want your practice to look like. Seek out other professionals as mentors to help guide you on your path. “Naturopathic doctors are known for their work ethic and for going the extra mile. If you can’t do that, naturopathic may not be your path in life; but if you can,” Dr. Ray exclaims, “Oh, the places you will go!”

Learn more about Dr. Ray:

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Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Click below to receive information from the seven accredited naturopathic medical schools across eight North American campuses!