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:


Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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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:


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. Corina Dunlap – NUNM

“I didn’t want to be one of many clinicians shuffled through the system. I wanted to feel like I was, and am a pioneer in a field that is truly guiding the way of the future.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Dr. Corina Dunlap’s journey to becoming a naturopathic physician has taken her around the world. From her start at Smith College where she studied Medical Anthropology and International Relations to sabbaticals abroad in India, Australia and New Zealand, each step has guided her on her path to naturopathic medicine. Her endeavors as a mountaineer, rock climbing guide, yoga instructor and entrepreneur of an outdoor apparel business, further developed her love of nature, natural medicine, botanical medicine and nutrition.

As an adventurer and world traveler, Dr. Dunlap faced health challenges of her own. She credits naturopathic and ayurvedic medicine for helping her learn to live a more healthy, full life without the intervention of pharmaceuticals. “Through this self-reflective time, I realized that my passion was for naturopathic medicine and evidence-based natural solutions, and that it was what I wanted to do for a career.” Dr. Dunlap believes in the naturopathic philosophy of treating the whole person and focusing on the root problem, not just diagnosis and symptom management of conventional medicine.

NUNM as a springboard

Dr. Dunlap was drawn to NUNM for its quality education in the heart of Portland. “I loved all of the community clinics throughout Portland and the surrounding areas because it felt very grassroots and I knew I would get exposed to a diverse demographic.” The non-profit natural medicine research opportunities at Helfgott Research Institute were cutting edge and attractive to a young researcher who was just starting out. Dr. Dunlap was so inspired that she completed a masters in integrative medical research in addition to a doctorate in naturopathic medicine.

After receiving her degrees, Dr. Dunlap completed a two-year accredited women’s health residency with rotations in gynecology, general endocrinology, and reproductive endocrinology. In addition, she also completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship, followed by a research and adjunctive faculty placement at the School of Research & Graduate Studies at Helfgott Research Institute and NUNM. While there, she mentored research students and taught courses such as Gynecology & Infertility, Women’s Health Research, and Medical Anthropology.

“Living the dream” after graduation

From an early age Dr. Dunlap has been driven by her undying passion and commitment to naturopathic medicine. Even as her life has changed and her family has grown, she works hard to maintain a work-life balance.

“I LOVE what I get to do every day. It’s a dream job! It’s so creative and multi-faceted.” Dr. Dunlap operates two private practices in Portland, ME (coming soon) and Portland, OR. She offers one-on-one virtual education consultations to source articles and contacts in an effort to make resources and information available to women everywhere. Her research focuses on preconception and infertility in men and women, HPV, cervical dysplasia, and interstitial cystitis. Dr. Dunlap is published in medical journals such as Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Mental Health & Prevention, Naturopathic Doctor News and Review, and Townsend Letter. She is also often asked to speak to medically trained audiences on topics such as women’s health, preconception, and fertility. In addition,  she is a medical advisor and research consultant to LOLA, the first lifelong brand for women, and Real Beauty Food, a natural food and beverage skincare company.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“It is the most satisfying thing to be able to offer hope and healthy outcomes for people by getting to the root cause of their concerns and helping to create fulfilling, lasting change. The medicine and the philosophy together are powerful beyond measure.”

Every day Dr. Dunlap practices with philosophy that aligns with her values for healing and health: the healing power of nature; first, do no harm; doctor as teacher; treat the whole person; focus on prevention; and treat the root cause!

“My diagnostic skills compare to any MD, and now I have the most incredibly expansive toolbox of treatment modalities, including pharmaceutical when I have to use them as last resort.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Dunlap encourages prospective students to follow your passion, work hard and do the leg work to set yourself up for success. Your journey to becoming an ND starts with an interest – pursue that interest by interviewing or shadowing practicing naturopathic doctors, visit the accredited schools and ask questions. Immerse yourself in opportunities to grow as a business professional. Do not think of naturopathic medicine as an easier approach to healthcare, “if anything, studying a larger variety of treatment modalities while still trained in primary care makes it harder at times.” Be prepared to stand up for the challenge and reap the benefits of a lifetime of learning.

Learn more about Dr. Dunlap

Instagram: @drcorinadunlap
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drcorinadunlap/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/drcorinadunlap
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/corina-dunlap-nd-ms-33a30133/

Dr. Andrea Maxim – CCNM

“I can sit across from a patient now and can see that they’re hiding the “real” reason they booked in, and give them a healing space to expose that, and start the healing process. “

Dr. Andrea Maxim - CCNM graduateDr. Andrea Maxim enjoys being able to help her patients know they aren’t alone and “to be one of the first people to witness their wounds for what they really are.” It is this ability to truly touch the lives of patients, bringing them out of their shells and addressing their problems that helps to make her practice a success.

For Dr. Maxim, success doesn’t stop at the office door. With her knowledge and skills, she can share all of this “with people on Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Live, YouTube and touch a whole other demographic of people.” By sharing her skills through social media, she is helping to redefine naturopathic medicine.

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

As a way to prepare for her future as an ND, Dr. Maxim “went to every business class at CCNM in 3rd and 4th year.” It was this business grounding that helped add to her experience at CCNM and find success when she left naturopathic medical school. She went so far as to “learn as much as I could about managing the front desk and patient retention.”

In addition to her grounding in the business side of the field, Dr. Maxim also attended “as many courses and seminars/live trainings that I could in the first year.” By doing this, she was able to get information about what other practitioners were doing to be successful so that she could learn from their experiences.

CCNM as a springboard

Dr. Maxim chose CCNM for practical reasons—at the time “it was the only naturopathic college in Canada and the location was perfect for me.” Before she attended the school, she got to take part in the Discover CCNM Day and was sold on the college because of the energy she felt coming from the school and its people. While at CCNM, the faculty’s knowledge and expertise gave her the capability to “stand on my own as a new graduate.” She adds that even now, she reflects on what she learned from CCNM and it’s helpful with her treatment protocols. She especially credits the internship experience as having helped her to become a successful ND as well as the school’s ability to “make changes to improve our skills and efficiency.”

“Living the dream” after graduation

Since becoming an ND, Dr. Maxim has put in a great deal of work to build her practice. She also knew that she wanted more than anything to be her own boss, so she started her own practice. The best part about that is the flexibility “that it provides with changing my work schedule as needed.”
In addition, Dr. Maxim has been able to expand on her practice and innovate as needed because of the freedom of running her own practice. She utilizes her creativity to “create new promotions, new programs, offer flash sales and market myself in new ways.” This has helped her become a success in her field.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

As a starting ND, Dr. Maxim put in 16-hour days, six days a week. But all of that was to get her practice started and working properly. Now that she’s established, she gets to find personal and professional fulfillment from “learning, implementing, [and] growing outside of the office.” Her philosophy is that you cannot allow yourself to rest and get complacent if you want to remain successful in the business. But now that her business is settled, she works “four days in clinic and has more down time outside of the office.” She jokingly adds that there are some days she doesn’t even open her laptop to do any work.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Maxim’s top piece of advice for NDs is to learn how to be an entrepreneur as well as a practitioner. She says to be practical and realize that you will not be flooded with patients, but instead you have to have the drive to grow your practice and bring in clients. She adds that we are “in our pioneer phases” as a profession and that you will be faced with many patients and potential patients who have no concept of what naturopathic medicine is and what it entails. She believes that what you learn in school will help you to be a competent ND, but if you want to be successful, you “have to be ready to hit the pavement from the start.”

Learn more about Dr. Andrea Maxim:
Instagram: @AndreaMaximND
Facebook: www.facebook.com/maximizedbusiness

Dr. Ben Lynch – Bastyr

“…the connection between understanding how the body works, how it gets broken and how to naturally restore its function resonated with me way more than the conventional way of stopping symptoms.”

Dr. Ben LynchWhen Dr. Ben Lynch discovered the world of naturopathic medicine, it was immediate for him: “I was sold.” He has certainly checked off all the main reasons for wanting to become a naturopathic doctor saying, “I love nature. Check. I love being able to fix things. Check. I love learning. Check. I love being free of medications. Check. I love helping others. Check. I love how I became healthy while following the recommendations of various naturopathic physicians. Check.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

The groundwork for becoming an ND was laid early on when Dr. Lynch “experienced ‘stopping’ my symptoms with medications as a child and young adult.” He was not pleased with those experiences and knew deep down that there must be a better way, all before he even knew about the existence of naturopathic medicine. And then, during college, he was a bit lost, wandering through life not sure of what his path would be after he left the University of Washington. After backpacking through parts of Asia, he became very ill while in India and was sent to a local doctor who introduced him to the medicinal value of herbs. Once his health improved, he threw himself into learning more about the practice of Ayurveda. When he returned to Seattle, he met another Ayurvedic healer who was an ND. This eventually led him to discover Bastyr and the world of naturopathic medicine.

Bastyr as a springboard

Dr. Lynch was drawn to Bastyr through his undergraduate background and the fact that it was only fifteen minutes from his home. While at Bastyr, he learned the fortitude that is necessary to become a success in any profession, but certainly in naturopathic medicine. As Dr. Lynch points out, the advanced courses in biochemistry, physiology, and nutrition were challenging, but “with challenges…come great things.” Bastyr provided him with a great deal of foundational background and knowledge which has served him well as an ND. It also provided him with “the ability to support people’s health naturally and more importantly, to teach people how to prevent disease rather than treat it.”

From Dr. Lynch’s time in Bastyr, if he found something he enjoyed or that he wanted to learn more about, he simply went out and learned more about it. He explains that “I went and got what I wanted. I didn’t wait for it.” He learned that the constant acquisition of knowledge is the key to success as an ND. Dr. Lynch notes it is important to “build his practice around his life” and not the other way around which makes your life subject to the demands of work, something he sees as the key to avoiding burnout.

“Living the dream” after graduation

Following graduation, Dr. Lynch continued with a successful online business selling natural health products. After finding fulfillment and financial success, he sold that business and began another—Seeking Health. This has proved prosperous as well, going so far as to be named the fastest growing business in Washington state for 2015.

Dr. Lynch feels that, unlike many people, he doesn’t actually work. For him, the term “work” implies something negative and instead he sees his profession as being something he enjoys. As an example, he points out that “the majority of the time I thrive creating tools which help people transform their life.” Now, his team includes about 25 employees and he is able to delegate his work as needed.

As a result of his ability to delegate and his flexible schedule, he is able to enjoy about two months a year of vacation with his family. He is able to not only take care of himself and his family while providing incomes for the members of his team, but he is also able to donate his time and resources to various charities including disaster aid to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and California, among others.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

For Dr. Lynch, finding fulfillment as an ND has gone hand in hand with finding fulfillment as a husband and father. In fact, the day before his graduation, he stood in a circle with his classmates and declared his promise that he would be successful at all three aspects of his life. He adds that he is “most passionate about being a naturopathic doctor because it allows me to help my family, myself, my friends and those who I have never met, achieve health the way it was meant to be achieved—naturally.”

In addition, he finds fulfillment and happiness in the flexibility that is afforded him by the nature of the profession. As a naturopathic student, people think they must open a practice to be successful. But Dr. Lynch insists that is not necessarily the case and the “key is to identify what you want to do with it…Options are endless.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Lynch is adamant that in order to become a naturopathic doctor, one must walk the walk and talk the talk. He affirms that “you need to personally live by the naturopathic principles…You need to be proud to be called a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.” His suggestion for knowing easily if a career as a naturopathic doctor is your calling, to ask yourself “if you love learning, if you love nature, and if you love understanding how your body truly works and how to support it, then you’ll absolutely love becoming a naturopathic physician.” He sees this as being a part of living life as nature intended it to be lived.

Learn more about Dr. Ben Lynch:

Dr. Jaquel Patterson – UBCNM

“The sky is the limit with naturopathic medicine.  You really can choose any path you like.”

Diversity and an eclectic nature is at the forefront of what has drawn Dr. Jaquel Patterson to the profession.  In her own practice, she covers a variety of medical conditions from autoimmune diseases to allergies and from Lyme disease to anxiety/depression.  It is this wide variety of coverage, coupled with the passion naturopathic doctors are known for that helped inspire her and continues to motivate her in the profession.


Laying the groundwork to become an ND

For Dr. Patterson, the path to becoming a naturopathic doctor included a very personal inspiration.  During her teen years, she saw her mother “struggle with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”  Both of these autoimmune conditions are debilitating, and Dr. Patterson felt that the conventional medicines and treatments did not address her needs fully.  Prior to that, she had already been interested in alternative medicine as a child, having seen the benefits at home.


She took a break from the medical pathway to enter the business field for a few years.  Once she decided to get back into medicine, she went back to school part-time (while still working a full-time job) to finish her pre-med requirements.  After two years of doing this, she enrolled in the ND program at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM).


UBCNM as a springboard

When she attended an open house at UBCNM and was able to hear ND’s speak about their profession, she says that, “I knew I was in the right place.  It felt like I was going full circle back to my roots.”  The fact that the campus was close to where she lived and serviced a variety of diverse populations just served to seal the deal for her.

Dr. Patterson greatly appreciated the opportunities to learn at UBCNM and how it helped transition her into the community health side of medicine.  She participated in the community clinics and then began to serve in a variety of community outreach capacities, including acting as the Health Chair of local chapter of the NAACP.   She has also served with the Southern CT Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and was elected on the National Board for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.


 “Living the dream” after graduation

During her third year at UBCNM, Dr. Patterson attended New York Lobby Day.  There, she met the CEO of a health center that saw over 65,000 patients.  It was this contact that gave her an entrance into the field when she graduated.  From there, she excelled by leading “quality improvement initiatives for childhood obesity, which was the highest in the Bronx at the time, diabetes and hypertension. My work was recognized by Community Health Care Association of New York State and was used to help develop models in other FQHC’s in the state.”


Finding fulfillment as an ND

Since getting her start, she has continued working not only as a naturopathic physician, but also as an administrator, eventually becoming VP at a large community behavioral health agency.  Her work directly impacted the behavioral health needs of 21,000 patients.  Today, she has her own practice, Fairfield Family Health where she works “with a robust team of 6 other healthcare providers including naturopathic physicians, primary care consultant, pediatric nurse practitioner, nutritionist and physical therapist.”  She is also the first UBCNM graduate to be elected President of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, as well as the first person of color to hold this position.


Advice for aspiring NDs

To sum up her advice for aspiring NDs, Dr. Patterson has this to say: “It is a rare opportunity to find something that appeals to your heart and that creates butterflies in your stomach.  If you have that feeling about naturopathic medicine, you need to make sure to follow that path.”  She feels that this bold step will be the key to success and a life without regrets.


Learn more about Dr. Jaquel Patterson:


Instagram: @doctorjaquel

Twitter: @drjaquel

Facebook: Naturopathic Care By Dr. Jaquel