Dr. Sean X. Hesler – SCNM

“My awakening to the moral imperative as a privileged global citizen is what drove my focus on global medicine.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“I came into integrative medicine through chiropractic. After a back injury in high school treated with little relief, I was referred to a chiropractor. I decided I wanted to work full-time in global health, and to be a complete physician, able to use a variety of modalities and always with my hands, food, and the plants growing around me to help people heal themselves.”

SCNM as a springboard

“The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) was the right college for me because it had the only chapter of Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB) and the broadest scope of training. SCNM teaches acupuncture in the core curriculum and is the only US naturopathic medical school to do so. Acupuncture is a strong part of our global health repertoire and we have used it not only for one-on-one consults but also to train international health workers in basic treatments to help their own communities.

SCNM trained me to be a well-rounded naturopathic doctor. I gained a school-family I will treasure forever. My work with NWB also set the stage for my future in not-for-profit management and leadership.

In order to prepare myself to succeed in global health, I gained as much experience as I could working in low-resource communities in the US and abroad. Through my shifts as a student in SCNM’s free community clinics around Phoenix, I learned how to apply foundational, root-cause naturopathic care to people who otherwise lack access to care.

After working with Ryan Ferchoff, ND and seeing the naturopathic approach to the patient and how the pieces come together, I knew I wanted to bring this style of medicine to those most in need around the world.”

Global Health

“My wife (Sarah Preston Hesler, ND) and I graduated naturopathic medical school and then we moved to Haiti to not only see patients, but more importantly to open and operate the MamaBaby Haiti birth center in Cap Haitien. It was the first free-standing birth center in northern Haiti.  Afterward we started NWB’s work in Haiti initially three months on, three months off and eventually training and hiring local community health workers to take over the work.

For me, my awakening to the moral imperative as a privileged global citizen is what drove my focus on global medicine. Underserved communities tend to receive sparse and poor-quality care, with a lack of options and cultural disempowerment from the dominant model of medical care and reliance on unaffordable technology and medications. I have the tools to act, and I’m choosing to act.

Naturopaths Without Borders serves the global community through sustainable medicine, but it also promotes best practices in global health within the profession and promotes the profession within the larger global health community. We are focused on evolving integrative approaches to health worldwide through our volunteers and our local community health workers. I’m proud of the organization we have built and for its bright future as a driving force to build #oneworldinhealth!

Regardless of your future plans, you should register for my webinar to hear how a strong foundation of naturopathic medicine will empower you to serve wherever you go and with whatever you choose to do. Although our philosophy is focused on our relationship with the individual patient, I will illuminate what happens when we apply it to communities and global health. You will learn pearls from my successes and challenges in 13 years of global health work and leadership.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“My favorite thing about being an ND is flexibility – of tools, of the hats I can wear, and of the cultures I work among. Drawing from whatever modality we need makes us so versatile as practitioners . Using chronic pain as an example, we can utilize spinal manipulation and injection techniques, modulate inflammation through nutrition and botanical medicine, perform acupuncture and teach the patient hydrotherapy to use at home. My prescription rights give me respect from, and open opportunities for collaboration with our conventional colleagues abroad. As a physician, I integrate easily into the healthcare team and bridge the gap between doctors and public health.

Dr. Sarah and I balance our work between NWB work administratively and in the field, private practice and teaching.

In my nine  years since graduation I have worked around the world involved in direct patient care and project management, but as we have grown as an organization I have shifted to stepping back and empowering our community of NDs to step into the field work as I work to build NWB and teach students.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Decide what you want to do on a daily basis – if it’s meeting patients, listening to their stories and helping them take their health to a new level, naturopathic medicine might be for you. You need an entrepreneurial spirit in business and beyond – we are a rapidly-growing profession and we need innovators and go-getters!”

Learn more about Dr. Hesler:

Naturopaths Without Borders

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

Dr. John Finnell – Bastyr

“As the first naturopathic physician and acupuncturist appointed to lead a Veterans Affairs Whole Health program, I will do my best to represent our professions and medicine in the best way.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Austin College, John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc told the admissions advisors at the allopathic and osteopathic medical schools that he was interested in studying preventative, nutritional, and botanical medicines. Much to his dismay, his advisors informed him that he would have to look elsewhere for preventative healthcare education.

Prior to pursuing his naturopathic medical education, Dr. Finnell completed a Master’s of Science in environmental engineering and sustainable infrastructure at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. His first career was as an environmental engineer and chemist, contracting for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Dallas. Dr. Finnell completed Superfund site assessments and remediation plans, refinery site inspections, and emergency response for the Columbia Space Shuttle accident.

“I knew that I needed to get back on my original path, once my work in the environmental field began to negatively affect my health.”

Bastyr as a springboard

“I had a dejavu moment my first week in Seattle that made me a believer that Bastyr chose me. I was driving around Green Lake and remembered that, ten years before, a dear friend had told me that I should check out this small herbal medicine school, as she drove me to visit the medical school admissions office at the University of Washington, in 1994. Across from the Seattle Zoo, as I reminisced, an oversized pickup truck t-boned my car. The next thing I knew, my car was totaled and I was at the Swedish Hospital, alive and more than a little rattled. You see, I was given another chance to get back on my path. Perhaps whomever was looking out for me decided that I needed a dose of my own medicine. I got it in the form of a full recovery with the help of naturopathic and east Asian medicines at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health.”

While at Bastyr University, “I gained an understanding of the human condition that I could hardly have imagined when I started my first day of class. I learned of the life stories of my patients, classmates, and teachers. I saw healing take place within each of them as we walked the path together. I learned about human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, and about the diseased state and creating the conditions for healing. I learned how to practice the art of the medicine, and I learned how to simultaneously become a critic and an aficionado of our art.

After I graduated, I completed a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH; previously NCCAM) post-doctoral research fellowship at the Bastyr University Research Institute, under the mentorship of Ryan Bradley, ND, and Leanna Standish, PhD, ND, LAc (5T32AT000815), and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology at the University of Washington. I successfully obtained foundation and faculty seed grants to conduct a clinical trial of the effects of vitamin D supplementation (Traub et al., 2014). I also participated in collaborative studies assessing the patterns of use and safety of CIH interventions (Mischley, Vespignani, & Finnell, 2013; Sexton et al., 2014; Sexton, Cuttler, Finnell, & Mischley, 2016).

I then gained an appointment as director of a postgraduate doctoral program and research at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a regionally-accredited CIH institution in Austin, Texas. While at AOMA, I became funded by an administrative supplement for a complementary health practitioner research experience (PA-16-013) awarded in support of the parent R01 entitled: Functional Orthopedic Rehab Treatment-Amended (FORT-A) Program (R01AT008422-01). All of this work helped me find my way to the next stage of my career.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

I love my life in San Antonio, in my home state of Texas. Texas, specifically San Antonio, was the home of Herbert Shelton, ND, one of the pioneers of the practice of natural hygiene within the profession. The Stark Center, at the University of Texas at Austin, hosts the Todd-McClean Library with one of the largest naturopathic medicine collections in the world. I am now the Whole Health Program Manager at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, one of 18 Whole Health Flagship sites. As the first naturopathic physician and acupuncturist appointed to lead a Veterans Affairs Whole Health program, I will do my best to represent our professions and medicine in the best way.”

I love my profession and will never get bored. The part that I love the most is the size of our toolbox. What do you do when your patient comes into your acupuncture practice but is afraid of needles? To name a few…diet, exercise, mind-body practices, fasting, mythopoetic exploration, herbal medicine, physical medicine, and homeopathy. What do you do when your patient comes into your acupuncture practice but is not afraid of needles? Well…you do all of the above plus acupuncture.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

When I interviewed at Bastyr, they asked me what I wanted to do with my education. My reply was that I wanted to study naturopathic and Chinese medicine, research to bring this medicine into the mainstream, and move back home, gain licensure and start a school in my home state. Patience – I am working on it!

My plan was to complete the MS in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, in order to be able to practice in Texas, while we gained licensure for naturopathic medicine. I also planned to gain rigorous training in research methodologies in order to create broader acceptance of this medicine in the halls of medicine and in the halls of Congress. I am still walking along that path; it’s my life’s path.

The late Bill Mitchell, ND, said in class one day that: ‘The truth will bubble up!’ Those who know me know the turtle mantra: ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’ Be true to the medicine and steadfast in your calling. Along your path, you are the holder of the medicine of the past and the medicine of the future.”

Learn more about Dr. Finnell

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

Dr. Casey Seenauth – SCNM

“I love being able to offer patients a new perspective on their health care. Many patients come to my office after being told that they have exhausted all the options that conventional medicine has to offer.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“In college, I knew that I was working towards a career in health care, but I struggled to find the right place. I was considering nursing or pharmacy. One of my mentors in college was a registered dietician who showed me the power of nutrition in addressing chronic disease. She steered me in the direction of naturopathic medicine, and I was fascinated to learn that there was an entire field of medicine based on the body’s innate ability for self-repair.”

SCNM as a springboard

“I knew that naturopathic medicine aligned with my personal philosophy towards health and wellness. What I didn’t know at the time that I decided to come to Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) was if I would fit in. From my first week of orientation, I knew that I had made the right choice to become a naturopathic physician. I found myself in a community of like-minded individuals who were inspired to make a difference in the lives of patients and to transform how health care is provided.”

“SCNM caught my attention with the broad scope of practice being taught and the forward-looking stance on how naturopathic physicians can collaborate with other providers to change the future of healthcare. The deciding factor came down to the strong sense of community and school spirit at SCNM.”

“After graduation I completed a two-year general medicine residency at SCNM. During that time, I had the opportunity to train with pioneers in the fields of injection therapy and pain management. After residency, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position at the Neil Riordan Center for Regenerative Medicine, where I have been practicing since 2015. My education at SCNM gave me the foundations to launch my regenerative medicine practice.  It takes a strong understanding of anatomy and orthopedics to do injection therapy.”

Regenerative Medicine and Pain Management

“Coming from an athletic background, I have an affinity for anatomy, biomechanics and understanding how people move. As a self-professed geek, I’m inspired by research that seeks to unlock human potential. Regenerative medicine is both cutting edge and deeply aligned with the naturopathic traditions.”

“I treat patients every day for acute and chronic pain conditions. For most of these patients, a naturopathic approach is brand new for them. So much of my work is educating and empowering patients to stop being passive recipients of medical treatments and start being active participants in the healing process. I treat patients with prolotherapy, PRP, or stem cell injections alongside other naturopathic modalities: nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine.”

“SCNM has recently created an honors track program for students who are interested in learning about regenerative medicine. I work with a small group of fourth year medical students seeking extra education and training in regenerative modalities. We have a weekly journal club and once a month skills workshops in addition to the usual training they receive on shift.”

Dr. Seenauth invites everyone to join him for his free AANMC webinar – Cutting Edge Regenerative Medicine for Pain Patients on September 19th. Click here to register!

“People who tune in to this webinar can expect to learn how regenerative medicine can fit into a naturopathic medical practice. If you’re planning on creating a regenerative medicine practice, or if you’re just curious, you can learn the basics.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“Naturopathic physicians are such a diverse crowd. Each of us have our own niche as far as patients that we treat, modalities used, and treatment approach. This has been a great benefit for me, as it gives me a platform to express my creativity and practice the art of medicine.”

“I love being able to offer patients a new perspective on their health care. Many patients come to my office after being told that they have exhausted all the options that conventional medicine has to offer.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“This is a tough road. Be sure that your heart is in it. Be prepared to face skepticism. There are great potential rewards and if you stick it out, you will have the opportunity to make a great impact on the health and well-being of those in your community.”

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

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

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

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

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

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

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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