Jamine Blesoff, ND is an Instructor in the Clinical Sciences department for the Doctor of Chiropractic and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine programs at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS). She specializes in preventive care for pediatrics and women’s health. Dr. Blesoff is a graduate of Bastyr University.
Why did you choose to become a naturopathic doctor?
“An underlying tenet of naturopathic medicine is that we are all connected – our individual health is more than the sum of one’s symptoms. Our individual health is inextricably connected to our family system’s health, our community’s health, and the health of our environment. This interconnectedness continues across generations. When considering a career in the healthcare professions, I looked for opportunities to practice medicine as a healing process – including ways to promote wellness versus solely treating disease. In naturopathic medicine I found a systems-thinking approach that resonated with my professional goals. I was very interested in learning specifically about clinical nutrition, lifestyle interventions, and botanical medicine.”
What can students learn from you?
“I currently teach courses on physical exam skills and clinical reasoning, principles of naturopathic medicine philosophy, and pediatrics. My students can expect to build on the philosophy and practice of the naturopathic medicine profession. In one of my courses they are introduced to the fundamental concepts that provide the framework for becoming a naturopathic doctor. Later in the program they apply these principles while developing clinical reasoning skills. I incorporate evidence-based medicine into my lectures and case studies.”
What topics in naturopathic medicine are you passionate about?
“While I enjoy working in the primary care role of seeing patients of all ages with a variety of health concerns, the focus of my practice is pediatrics and women’s health – particularly the post-partum period. After taking the Intro to Pediatrics course as a student, I was surprised by my interest in working with babies and children. From there I focused my elective coursework in botanical medicine, advanced pediatrics, advanced gynecology, and craniosacral therapy. I focused my external clinical rotations and preceptorships to continue working with pediatric patients and learning from pediatric-focused doctors.
Because of our emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, naturopathic doctors are well suited for working with babies, children, and families. Preventive medicine starts with raising healthy infants and children. I enjoy helping families establish a healthy foundation as they grow. NDs that have additional training in pediatrics are knowledgeable in safe and effective natural therapies. My training as a naturopathic doctor provides a useful framework in my research on toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences (ACE), and resiliency. I am particularly interested in how nature-cure, or spending time in natural environments, can help mitigate the negative effects of adverse childhood experiences.”
Finding fulfillment as an ND and educator
“I love the experience of developing the therapeutic relationship with my patients and their families. I practice the skills I learned in naturopathic medical school such as motivational interviewing and basic counseling techniques. Inviting the patient to collaborate with me in developing therapeutic recommendations lays the foundation for long-lasting behavioral and lifestyle changes. From discussing physical activity recommendations for a patient with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) to encouraging healthy eating choices during a six-year-old’s well child visit, I meet the patient where they are at. It is a reciprocal experience for everyone involved.” Click here to watch Dr. Blesoff’s AANMC webinar on naturopathic approaches to PCOS.
Another aspect I enjoy about my work as a naturopathic doctor is creating individualized recommendations for my patients. It is a creative process to pick from the variety of modalities we are trained in. The tools I use most from my proverbial medicine bag are botanical medicine, lifestyle recommendations, and patient education.
The current focus of my life’s work is to apply my skills and experiences in integrative medicine, teaching, and research that align with my passion for addressing health inequities, social justice, and celebrating human connection. Specifically, the science of toxic stress, ACEs, and trauma-informed care. Whether I am with a patient, in my classroom, or in my community, I am thinking about complex problems (symptoms) while considering how and where to add health into the system. My training as a naturopathic doctor provides an important framework to apply this systems-thinking approach to my work as clinician, teacher, and researcher.
I like sharing real-world examples that help students shape their own style of the naturopathic doctor they are training to become. Because of my expertise working with pediatric and post-partum populations, I offer patient care experience in licensed and pre-licensed states. For a number of years, I worked as locum tenens for other NDs – stepping in as substitute doctor to care for their patients while they were on maternity leave. From that experience I am fortunate enough to work in a variety of private practice settings.
It is thrilling to witness students understand the impact that naturopathic medicine can have in improving health and promoting wellness for people, communities, and our planet. It is exciting when my students share their professional goals after graduation. I mentor students interested in pediatrics, women’s health, or research areas and connect them with colleagues around the country. Overall, I want to be a resource for my students. My hope is that I am someone they can ask follow-up questions and seek mentorship as they consider their career options.”
Involvement, research and continued education
Dr. Blesoff is a member of the Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians (PedANP) and is currently researching naturopathic treatments for pediatric respiratory conditions, in order to promote antibiotic stewardship with a team of other NDs from the United States, Canada, and Australia. She also devotes her time to advising the Pride Medical Alliance club and furthering her education.
“As a current student in the Health Disparities Certificate program through the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I have centered my coursework on ACEs, intergenerational trauma, and resiliency. After completion of this program I will enroll in a MPH program at UIC School of Public Health in 2021.”
What advice do you have for future ND students?
“There is great variety in how naturopathic doctors utilize their degree and engage in our profession – from the modalities they practice, the populations they work with, to publishing books and/or research. I encourage individuals to network or engage with naturopathic doctors and current ND medical students. Ask them what they enjoy about the profession, but also ask them what about challenges they face.”
Dr. Blesoff notes that the critical thinking skills, an inquisitive nature, humility and self-direction are all qualities that make a strong ND student.
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