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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