“I knew naturopathic medicine was the right path for me because of the philosophy behind the medicine. It made so much more sense to use natural substances to support distressed organ systems and to teach people how to take care of themselves rather than having them rely on a medication.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“I chose to pursue naturopathic medicine when I was in high school! I was very interested in botany and herbal medicine at first and thought I would become an herbalist. I started researching herbal medicine which then led me to learn more about traditional Chinese medicine and then that led me to discover naturopathic medicine. I made my decision right then and there. I was intrigued by the fact that I could use medicine from the earth to help patients feel better and that working on the true cause along with these modalities could reverse a disease process. I reached out to a local ND and shadowed her, which validated my choice career goals in naturopathic medicine.

“I knew naturopathic medicine was the right path for me because of the philosophy behind the medicine. It made so much more sense to use natural substances to support distressed organ systems and to teach people how to take care of themselves rather than having them rely on a medication.”

SCNM as a springboard

Dr. Jessica Cooper chose to pursue her naturopathic medical education at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine after participating in a student for a day event. “Everyone was so welcoming, supportive, and helpful in answering my questions. I also liked that I was able to learn traditional Chinese medicine as part of my degree.”

While at SCNM, “I gained a well-rounded education on how to diagnose and treat patients by using the proper physical examination and lab testing. Furthermore, I learned about selecting treatments to cater to individual needs.”

“I planned to do a residency early on in my career. I focused most of my efforts on getting good grades, participating in campus clubs, research, and shadowing as many physicians as I could.” Following graduation, Dr. Cooper completed a residency at SCNM, just as she had set out to do.

Dr. Cooper works at New England Integrative Medicine. “My life revolves around providing general family medicine to my local community. When I’m not in the clinic, I continue my learning process with conferences, provide discounted acupuncture care, and enjoy outdoor activities.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“Regardless of the concern a patient is coming in for, I have no doubt that I can help them. I am most passionate about teaching patients that they are in charge of their health, that their diagnosis does not define them, and about providing hope that they can achieve their health goals. I like being able to offer patients some type of physical treatment (hydrotherapy, physical medicine, or acupuncture) rather than just prescribing supplements or herbs. I often find that physical treatment sessions can yield immediate changes in the body, and patients leave feeling better.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Learn the philosophy first and foremost because it is the core of what we do, not just the modalities. Shadow different NDs to understand how they operate and seek healthcare from an ND for yourself. If you are passionate about this career path, start immersing yourself in the history, philosophy, and get as much experience with other physicians prior to and during your education.”

Learn more about Dr. Cooper

Website

New England Integrative Medicine

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