Food as Medicine

Want to learn how to find health and healing in your kitchen? Join the AANMC and Dr. Cory Szybala for an informative webinar to learn how your food choices can nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Good nutrition is core to overall health, and fundamental to the naturopathic approach to wellness and disease management. Learn the dos and don’ts and how to empower yourself and others to make lasting dietary and lifestyle changes.

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AANMC COVID-19 Resource Page

On behalf of AANMC and the naturopathic medical programs it represents, we are reaching out to you regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. AANMC recognizes that this is an extraordinary time for many, and that you may have questions or extenuating circumstances as a result of this illness and the international response. Our naturopathic programs would like to reassure you that coursework during this time can qualify as “special circumstances beyond your control.” Students wishing to apply to the coming fall term or for future intakes, please rest assured, accredited naturopathic medical programs will continue, will support you in meeting your healthcare career goals, and we will get to the other side of this together.

Please note the following now applies:

  1. Acceptance of online and/or distance learning prerequisites: All ND programs will accept Spring 2020 prerequisites that are delivered via online or distance learning from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Courses taken as Pass/No Pass: All ND programs will review and give consideration to Spring 2020 prerequisites that are graded Pass/No Pass.
  3. In-person Interviews. Interviews may now be conducted via video-conference technology or other acceptable means. AANMC strongly recommends that interviews be conducted virtually until such time that social distancing restrictions are lifted.

Please reach out to the ND admissions offices for additional guidance on starting or completing an application. They are all working during this time to continue the legacy naturopathic medical students have to offer. Contact information the ND schools can be found here.

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The Different Paths of the Naturopathic Doctor

Not all students fit the mold of the traditional premedical student. For those who have always known their future career path, the decision points are relatively clear.

✔️ Meet with advisors and chart your course

✔️ Complete biomedical sciences and prereqs with a strong GPA

✔️ MCAT Prep and competitive scores

✔️ Relevant healthcare experience and volunteer work

✔️ Cultivate strong references and craft your essays

✔️ Present professionally, and as a well-rounded applicant

✔️ Apply and hopefully get in to your top choice

But what about the students where this path may not be a straight line? Where coursework may be older, or not exactly aligned with a traditional prehealth track? There are options in naturopathic medicine for students with varied academic backgrounds and life experiences, as well as those who decide at a pivotal moment in their life that naturopathic medicine is their calling.

Through recent qualitative research, AANMC uncovered that many ND students are actually drawn to the profession because their health or that of a loved one was positively impacted by naturopathic/natural medicine. They want to be doctors who take a holistic approach to patient care, develop strong relationships with their patients and community, and utilize therapies like nutrition, mind-body medicine, herbs, supplements and treating the root cause.

Naturopathic admissions teams actually value the contribution these students bring to the class mix, as their life experiences, passion and maturity can be valuable assets toward their future career in the health professions.

For the students where the path may not be as clearly defined, the following can be helpful.

1. Meet with an ND admissions specialist. They can help you understand your academic and financial plan. Click here to connect with a representative at the school(s) of your choice.

2. Think about your personal plan. What changes will you need to make to pursue your goals? How will your family be affected by this change? How will you balance life and school responsibilities? Click here to learn about the three steps to plan for ND school.

3. Know your ‘why’ and write it down. Why is being a naturopathic doctor important to you? Why are you pursuing this path? In challenging times, pull out your why to remind yourself of your goals.

Profiles of people who changed careers to naturopathic medicine

Frustrated with the lack of help she was receiving from conventional medicine, Dr. Lisa Ghent discovered naturopathic medicine as a patient struggling with fertility. With a background in the medical field, she saw medicine in a new light, and was inspired by the holistic approach to patient care. Dr. Ghent took the leap of faith and completed her naturopathic medical degree while working full-time and having three kids throughout the program.

“As a mother of three, and the wife of a pilot, career flexibility was a big component to pursuing naturopathic medicine. When things with my kids are really important, I can be there, and that is important to me.”

Lisa Ghent, ND

Click here to learn more about Dr. Ghent’s path to naturopathic medicine.

Dr. Xermã Palmares was already a Brazilian medical doctor when he decided to pursue a career change to naturopathic medicine. With experience as a cardiovascular surgeon, intensive care physician and medical consultant for many years, he needed more out of his career.

“Although I enjoyed delivering care to my patients as a conventional medical doctor, I did not feel totally fulfilled personally and professionally.”

Xermã Palmares, MBA

Click here to learn more about Dr. Palmares' path to naturopathic medicine.

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. She went back to school 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.”

Raynette Ilg, ND

Click here to learn more about Dr. Ray's path to naturopathic medicine.

Dr. Daemon Jones was unhappy in her corporate job. She made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor to discuss her general malaise. After one visit, she was fascinated. She loved what she heard about the lifestyle changes that could get her back to loving life.

“I’m so much happier now.”

Daemon Jones, ND

Click here to learn more about Dr. Jones' path to naturopathic medicine.

Disappointed about not getting the help he needed after seeing multiple specialists and providers for personal health concerns, Anthony Pascucci thought there had to be another way. In his quest for a more holistic approach to care, he found naturopathic medicine and ultimately, his calling.

“Returning to school as an adult has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Balancing school and work while living alone and paying bills has tested my fortitude, and the unwavering drive that made me know this was what I wanted to do with my life.”

Anthony Pascucci

Click here to learn more about Anthony Pascucci's path to naturopathic medicine.

To learn why others have changed their careers to naturopathic medicine, click here.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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What Does the Naturopathic Patient Look Like?

The short answer is you and me, and most folks we know.

“In my opinion, there are two types of people who see naturopathic doctors: those who are proactive about their health and view NDs as an integral part of their healthcare delivery team, and those who see NDs as a last resort, because nothing else has worked for them.”

Robert Kachko, ND, LAC

President, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Without naturopathic patients, there would be no naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic medicine takes a holistic approach to patient care. Therefore, the relationship between the ND and the patient plays a key role in the healing process. An open relationship can help improve a patient’s health, while a closed relationship may be a barrier to recovery. When doctors and patients work together, healing happens.

What patients say they value most about seeing an ND

  • They can be active participants in their health creation and wellness.
  • Time. NDs typically spend an hour or more with new patients and 30-45 minutes in follow up visits.
  • Addressing the root cause, and not focusing solely on symptom management.
  • The holistic approach to care that includes nutrition, herbs, supplements and mind-body medicine.
  • That their ND takes the time to teach them how to stay well.
  • And in the words of many, “I feel heard, for the first time.”

Click here to view a few naturopathic patient success stories.

Common Conditions Treated

Some of the common conditions patients come to see NDs for include gut health, endocrine imbalances, fatigue, anxiety, allergies/autoimmune disorders, insomnia and pain. According to the 2019 AANMC Career Growth and Compensation Survey, approximately 50% of US-based NDs also offer a sliding scale to increase accessibility to various patient populations.

Reference: AANMC Career Growth and Compensation Survey, 2019 *Totals do not equal 100% as many NDs use multiple angles to help patients get well.

Naturopathic medical education is extremely comprehensive, and patients may see their ND for primary care, or for a specific area of specialization. NDs treat a wide variety of patients and conditions primarily in outpatient, private practice and interdisciplinary settings.

Naturopathic Specialty Associations exist for the following disciplines:

ND practices also afford an eclectic mix of therapeutic options. Additionally, many NDs partner or work in interdisciplinary practices, delivering a team-based approach to patient care. From the table below, you will note a strong emphasis on therapeutic nutrition, as it is often core to addressing so many of the chronic illnesses patients present with.

Reference: AANMC Career Growth and Compensation Survey, 2019

Of those who selected ‘other’ the following graphic describes a bit of what they do.

Lastly, the following chart from the 2019 AANMC Career Growth and Compensation Survey illustrates the fact that ND practices typically spend significant time with patients. Full-time practices see anywhere from 11-100 or more patients per week, however the majority of NDs see fewer than 60 patients per week for full-time, full income practices. Both the doctor and patient report higher satisfaction with their interactions.  ND practices seeing lower volumes of patients are typically doctors who choose to work part-time in clinical practice and/or supplement their career with work in academia, research, writing, consulting or the nutraceutical industry.

Patient Success Stories

Naturopathic doctors share success stories of interprofessional patient care.


“As a cancer specialist, I see the benefits of interprofessional healthcare firsthand. I really believe that ‘it takes a village’ when it comes to the treatment of a person with cancer.  If a patient only sees one physician, there’s realistically only so much care that they can receive. By involving medical, surgical, radiation, and naturopathic oncologists, the care they receive is more rounded and the patient is well-supported; it’s a team effort to provide the best care possible. I also believe the principle that ‘iron sharpens iron.’ The interactions and experience that I’ve had with my multidisciplinary colleagues over the years has made me a better physician, and enhanced the care that I provide by expanding my own knowledgebase.”

Dan Rubin, ND, FABNO

Graduate, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

Breast Cancer and Hypothyroid

“I am treating a patient with metastatic breast cancer who has been on a trial drug for about two years. During this time, she has had multiple joint pain, severe fatigue, as well as insomnia. We had been attributing her fatigue to treatment side effect, however upon deeper investigation we found that she was hypothyroid, likely due to the variety of treatments she has received. By improving her thyroid function, she has regained significant energy as well as improved sleep. She was also starting to develop elevated liver enzymes due to her treatment and although she has been responding well, there was concern she might not be able to continue. Working together with her medical oncologist, we were able to come up with a plan to stabilize her liver enzymes which has allowed her to continue treatment. Additionally, I provided her acupuncture, which has greatly improved her pain level and daily functioning.”

Erica J. Joseph, ND, LAc, FABNO

Graduate, Bastyr University

Weight Loss

“With hopes of making a full recovery after a work-related back injury, my patient considered the advice of his physical therapist to start exercising and lose weight and was referred to me to help with this lifestyle change. After four months, he lost 84 pounds. This patient has started intermittent fasting with continued weight loss.”

Heather Bautista, ND, CNS, LDN

Graduate, National University of Health Sciences

Pregnancy and Birth

“One of my favorite stories is of a new mother that was in the care of a midwife at my clinic. During her care, she came to me for management of her thyroid with medication, lifestyle, and nutrition, which was very different than what her prior primary care physician was able to offer.  Given the nature of my working relationship with her midwife, we were able to jointly manage her care plan, labs, and follow up. In the course of her pregnancy, she required a TDaP vaccine, which she was then able to walk right upstairs and receive with our team. After her baby was born, she was having lactation difficulties.  I was able to step in to help with some botanical lactation support, she was able to see our acupuncturist for milk supply augmentation, and was able to connect with our mental health counselor and psychiatric nurse practitioner to assist with her postpartum anxiety and depression. I was able to work with both her mental health team members to offer nutritional and supplemental support, and to ensure that her treatments were synergistic, not overlapping, and certainly not antagonistic and causing harm.  Most importantly, she was able receive all of this care in one place. She came in with her baby and was able to move between appointments seamlessly, with each of us shifting rooms to accommodate her while she breastfed or pumped. While there are so many stories like hers, what we have created in our clinic in terms of interdisciplinary and integrated care that holds families is an incredible experience for us as providers, and for the families that we care for.”

Sunita Iyer, ND, LM

Adjunct Faculty and Graduate, Bastyr University


“A recent success was the complete remission of an intractable case of psoriasis that presented in the ear canals and genitals and produced chronic and constant itching and irritation that was very distressing to the patient. We employed a team approach including nutrition, allergy identification/avoidance and stress/anxiety management. I am happy to report that the patient’s skin lesions healed within six weeks after treatment began and they are still symptom free to this day!”

Tegan Moore, ND

Graduate, University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine

Mental Health

“I had a patient suffering from mental health concerns which were severely impacting his personal and work life.  He wanted only all-natural treatment; however, he was taking medications to keep his mood stable. He had an appointment with his prescribing physician, but told me that he wasn’t going.  I strongly advised him that it was in his best interest to go to the appointment, explain his desires to his medical doctor and continue taking the medication as prescribed. For him, naturopathic medicine could only work in conjunction with conventional medicine.  With the patient’s consent, I reached out to his psychiatrist and sent him my recommendation plan for this patient’s naturopathic appointment. It was so important in this case to have continuity of care including clear communication with his prescribing physician. We were both concerned for the patient’s well-being.  In addition, this patient needed the support of naturopathic medicine combined with allopathic care to achieve his optimal state of mental wellness.”

Dawn Siglain, ND, LAc

Graduate, University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine

To become an ND patient, click here to find a naturopathic doctor in the United States or Canada.

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Hot Topics at the AANMC

What do you spend your nights thinking about? For the AANMC and our member schools, it’s how we can do better, teach better and impact more lives through training competent naturopathic physicians. As such we held a summit in early March 2020 with admissions and enrollment staff, deans, faculty and college presidents to explore how we could better serve diverse student populations and keep our curriculum in pace with changes in higher education, healthcare delivery and student learning. We also held lengthy discussions around how to potentially reconfigure our clinical and didactic curriculum to mature with the ever-changing higher education landscape. Demand for naturopathic medicine, as evidenced by increasing scope and coverage of licensed doctors is also spurring us to think about this student of the future, and the role of naturopathic medicine in North American healthcare delivery.

Currently all AANMC committees are collaborating to ease the strain of campus and clinic closures on our students and ND communities. Our resiliency and ability to pivot with creativity and teamwork has been inspiring. The collective AANMC response to COVID-19 has been rapid, and ever-evolving, based on the information we have to date. Once campuses normalize, our regularly scheduled activities and strategic plan will commence.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is front and center for so many of us. From the #MeToo movement to a desire to better understand and meet the needs of our underserved and minority students and patients, AANMC and its member schools are committed to creating strong naturopathic medical environments that foster safety, creativity of thought, and learning for all. We assessed how to better spread the word about naturopathic medical education to diverse student populations, and more so, how to meet their needs once they become students. We paid attention to where diverse students dropped out of the funnel, and more importantly – why. Additionally, AANMC is working with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of our US professional association, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) to better address DEI issues of our future doctors as well. We are advancing diversity training for our current students and staff further into campus culture. Some of our member schools have brought on dedicated DEI staff, and we are sharing best practices in order to raise awareness of these issues and sensitive topics at every one of our member schools.

Another key issue that we would be remiss without mentioning, and that impacts both our diverse student groups and our vast career changer population is addressing barriers to entry into the field. We created a task force dedicated to identifying and reducing these barriers for all students. They are reviewing industry data on predictors of success in the classroom, and beyond so our decisions to address these barriers will be data driven.

Innovative curriculum and clinical education are also on our minds. Technology has changed the way education is delivered, and in many ways how healthcare is practiced. The recent public health pandemic has highlighted the positives and negatives involved in online course delivery. However, student learning expectations are changing; technology in the classroom and clinic is the norm. It will only play a greater role in both in the years to come. We are looking ahead to better harness these powerful tools to prepare our students for the medicine of tomorrow.

This past summer, we completed the first revision of the AANMC Clinical Competencies for the Graduating Naturopathic Doctor. The Competencies are used to inform curriculum and clinical education delivery at the accredited schools. The key changes made from the first edition were around diversity, use of technology and professionalism in all platforms, including social media.

It is an exciting and busy time for our nimble profession, as we tackle these hot topics head on!

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 03/18/20

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss what is known to date about COVID-19 and natural therapies.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • The implications of a novel virus
  • Review of current literature and knowledge, including Traditional Chinese medicine and natural therapies
  • Tips to support a healthy immune system
  • How to show appreciation and support for those working on the frontlines of providing care
  • Tips to keep your mental health positive in the face of COVID-19

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: And I’m Todd Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And We are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. We are joined by Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’ career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care and public health. She joins us monthly to talk about all issues related to naturopathic medicine, health, wellness and just overall well-being. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning, folks. I hope that you are all well.

Erin Brinker: Yes, going a little stir crazy, but other than that we’re really great. So, one of the things that’s come up throughout this growing crisis is people with their, and I’m going to use air quotes, you can’t see me, but I’m using air quotes, their natural cures for this virus, for the COVID-19. I think most of that is probably bunk, but you are the expert, so what do you do from a naturopathic standpoint do to combat this disease?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you so very much for bringing that up. So, first off, COVID-19 is a novel virus. What that means is that we’ve never seen it before. So if we’ve never seen it before, we never run any clinical tests or trials on it. Therefore, nobody should be claiming anything is a cure, or anything is specifically preventive for COVID-19. I want to be really emphatic about that. I was actually on the record in Newsweek because there was somebody making claims about cures for coronavirus. And so what we’re seeing is that there is nothing at all indicating that anything is, nothing has been tested. This is all brand new. Some of the trials in China are actively going on right now. They are testing Traditional Chinese Medicine and testing things like intravenous Vitamin C, but that is all going on right now. We have no data, we have no information. We don’t know. So, I think at this point anybody claiming to have a cure should not be doing so.

Erin Brinker: You know, they say that, they point to Chinese medicine and say that naturopathic medicine has been there for thousands of years. I say naturopathic, homeopathic or naturopathic, has been there for thousands of years, and that they have the right cure. But like you said, that may be true that this has been going on, that they’ve had this kind of medicine thousands of years, but this particular virus hasn’t been around for thousands of years. It’s new.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. This particular virus is brand new. Traditional Chinese medicine is not the same as naturopathic medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for many thousands of years and has clinical trials, has studies regarding many, many types of conditions. And if can be very efficacious in those types of conditions. But like I said, this is new, so we really don’t know specific to COVID-19 what is going to work.

We’re seeing interesting things with this virus and virus progression, from a microbiological standpoint of how it works. And so, we’re just trying to understand how the virus works, how it infects tissue, how it’s different from other viruses and other Coronaviruses. Most Coronaviruses will cause very minor symptoms or a common cold. This is obviously not the case here. And so people in the natural products industry are definitely speculating what could work based on what we know about the microbiology of this virus specifically, but we have no, it’s all speculation at this point. Does that make sense?

Erin Brinker: It does. It does. Where something may look promising, but we don’t have any studies to prove that it will indeed be promising, or that there might be some other issue down the road.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Exactly. There are no studies because it is novel. Novel means new.

Erin Brinker: So, what should people do to, I mean we know about the social distancing.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Erin Brinker: Are there supplements that people can take to boost their immune system? I know that there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of nonsense out there. And so the consumer says, “Well if I take this, this and this then it’ll help me.” But I don’t know because everybody seems to say that they have the cure for everything. So, how do you cut through the muck?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are definitely things that help support a healthy immune system. And we’ve talked about that on this show before. Making sure that your vitamin D stores are adequate. Vitamin D is a supplement or it’s a vitamin that increases from sunlight. So, we have higher levels of it in the summer time, lower levels of it in the winter time. So, making sure that your Vitamin D stores are adequate. Understanding that those respiratory droplets, they stay longer in colder air. And so there is a thought process, again, it’s all speculative, that having more humidity in the air, not having as much cold and dry air, may contribute to a lower spread of that respiratory droplet. But again, you don’t really know.

The key takeaways, stress, keeping your stress down. Stress will lower your immune system. And also very, very important to have adequate sleep, to make sure that you’re getting long restful sleep in the middle of the night as much as you can, keeping stress down. We’ve talked about mindful meditation, gratitude before, I know all of those things that are really helpful. That we know helps to mitigate our risk. Making sure that you’re eating a really well balanced and nutritious diet, keeping the sugar down low to a minimum. And you know, all of the basics that we’ve talked about, Erin, before on this show about staying strong and keeping your immune system healthy.

There are some folks that are looking at various different approaches with vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin D. There are natural anti-inflammatory herbs and natural antiviral herbs. But again, we don’t know what is going to work in this case.

Erin Brinker: So, I think about things that people do to clear their minds and to reduce stress and many of them involve being around other people, and we can’t do that right now. And so what do you recommend for, you’re going to get a little, people are going to get cabin fever.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Erin Brinker: What do you recommend for keeping that peace of mind?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, that is a really important component of this because we are by nature social beings. My son is home from school, and we’ve been trying to make the best of it. And I’ve been really heart warmed at all of the afterschool activities that have managed to go online. Yesterday my son did his taekwondo practice online in the living room.

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: He got to wave to all his friends and everybody was there and they had this little mini group taekwondo class and the master was watching them all on their screens, checking their forms, correcting them when they made mistakes. And it was just like they were in class except they were all on their screens. And so I think you know, as much as we can, try and check in with your loved ones every day if you can. If you’re home, if you’re not in the car commuting, you shouldn’t be any way, unless you have a job that is essential to be going into. And so go and connect with folks. You know, we Skyped yesterday with my son’s cousins, and he got to wave at them and talk to them for a little bit.

I think, that human connection, we are so fortunate. I’m just thankful that this didn’t happen 30 years ago because I would be sitting drinking Tang and watching Inspector Gadget soap operas or something. I’m so thankful for those who do have technology now. That is something that is, there’s a disparity there, not everybody has technology and has enough bandwidth to be able to be on with folks constantly. So that is something to be considerate of. And I know that there are some internet companies that are starting to make concessions with people who are low income to up their internet now because they understand that this is the only way people are staying connected. So you know, I do just want to be mindful of that and recognize that not everybody is that fortunate. But I will say that try as much as you can.

You can get outside, within reason it, keep that six feet of distance between you and other people. Go take a walk, go get your bike out. Yesterday my son took his scooter out and I jogged alongside of him. You can still get outside. So, I think people need to recognize they don’t have to necessarily be housebound. You just need to be social distancing. Does that make sense?

Erin Brinker: It makes total sense. Tobin actually talked about how therapeutic it was yesterday for him to run.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure.

Tobin Brinker: Yeah, I did the LA Marathon a week ago, and I did not intend to get back to running quite as quickly. I like to give my legs a couple of weeks off, but I was going stir crazy. So, I just did a short two-mile run, and it completely changed my perspective.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. I’ve seen friends of mine going out and going for hikes in the woods. You can get out, go out into the desert, just don’t be around people. So, I think people need to recognize, connect with nature, connect with your families, and connect with yourself.

Erin Brinker: So, the final question that I have for you, and I know we’re running a little over, but the final question that I have for you, it has to do with our first responders and our, hospital staff, people who are working longer hours, in areas that have been affected. What can we do? Is there a fund to support them so that they, or is there something that the average person can do to show our appreciation for people who are putting themselves in harm’s way?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, I’m not exactly sure of existing things. I would imagine that that would be a local jurisdictional type of thing that, maybe call up the non-emergency line of your fire or the police department to ask them what they need, how you can help. Call up the non-emergency line, the hospitals are pretty packed right now. My husband is a hospital administrator as you know here locally, and has been working around the clock all through the weekend, and through the week trying to get the hospital prepped and ready for what they’re anticipating will be increased volume, and also dealing with the emotional state of healthcare workers. So, what I could say on a personal level if you know healthcare workers, check in on them, make sure that their mental health is okay. They’re going to be working hard for the next bit here.

Erin Brinker: They are. And it’s working long hours in a high-pressure situation, and we’re all very grateful for the work that they do.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I know. So, I’m thinking like this is, we’re basically at war. I feel like we’re at a war time in our country, like this is a war against the virus. We’re being called to do our civic part. Stay home, stay out of crowds, stay safe ourselves, and rather than the army being our infantry, our health workers are our infantry right now.

Erin Brinker: Indeed. Indeed. And that will be our final note. How do people find and follow you on social media and learn more about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, if you don’t want to leave your house, next week we have a virtual fair. You can stay home, log in on your computer, and join us on our virtual fair. There will be folks from all of the colleges there. We are on social media, on our website at, and we’ll see you online. I hope that folks stay healthy and safe.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, thank you so much for joining us. As always, it was informative and interesting, and we look forward to our next conversation.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you folks. Talk soon.

Erin Brinker: Talk soon. Be well. So, with that, it is time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Todd Brinker: I’m Todd Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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9 Tips to Take Online Classes Successfully

Do you find yourself suddenly taking classes online? There are similarities and differences to conventional, face-to-face courses. Read on for a few tips to make the most of your online coursework.

What’s the same? You’ll have a head teacher to cover the material. There will be assigned readings, quizzes/tests and writing. You may have specific times where attendance is required, or group work where you collaborate with other students.

What’s different about taking classes online? Well, for starters, you’re online and so are all your peers. If you have questions or thoughts, you will need to write it all out. Side conversations with classmates and teachers that may have occurred before or after class will need to be online as well. You are often expected to do more independently.

9 Tips for Taking Classes Online

1. Communicate well and professionally. Writing will be your primary form of communication. Remember much can be misunderstood when using only the written word, so try to be clear, concise and thorough. This goes for speaking with classmates and communicating with the teacher.

2. Be disciplined. There are plenty of potential distractions for the online learner, as you can be just about anywhere with strong internet. Set rules for yourself that will keep you focused and on track. Some folks prefer setting a daily schedule, or a consistent workplace, while others may limit time on email, social media or other things until their work is done. Don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well-done.

3. Speak up. The teacher may not be able to see your visual cues. (teachers often look out to the classroom to see facial expressions and understand if folks are ‘getting it’) In the absence of this, you need to speak up if something isn’t making sense or if you need help with a particular concept.

4. Online classes can take anywhere from 5-15 hours per week. Be sure to budget that into your week.

5. Think critically. You are going to be asked to demonstrate decision making based on the information you’ve been presented.

6. Think before you write/speak. This tip should be applied in life as well. Compose your thoughts in a professional and well-presented manner. Proofread before you press send, and think of the recipient. Will they fully understand what you are trying to get across? *Pro Tip: Don’t write when emotional, let yourself cool down before composing an email. If you are still upset, try to take it to a phone call or face-to-face interaction, rather than an email where things can more easily be misunderstood.

7. At the beginning of the course, create a master calendar with all assignments and be sure to allow enough time for all projects.

8. Make sure you have access to strong internet and reliable technology for the course.

9. Set Breaks. Don’t forget to take a little time away from the screen. These can be brief exercise breaks, a quick walk or playing with a pet.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Take Your Love of Naturopathic Medicine Around the World

We live in an age of global cooperation, with humanitarian efforts that are not only growing in popularity but also growing in need. The disparity between developing nations and their neighbors increases each day, complicated by warfare, disease, natural disasters, and poverty. Just as the medical field is expanding and taking on a more international flavor, so too is the naturopathic medical field. Programs such as the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders have helped to bring medical treatment to impoverished, low-resource communities across the globe.

Travel the Globe Bringing Naturopathic Medicine to Those in Need

Many don’t realize that there are a number of philanthropic organizations providing naturopathic treatments to these same communities. Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB) has been delivering naturopathic medicine to those who previously had little to no access to healthcare. Additionally, the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) supports the growth and dissemination of information on international naturopathic medicine, while also working closely with such agencies as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, and UNESCO to help promote the profession around the world.  These organizations, among others, are helping to bring global service and cooperation into the spectrum of naturopathic medicine. Natural Doctors International (NDI), and Homeopaths Without Borders promote and provide career opportunities for naturopathic physicians while respecting the cultural communities within which they operate.

We interviewed a few naturopathic doctors to learn more about how they became involved in global health.

Why Practice Globally?

In the past few years, we have seen change in the popular mindset of looking at ourselves locally, shifting to a more global perspective. Many people have stopped asking what impact they can have in their respective backyards and instead have started to look at who truly needs help. They are challenging themselves to make a more profound and lasting impact on the world at large. This is especially true of Dr. Wendy Coram Vialet, who practices in the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas.  When she graduated from her naturopathic program at Bastyr University, Dr. Coram Vialet returned to her native home to help introduce naturopathic medicine to a community that needed it and was vastly underrepresented in terms of access to such services.

In recognition of her efforts, she received the Territorial Endowment Award, a program that helps promote individuals who can make a difference in their own communities by encouraging them to return home to practice.  She was inspired, in large part, by Virgin Islands Judge Emeritus Verne A. Hodge, who urges those who become successful overseas to return to their home to give back to the community that gave them their first start.

I encourage students to pursue their dreams. Be open to embracing new ideas and developing creative ways of practicing. Impart the knowledge you have learned and leave the community better and healthier than you found it. Let that be your legacy.”

Wendy Coram Vialet, ND

Director, Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism at University of the Virgin Islands

Another naturopathic success story, Dr. Ysu Umbalo was driven by the need to “[understand] the patient and [meet] them where they are.”  Many of those in developing nations do not have the ability to access any form of medical treatment, but especially not naturopathic medicine.  So by getting out in these communities, doctors and other professionals see this as a chance to give back while at the same time practicing their skills in the field that they love.

Benefits of a Global Practice

There are so many benefits to beginning a global practice that it is almost difficult to know where to start.  First and foremost, is the flexibility that is afforded a naturopathic doctor practicing abroad.  Many are able to set their own schedules and office hours.  In addition, some cultures are more accepting of naturopathic medicine by not having the stereotypes that come with Western healthcare.

“I embrace the principles of nature and move with them. I have been running my clinic on those principles, and it’s fulfilling to me.”

Ysu Umbalo, ND

Founder and Executive Director, Soma Care and Mercy - Socame Foundation Ltd

Naturopathic doctors have a vast toolkit of therapies and are able to adapt their practice to work specifically with what they have available to them and with respect to the unique needs of their patients.  Since many developing countries have long histories of traditional medicine, naturopathic treatments often fit right in. For instance, Dr. Vialet has been able to blend local herbs found in the Virgin Islands with Western herbal medicines that result in not only healing properties but also a “sense of familiarity in the prescribing process.”  By recommending something patients are already culturally comfortable with, they are able to break down international boundaries and make connections with the community.


Making a Global Impact

“My work in global health has reinforced my understanding of cultural competence and how important culture is in the delivery of healthcare, as well as the relationship between the patient and healthcare provider.”

Ann Grimwood, ND

Vice President and President-Elect, Natural Doctors International

Naturopathic Institutions like NDI, WNF, and NWB are working hard to encourage the advancement of naturopathic medicine as well as raising the awareness of its existence through education, regulation of the practice, and setting standards for accreditation. Through the combined efforts of these organizations, and in collaboration with native populations, practitioners are able to expand their familiarity with and proficiency in naturopathic healthcare bettering communities globally.

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Tanya Denne – Bastyr ND Student

Hailing from Baker City, Oregon, Tanya Denne is a third-year naturopathic medical student at Bastyr University – Washington. She shares her path to naturopathic medicine and as an ND student with a special interest in Parkinson’s and Mucuna research.

Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?

“In a similar path to how many arrive to here, chronic illness and running into dead ends within conventional medical systems led me to naturopathic medicine. My father worked as a liaison between the Forest Service and tribal populations so I grew up with exposure to Native American medicine. My favorite books as a child were the ones describing how Native Americans used the plants around them to create medicines. Since childhood I was unknowingly searching for this medical system of sustainability and prevention. I was thrilled when I found out there were medical schools and degrees dedicated to treating the whole person, and removing the obstacles to cure!

Field collection, India, 2015

“Being a naturopathic doctor will allow me to bridge the gap between patient care and bench research. I’ve always wanted to use the natural world around me as medicine. Naturopathic medicine allows me to do this. I can focus on researching Mucuna pruriens for Parkinson’s Disease, and develop my skills as a student clinician. Naturopathic medicine inspires hope. I want to be part of this dynamic group of unique forward-thinking individuals that come together to form an eclectic and vibrant healing community.”

How did you prepare for ND school?

Tanya prepared to become a strong candidate for naturopathic medical school by volunteering and working at Oregon Health & Science University. She researched botanical medicine, Parkinson’s Disease and childhood developmental disorders. Before making the decision to become a naturopathic doctor, she shadowed NDs, attended medical conferences, interned with MD and NDs, volunteered in herb shops, and worked as a florist. “These experiences allowed me to sort through what I was really passionate about. I realized a career in naturopathic medicine would give me the freedom to combine all of my interests in a creative way to care for patients.”

“It was important to me to continue my botanical research on Mucuna and attend a school that was open to collaborative research. Being around mentors that were doing what I am interested in was my top priority. When trying to decide on a school, “I listened to a podcast featuring Dr. Laurie Mischley, where she mentioned Mucuna pruriens for Parkinson’s Disease treatment…which was the very plant I was studying at OHSU at the time. I was thrilled to find a like-minded researcher at Bastyr. I interviewed Dr. Mischley and knew Bastyr University was the right fit for me!”

“Bastyr University has been great; we continue to conduct collaborative research with OHSU. We actually just finished a very successful pilot study demonstrating the neurorestorative potential of Mucuna. I am happy to be at school that has supported me through these endeavors.”

What is your favorite thing about school? What surprised you?

Parkinson’s Disease Summer School (PDSS) at Bastyr University is one of my favorite weeks of the year. We spend multiple weekends preparing and getting to know our patients based on their extensive lab tests, and required paperwork. We then get to meet and spend a full week, developing that relationship, facilitating their learning, and fine-tuning treatment plans. The patients leave feeling grateful for all the knowledge and care that has been shared. Translating my research skills to clinical ones, specifically with PDSS, working with patients to help them understand how to implement Mucuna in their PD treatment plan has been very important to me.”

Tanya notes her surprise with enjoying classes that she was hesitant to take. She encourages others to keep an open mind, and to enjoy the adventure.

How do you maintain a school/life balance?

“I keep moving! I enjoy hot yoga and running with my dogs that together weigh a total of 200 pounds. It can be hard to stay motivated in the rain in Seattle, but my dogs push me to get outside and we all are better for it. Animals are my balance, and caring for them brings me joy.”

Additionally, “I attend conferences, network, and give poster presentations. These experiences renew me, and I always leave with new collaborations and possibilities. At the most recent Movement Disorder Society Conference in France, I made a connection to the Parkinson’s Institute in Italy. We are now collaborating on a manuscript and Mucuna farming manuals for Indigenous populations in Africa where conventional Parkinson’s medications are expensive and mostly inaccessible.

Poster presentation, Movement Disorder Society Congress, France 2019

What advice do you have for prospective ND students?

Tanya encourages future students to seek out mentors who share your passions. Learn about their career paths by taking the time to interview them and build a connection. Networking and mentorship are huge pieces of professional development. Tanya’s mentor is skilled researcher and clinician – Dr. Traci Pantuso. Together, they are conducting QAQC research surrounding Mucuna pruriens. Their plan is to work in the SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line to expand on what is known about the neurorestorative potential of Mucuna. Click here to learn more about Tanya’s Parkinson’s and Mucuna research campaign.

Dr. Pantuso is living proof of my career aspirations; bridging bench research and clinical practice, I am very grateful our paths have crossed.”

Finally, remember to take time for self-care. Naturopathic medical school will test you in many ways. “Choose a school that resonates with your mission and interests,” to ensure that you have the support that you need to be successful.

Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Best Virtual Career Fair Tips: Prepare for a Great Experience

 We want to be sure you get the most out of your virtual fair experience. The best way to do that is to prepare, just a little bit. Getting ready for any career fair—be it live or virtual—takes some advanced planning. These tips will help you at all of the career fairs you may attend.

What to Expect at the Virtual Fair

Virtual career fairs give you the opportunity to learn more about the possibilities and options you have for career paths you may be interested in. The Naturopathic Medical College Virtual Fair is great for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the naturopathic medical field. This event is particularly useful for those who are unsure about naturopathic medicine or aren’t as familiar with it as they would like. The ND Virtual Fair also provides an easy way to interact with all of the schools efficiently and compare your options.

You will be able to speak with admissions professionals, faculty and students from the accredited naturopathic medical schools to find out what it takes to succeed as an ND student and what to expect from the various programs. You may ask questions and get an immediate answer. Just like in a live career fair, there are various “rooms” on the digital platform that you can log into to speak with representatives from each program. Visiting a different discussion group is just like going to a new table at a traditional career fair. The only difference is that you can do this from the comfort of your home.

Tips for Getting the Most out of the Event

As with any type of career fair, here are tips to help you prepare for a successful virtual career fair:

Register Early— One of the best things you can do is register ahead of time. Trying to register at the last minute can be a hassle. Plus, registering early gives you the chance to do advanced research and receive updates reserved just for registrants.

Research Fair Participants— Make note of who you most want to connect with during the fair so you can be sure to get answers in real time. If you have an interest in a certain college or program, show that by taking the time to find out more about them so you can ask appropriate questions.

Prepare a List of Questions— When you enter the virtual chat, it’s a good idea to have a list of prepared questions so you aren’t fumbling for what to discuss. These may include:

  • What’s the best thing about your naturopathic program and campus?
  • What are characteristics of successful students at your program?
  • What are some of your notable alumni doing?
  • What is the process to get started as an applicant?

Update Your Profiles— While a resume is not necessary for the AANMC Naturopathic Medical College Virtual Fair, when preparing for most career virtual fairs you’ll want an up-to-date resume. Also, make sure your social networking accounts such as LinkedIn are current and professionally done.

Get Ready to Put Yourself Out There—Be prepared to ask questions that will help you determine if this career path and curriculum is right for you. While you won’t be shaking hands and making eye-contact with the attendees, you will do best by introducing yourself. Keep in mind the people you are chatting with may be the ones to interview you for admission to naturopathic medical school.

Keep It Professional and Remember Your Manners—Dress appropriately (if participating in a video chat) and plan to log-in from a quiet location that allows for you to be understood as well as to get the info you need to respond quickly. If you aren’t participating in a video chat, you still need to present yourself in a professional manner. Make sure to use correct spelling and grammar. After your questions have been answered, be sure to say thank you.

Follow-Up—Make sure to collect contact information from the representatives you speak with and ask them what the next steps are in terms of applying for their programs. It’s an impressionable move to reach out the next day to thank them for the opportunity to learn more about their programs. This contact can be through email, phone call, or thank-you note.

Now that you’re prepared to confidently attend any career fair, be sure to join the AANMC for the Naturopathic Medical College Virtual Fair so you can receive answers in real time to your questions about the exciting career options available in naturopathic medicine.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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