Learn about a career as a Naturopathic Doctor! With Razi Berry and Dr JoAnn Yanez

Posted by Naturopathic Doctor News & Review on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Full transcript of interview below.

Topics discussed:

  • Difference between homeopaths, herbalists and naturopathic doctors
  • ND training and curriculum
  • Whole body approach to healing
  • Fullfilment as an ND
  • Developing your toolkit as an ND
  • Top myths in naturopathic medicine

Razi Berry: Good morning, everyone. We are celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week. This is Razi Berry, publisher and founder of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review. Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, as you know, is a case format journal about naturopathic medicine. Every month since 2005 we feature the best and brightest naturopathic doctors, and their cases. It is really a way for naturopathic doctors to learn clinical algorithms and best practices from each other, and really, the whole world is watching. It’s really created this following where many types of practitioners are learning from the leaders in natural medicine.

Razi Berry: I am here today to talk about how to become a naturopathic doctor. I’m here with the beautiful Dr. JoAnn Yanez. Let me tell everyone a little bit about you before we get started, JoAnn. I’m just delighted to be with you this morning.

Razi Berry: JoAnn Yanez is the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, and we’ll learn about those this morning. She’s also the vice-chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, and she weaves a passion for illness prevention into her professional life. Her career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. She oversees research, advocacy efforts, and the joint academic endeavors of the accredited colleges of naturopathic medicine. You’re a busy gal.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think we have some feedback right now. I’m not sure why.

Razi Berry: I’m not sure either. Is that better?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I was recently named the chair, the incoming chair for ACIH. I’m really excited to add that to all of the things that are in my day-to-day hopper, so to speak. I thank you, and thank NDNR for having me on. I really appreciate all that you do for the naturopathic community, and I can’t believe that you guys are going to be celebrating 15 years in the community. How amazing is that?

Razi Berry: Isn’t that wild?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is.

Razi Berry: If I only knew now. We get a lot of questions from readers, and patients, and just consumers about naturopathic medicine in general, and how to become a naturopathic doctor. I think it would be fun to start, if you’d really explain what the education process is, because there are many types of natural and integrative medicine practitioners.

Razi Berry: There are health coaches, and integrative doctors, and functional medicine practitioners. Naturopathic medicine, in my estimation, is really the pinnacle, as far as education goes of natural medicine. Will you kind of explain what a naturopathic doctor is, and what the rigorous process is to become one?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, you bet. You know, I think you just said, “If we knew what we knew back then what we know now.” There’s so much information online about becoming a naturopathic doctor, and what you have to do. A really great place to start is our website.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The AANMC website has everything, we have a whole section dedicated to prospective students, so if you have any questions, if you’re kind of curious, you want to get connected to the schools, we are a one-stop-shop.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That said, if you’re wanting to become a naturopathic doctor, the first place you need to start really is why are you wanting to do this? What do you want to do? What is that passion inside of you that drives you to want to make this kind of an investment in not only your career but yourself?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Once you have determined that this is it, the light bulb has gone off, this is your path, this is your passion, there are a few steps to take. The first step I always tell students to do is connect with the schools, because you will need to put together an academic plan.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: On our website we have a web page that’s three steps to becoming an ND. The first … If I’m thinking about a stool, the first of those legs on that stool is your academic map. What prerequisites do you need? Do you need to go and take some additional classes? First connect with the schools, talk to an admissions counselor, find out what classes you’ve taken, what do you need, and plan.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The second thing … You’ve got your academic plan, that’s number one. I use my hands a lot, that’s my inner New Yorker, I can’t help it. Step number one is academic plan. What do you need to academically succeed in ND school?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Step number two is personal plan. What in your life needs to happen to support you to make it across the finish line. For some people that is family support, for some people that is putting some money in a savings account, for some folks it’s really defining what kind of practice you want to have so that you’re fully invested.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Maybe you’re talking to naturopathic doctors, or you’re shadowing, or you’re seeing an ND and getting your health fully on board so that you can have the strength and stamina to do ND school.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The last is your financial plan. How are you going to pay for it? Obviously this is an investment, it’s an investment in you, an investment to your life and career. Coming up with that financial situation. Those are kind of like the three nutshell, if you want to become and ND, where I tell people to start.

Razi Berry: That’s a great plan, and we have the link here where you can go and to kind of break that down and to make your own assessment. I’d like to go behind that a little bit, because people sometimes confuse naturopathic medicine with other types of healing. You know, like, some sort of herbalist, or homeopath, which are all amazing practices, and they’re important and we need them. But becoming a naturopathic physician, it is a healing art, but it is science, as well. It is actually becoming a physician. You do have to go through your regular undergrad, and then go through four rigorous years of medical school. A question that I sometimes get: Is a naturopathic doctor a “real” doctor? Even though that’s kind of a hard question to swallow, because it’s such a rigorous study. Can you answer that question, because we do get it a lot?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, of course. You know, I’m happy to dispel any myths or questions that people have in their brains. So, are naturopathic doctors real doctors? Absolutely. NDs are trained as primary care physicians who are, like you said, we are trained at the pinnacle of all of the healing, the natural healing modalities, and conventional medical science. In ND school, as you said, it’s four years of medical training. The first two years-ish are all of the biomedical sciences. That’s anatomy, physiology, embryology, biochem, and all of the foundational courses that any physician across the country is going to be taking. I always say this; the bones don’t move because you’re studying them in naturopathic school. The bones are the bones, the organs are the organs, the organ systems, all of that is what it is, and you’re studying all of that in naturopathic school. But then what really differentiates us is all of the modalities, all of the healing therapies that NDs get. Mind/body medicine, nutrition, hundreds of hours of nutrition at that, physical manipulation, hydrotherapy, botanic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, all of those things that make going to see an ND unique.

I’ll tell you a quick kind of segue story this morning, kind of veer off just a second. I was on the NBC radio station this morning in L.A., and I was talking with them about something very serious and emotional, which is pregnancy loss. Because it is National Pregnancy Loss Month, and the 15th is National Pregnancy Loss Day. She said, “Well, having a healthy pregnancy you start taking your vitamins when you find out you’re pregnant.” I said, “Naturopathic doctors take it a step further. We counsel you before you become pregnant, while you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, to make sure that you have the healthiest body to host that pregnancy.” And I said, “Naturopathic doctors is one gage of your energy. We’ll ask you about your libido.” I said, “When was the last time a doctor ever asked you about your libido?” And she just … Her mouth dropped. It was just a moment of, “Wait, what?” Because no one has ever inquired. What I think about with naturopathic doctors is we are taking this whole person picture of everything, and using that to help people attain their highest health.

Razi Berry: Yeah. You know what I was just thinking as you were saying that is they take it even a step prior to that, because if you are a naturopathic doctor and you’re seeing someone’s whole family, you will counsel the patient in ways that … Let’s say you have an adolescent daughter, you’ll make recommendations for or against something that will protect his or her fertility for the future.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Razi Berry: I think that’s something that’s so amazing, because you’ll hear a doctor say, “Well, do this or don’t do that, or watch for this in order for when they grow up, and when they want to start a family they can have a healthy family.” There’s the whole idea of latency and removing the obstacle to cure, which is one of most beautiful philosophies in naturopathic medicine.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, all of the environmental exposures that people are … from day one exposed to, just because we breathe air and we drink water. Yeah, I do … Thank you for clarifying that, Razi.

Razi Berry: No, I think that’s great. I’d love to get the link of your interview this morning if you can send that over. Yeah, that’s a great question … Naturopathic … If you’re just joining us I’m here with Dr. JoAnn Yanez, she’s the executive director of the American … I’m sorry. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It used to be The American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges a long time ago, and then we have two Canadian school members.

Razi Berry: That’s great.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Our member schools span across North America, and a lot of times I’ll be asked, “Where are the schools?” We have a map on our website with all of the schools, and links to each of the schools so that you can find out more information.

Razi Berry: Excellent. Yes, the answer is, naturopathic doctors are real doctors. They do go to medical school. There’s the application process, and we have the link here to learn more about that from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. There are some online programs that are programs in naturopathy. Can you explain how those are different than becoming a naturopathic physician?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That probably is one of our most frequently asked questions: “Can I get an ND online?” The short answer is no. To become a licensed naturopathic physician you need to have gone to an accredited program, which is a four year in-residence. That means you have to go to the school. Many of the schools now incorporate hybrid learning, online learning, but you still … When you see a patient you have to touch a patient. You have to do physical exam on a human being, and have somebody watching you to make sure you’re doing it appropriately.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are online programs who will offer education in the natural sciences, and various different types, from health coaches to naturopathy. But there is a really big distinction, and that distinction is accreditation. None of the programs that are online for naturopathy are accredited or recognized by the United States Department of Education, which means there’s no standardization in their education. One school may offer one thing. I was contacted by legislators in New York, actually, about a couple months ago, because there was a school operating in New York that was offering certificates in chiropractic, certificates in naturopathy. When I Googled their address, it was somebody’s apartment.

Razi Berry: Oh, wow! This is why it’s important. If you’re going to spend the money to go to an online program that is claiming to give you some sort of certificate in naturopathy, you cannot hold a license to practice naturopathy. If you want to actually … Maybe it’s fun learning, but if you want to actually deal with patients, and diagnose and treat disease, you need to be careful and look for the accreditation. There’s a list at the aanmc.org, the link we have here, so you can learn about which schools in the U.S. and Canada are accredited naturopathic medical schools.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Conversely, I’ve been contacted over the years by patients and students who have either gone to these schools, or seen a practitioner and have been harmed, or have lost their money. You really have no recourse when you’re going to a school that’s not accredited.

Razi Berry: Yes. Yes, absolutely. It’s not easy to become a naturopathic doctor, but it’s really rewarding. What are some of the things that you wish that you had known prior to becoming a naturopathic doctor?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good question. I wanted to become a naturopathic doctor, I call it the Stone Age, pre-internet. There was no internet for me. I found out about it fully by accident. I was speaking with a chiropractor getting ready to start my senior year of college, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I spoke to this chiropractor who was also practicing homeopathy and acupuncture. He said, “If I had to do it over again I would’ve become a naturopathic doctor, because that’s basically what I’m doing now.” I said, “A natural what?” At the time there were three schools, and I contacted the school in Arizona that was still operating. It was in an elementary school at the time before it moved to its beautiful campus now. That was it, it was the light bulb that went off.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: What I wish I knew back then was really all of the opportunities that you can have, all the career opportunities that you can have as an ND. There wasn’t the internet, so you couldn’t Google things, you couldn’t easily find information, you had to talk to folks. I really wished I knew back then all of the different career opportunities that one could have with this ND degree so that I could’ve started.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It took me about nine years to figure out my path and then where I wanted to go with this. I was successful and I was seeing patients, but I wasn’t fully fulfilled. I think because it took a little bit of time for me I wish I would’ve known that sooner. Also, the power of having mentors. Mentors I think in anything are so valuable. You know, a lot of times we’ll feel like we have to shoulder it all on our own and we can’t ask for help. Mentors are really important to help guide you, to help steer you, to bounce off questions that you may have. I would say, Razi, those are the two things that I probably … If I was counseling myself now, I would say, “Hey, Jo. Go get a mentor.”

Razi Berry: Yeah, that’s great. I love mentorship, as well. I mentor doctors in business practices. It’s really rewarding. I just want to say hi to some people that are joining us this morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I’d love to hear where you’re joining us from. If you have questions for us please feel free to ask. One person is saying that she’s been seeing NDs for over 15 years. That’s fantastic. But she hasn’t had one inquire about libido. I find that very surprising, because I’ve been seeing NDs for about 20-some years. But she’s wanting to know how to find NDs who practice specific specialties.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, good.

Razi Berry: I would say go to naturopathic.org as of now to find a naturopathic doctor near you.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We also have a web page on our website that lists all of the specialty organizations, so have her go-

Razi Berry: Excellent.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: If you go to … And I’ll have to find the link really quick, but if you go to that link on the AANMC website we have all of the specialty organizations, and each of those has a list of practitioners who are in those specialties who you could look out for. I hope that…

Razi Berry: Excellent resource, yeah. You know, even a naturopathic physician who specializes in pediatrics, or oncology care, or women’s health, they really treat the whole person. It’s not going to be the same experience as if you go to a conventional physician.

Razi Berry: I remember one time talking to our friend Dr. Geo Espinosa, who he said that usually people walk into … He specializes in men’s health and urology, and he said that mostly people just look at a man walk into their office and just focus on, like, the waist-down, and not the whole man that is presenting from the waist-up. That’s a great resource to look for specialties. But I just wanted to keep in mind that, treat the whole person is a foundational paradigm in naturopathy. If you go to a naturopathic physician for your libido, they are also going talk about your intestinal health and digestion, and your mood, and your sleep, and nutrition.

Razi Berry: Speaking of nutrition, when you mentioned some of the education that happens in naturopathic medical school, and you mentioned the hundreds of hours of nutrition, I want to just highlight for people to understand how impactful that is. Because physicians in traditional medical school do not learn nutrition. Nutrition is not just what to eat to lose weight, or gain weight, it is about every metabolic system in your body is dependent on what you put in your mouth and assimilate, and it becomes who you are. The foundations of nutrition in the doctoral level of education and naturopathic medicine are really profound. Do you want to speak to that and maybe some of the other really important things in naturopathic medical school that are different from any other medical school program?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: One of the things I will say in regards to nutrition is that when you’re seeing … Full disclosure, I’m married to a conventional physician. In conventional school they actually do get nutrition, but it is about 15 to 20 hours, depending on the school. It’s IV nutrition, and very focused/targeted. In ND school nutrition is seen … That phrase, it kind of sounds cliché, but “you are what you eat.” It is seen as core. In our documents and on our website we have something that’s called the therapeutic order. Therapeutic order you think of it as an upside-down pyramid, and at the base of that pyramid are the basics for health, all of the things that you need to be healthy. Stress reduction, sleep, nutrition, movement, healthy thoughts, et cetera, is at the bottom. At the top are interventional things, like: drugs, and surgery, and high interventional natural products. In ND school what I will say is really, what differentiates is we walk the talk. From day one in ND school I still remember my first week of school we had a course called Physician Heal Thyself. It was really instrumental in setting the tone or naturopathic medical school that, yes, you’re going to be learning medicine, yes, you’re going to be learning lab values, and procedures, and diagnostics, and all of that, but at the end of the day you can’t fill somebody’s cup from an empty one. Really core, you’ll see in ND schools there are folks doing Yoga during lunch, giving each other massages, the cafeteria’s at ND schools … Yes, there is going to be chocolate, because we all need chocolate, but there will be kale salad, there will be juices and smoothies and organic coffee. I’ve had meetings, many meetings over the years at all of the ND schools, and I always know I’m going to be well-fed. Because naturopathic medicine, we practice what we preach, we walk the talk. I think that it’s really important, and one of the things you’ll see … And I work with folks from all of the other disciplines, every discipline has their place and their purpose, but I can say definitively that our schools, we embody that. We embody the principles of naturopathic medicine, we embody that therapeutic order all throughout the education.

Razi Berry: It’s true, and it’s beautiful. The other thing I wanted to point out about the nutrition is the supplementation and nutrition. You can walk down any supplement aisle and be just totally overwhelmed, and you can read magazines about supplements and feel like you need to be on everything. Part of being taught nutrition at a medical college- level as a naturopathic medical school is really understanding supplements, supplement/drug interactions, drug/herb interactions. So, when you become a naturopathic physician and your patients come to you on a specific drug, or on a specific nutrient, or other pharmaceutical, or a natural remedy, they are going to understand how those interact. Because they take so much pharmacology they understand how to wean you off pharmacy medicines when you need that or when you want that.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And the interactions between those drugs and supplements. When I was in my residency in Arizona I did a rotation with a geriatrician who was the chief medical officer at a nursing home. She had me just follow her all day long, and my one task, my one task, she said, “Take their chart, look through all their meds and tell me what we can get them off.”

Razi Berry: Yeah, that’s so beautiful. People don’t want to be on all the meds. You know, NDs are totally anti. I mean, there are some pharmaceutical medications that, according to the therapeutic order they’ll stimulate the vital force, they can help you get through a period of time, they can help parts of your body’s energy rest, while the other heals. There are so many different reasons, but what I think is so fascinating, I’m going let the cat out of the bag, I met JoAnn when she was just … had just graduated, and she was working in a clinic. I was being seen there. Not only were you part of the nutrition and supplement program, but you also did craniosacral energy healing on me. It was fantastic because it was just … It was the first time in my life I had really seen those two elements married together, and it made such an impact on my health. You know?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, thank you for the honor of sharing that. As a doctor I can’t share it, I have to keep my mouth closed. But I appreciate you recognizing that. I think for me, and I think for NDs across … When you ask people, “Why do you do this?,” or, “Why do you keep doing this?” Because we hear about physician burnout. We hear about doctors committing suicide and awful things that are happening because of the stress of practicing medicine conventionally. But consistently I will hear from NDs that it’s the patients that keep them going. It’s the folks who came in debilitated with horrible situation going on with their health for whatever reason it was, whether it’s pain, or a chronic disease, or what have you. Those healings that occur, that drives you, there’s nothing like that. There’s no paycheck that will be the equivalent of that feeling of knowing what an impact you’ve had in somebody’s life.

Razi Berry: Yeah, it’s so wonderful, and that beautiful convergence of the mind and the body being honored at the same time. For you, as a naturopathic physician, what was that like going through naturopathic medical school and learning all this didactic science, but also understanding the subtle energies of the body, and how emotions and relationships affect health, as well? And to be able to have tools to help people with both?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: When I was in school I just … I was a sponge. I wanted to see it all, I wanted to be exposed to everything, I didn’t sleep much, which I paid for later. I was just one of those people where I wanted to see it all. If it was energy healers. I had one patient who amazingly, and I felt so honored, and I know we just celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but I was invited to a very traditionally done sweat lodge. I was the only non-Native person there, and it was really an honor to be brought into that circle. I just wanted to see it all, I wanted to be exposed to everything. I delivered babies, I did sports physicals on the Phoenix Coyotes and the Phoenix Suns. I just wanted to see it all, and experience it all, and have all of that in my toolkit. That’s what you mentioned. I think that as a naturopathic doctor that is probably the most gratifying thing. When I’m seeing a patient that I know I got all of these tools.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I always tell the story of this one woman who came in, she was in her 60s and she had chronic insomnia. From as long as she could remember she’d never slept through the night. Never. She saw everything from psychologists, to acupuncture, to physical medicine, she saw everyone. She comes to me and we’re talking through all of this, and I had just learned guided visualization, guided imagery process, and I walked her through it. I said, “Would you mind just going through this exercise with me?” She said, “Sure.” I took her through the guided imagery and what turned up was when she was a child her parents were part of a cult, a religious cult, and there were things that happened at night.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: She was not able to ever let down her guard at night, because she was hyper-vigilant, “They can’t hurt me, and they can’t hurt my sister.” It wasn’t until … She had gone to therapists, and she had talked, but it wasn’t until we re-framed this, and empowered her to not feel trauma at that thought that she was able to reverse it. She came back the next week, and she said she slept for the very first time since she could remember.

Razi Berry: I just got goosebumps.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I know. It’s one of those things that … What does that impact in somebody’s life mean? Just having all of those tools, having the different things that you can reach into for the 60-something-year-old female who had seen everything, who had seen everybody and nothing worked. That, Razi, is really gratifying as an ND, knowing that we’ve got all of this. I will tell folks, and this goes for any type of medical practitioner, if you’re not getting results with one type of person, there are many NDs who learn all sorts of things, if you’re not getting results have an open conversation with them, and say, “Hey, I’m not getting the results I’m looking for. Is there something else that I should be trying, or is there a better fit for me?”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: This is whether it’s your gynecologist, your oncologist, or your naturopathic doctor, or your dentist. If you’re not happy with the relationship, because that is core. That’s core in the relationship.

Razi Berry: I love that advice. I actually have an E-book on the website Naturopath, called Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? It tells my story of conventional medicine and just being … I felt like I was so swept to the side and just given a drug, a drug, a drug. When I finally gathered the strength to just say, “You’re fired,” and I went and I found a naturopathic medicine, and met you and others. That kind of changed the whole trajectory of my life. I’ll put a link if anyone listening to this is interested in this really fun guide, an E-book called, Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? I’ll pop it in here.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That’s awesome.

Razi Berry: Before we come towards the end I just want to announce to people who are just joining us. I’m Razi Berry, I’m publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, which I founded it in 2005. I’m here with Dr. JoAnn Yanez, who’s the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Razi Berry: How many medical colleges are there in the U.S. and Canada?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are seven members of my association who have eight campus locations. There is also a school in Puerto Rico.

Razi Berry: Excellent. Let’s go over … Naturopathic medicine right now is regulated in, you said, five Canadian provinces, and 20 states. Is that correct?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Razi Berry: Also, what am I missing? Puerto Rico? You say it better than I do.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Puerto Rico.

Razi Berry: Woo! Makes me want to dance.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

Razi Berry: Okay. Tell the listeners what that means. Because you can still practice in every state.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: What happens, and I worked in New York for many years, and New York is pre-licensed. We have naturopathic doctors across the country, and across the world. I’ve been abroad and met NDs from places like Dubai, and Greece, and the EU, and so there are NDs all over. What I will say is the scope will vary from state-to-state somewhat, and in the pre-licensed states, naturopathic doctors’ brains don’t stop just because their brain is in a state that’s not licensed. Their scope may not be the same, but they are still able to help you and help work through problems, and then they work as part of a team with medical doctors, or chiropractors, or acupuncturists in those pre-licensed states so that you can, as a patient, can get full care.

Razi Berry: Excellent. We’ve been talking about how to become a naturopathic doctor, so we have links here. If you missed some of our conversation about what that process is please rewind back to the beginning. There are a lot of little nuggets of information. There are also some myths.

Razi Berry: Can we talk about some of the myths? Are there some we haven’t covered? Myths about naturopathic medicine maybe.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, I think we already covered myth number one, which is, can I get an ND degree online? The quick answer is no. There are so many different myths here that we have on our documents, but one of those is that naturopathic doctors are anti-drugs and anti-pharmaceuticals. You touched on this a little bit. I think that NDs are pro-patient. NDs are pro what the patient needs at that time, what the body needs at that time. That may be pharmaceuticals, that may be surgery, that may be nothing. There are plenty of times where I’ve seen people come in and they don’t need anything. They want to take a supplement, they want to take a drug, they want something in their hand at the end. Maybe all they need is change their diet and go walk.

Razi Berry: Drink more water.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Drink more water, or quit their coffee, whatever. But prioritize sleep. One of the other myths that we have up here is … We’ve touched on a lot of these already is … that if it’s natural it must be safe. I think for me there are so many things that we have touched on today, but oftentimes I remember seeing patients coming in with garbage bags, shopping bags full of vitamin supplements. Thinking, “Oh, well, you know, it’s natural. It must be good for me.” No, you don’t necessarily need to be taking 30 different supplement products in a day. Having a naturopathic doctor to help guide you through that process and understand what’s best for that person at that moment in time is really, really an important thing to consider. Those are some of the top myths.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: The last one that I’ll say is it’s not evidence-based. We hear this criticism a lot from folks, “Oh, you all practice quackery. You’re a hippie doctor who’s going to wave crystals over my head.” I will never forget the very first time I went to the New York State Legislature. I drove up to Albany from New York City, and I had on my business suit, and I was all coifed and done up. I walked into a legislature’s office and I introduced myself as a naturopathic doctor. They literally said to my face, “Oh, I was expecting you to wear Birkenstocks.” I said, “Oh, honey, that’s just for the full moon drum circles.” (laughter)

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But at the end of the day I think with any profession you have naturopathic doctors across the gamut. You’ve got folks who embrace full nature-cure, and you have folks who are working in hospital settings. I think the beauty of our profession is our diversity. I will stand firmly by that, and I think that we’re in a time right now where people are looking for us versus them, and a lot of, “I’m better than you,” or, “My side is better than your side.” We’re seeing a lot of that energy going on right now in our world. What I will say is that there is no one naturopathic doctor that is better than another naturopathic doctor. You all have your strengths, you all have your beauty, and there’s no one naturopathic school that’s better than another. There’s all strengths, there’s all weaknesses. Especially for patients, there’s a good naturopathic doctor for you. I think that understanding in the ND community that we have this diversity, we have all these different types of practitioners, for all the different types of patients that are out there is a strength.

Razi Berry: I love that. The way standards of care work in conventional medicine, it often doesn’t suit the variables of the individual patients. Naturopathic medicine very much honors the patient, as you said. They’re not pro or against medicine, they’re pro-patient. I think that is one of the beauties of it. That’s what I love about the work I do in publishing the case journal, NDNR, because we can have an issue on men’s health, or women’s health, and everyone is going to be treated in a different way. There’s no two women with breast cancer are going to be, or men with breast cancer are going to be treated the same. No two children presenting with otitis media, an ear infection, are going to be treated the same.

Razi Berry: If you’re watching and you don’t subscribe to NDNR, which you probably do if you’re watching us, I would go there now ndnr.com, because you can just get a wealth of cases that are free right there or you can subscribe to have it sent to you. I also have the link here for, Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? that will explain a lot about what a patient’s journey to naturopathic medicine is like.

Razi Berry: We’ve got all of the links that we talked with Dr. JoAnn Yanez here about: how to find naturopathic specialties, that link is in the comments here. As well as the naturopathic medicine virtual college fair that you have coming up, so you can learn about all the different options to attend naturopathic medical school. Also, the events calendar.

Razi Berry: Do you want to talk about some of the monthly events that you hold?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. One of the services that we offer for folks who are trying to learn about naturopathic medicine is a monthly free event series. We will have online events, because we recognize that we’ve got folks from all over North America, and even Europe who are interested in naturopathic medicine. We host monthly free virtual events.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Our next one is going to be on suicide prevention, and addressing depression and anxiety naturopathically. Next month we’re focusing on type two diabetes. And twice a year we host a naturopathic virtual fair. In November, we’ve got all of our schools, and all the admissions folk, and faculty, and students from every one of the accredited schools will be online and can answer your questions about what it’s like to be an ND, what you need to do to maybe start your journey to become an ND.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Some folks don’t have questions yet. For those, if you’re just still kind of dipping your toe in the water you can just come to the virtual fair and look at the questions other people are asking, and just kind of eavesdrop and see what people are looking into.

Razi Berry: I think that’s a great concept, I love it. It makes it easy for people to sort of get their feet wet, get information about the different naturopathic colleges. I love how they’re all different, just like any school. They’re all the same, they all have the same curriculum, and you become a naturopathic physician once you graduate. But they have different nuances, different sort of personalities. That virtual fair is a great place to start. If you are joining us, we’re about to end our time with Dr. Yanez, but if you are interested in becoming a naturopathic doctor, or if you know someone who might be interested, please like and share this video.

Razi Berry: It is Naturopathic Medicine Week, so I’d love for you to spread the news about this. There is a bunch of information in the comments here. I invite you to check out all those links. The virtual fair, the monthly events, my little gift to you: Is It Time to Fire Your Doctor? Be sure to visit the aanmc.org in the comments to learn all about naturopathic medicine.

Razi Berry: Is there anything you want to say before we say goodbye?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I’m so thankful for the opportunity, and catch us online. We’re happy to help you on your journey.

Razi Berry: Thanks so much. Thanks for everyone who joined us. We had a lot of viewers, lots of reactions and comments. Keep them coming, and we’ll peek back in and answer other questions that you have, but most of those questions are going to be answered at the aanmc.org website.

Razi Berry: Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week!

Razi Berry: Yes. Stay healthy and we’ll see you again soon.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Bye-bye. Thanks.

Razi Berry:Bye.

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