“I didn’t want to be one of many clinicians shuffled through the system. I wanted to feel like I was, and am a pioneer in a field that is truly guiding the way of the future.”
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
Dr. Corina Dunlap’s journey to becoming a naturopathic physician has taken her around the world. From her start at Smith College where she studied Medical Anthropology and International Relations to sabbaticals abroad in India, Australia and New Zealand, each step has guided her on her path to naturopathic medicine. Her endeavors as a mountaineer, rock climbing guide, yoga instructor and entrepreneur of an outdoor apparel business, further developed her love of nature, natural medicine, botanical medicine and nutrition.
As an adventurer and world traveler, Dr. Dunlap faced health challenges of her own. She credits naturopathic and ayurvedic medicine for helping her learn to live a more healthy, full life without the intervention of pharmaceuticals. “Through this self-reflective time, I realized that my passion was for naturopathic medicine and evidence-based natural solutions, and that it was what I wanted to do for a career.” Dr. Dunlap believes in the naturopathic philosophy of treating the whole person and focusing on the root problem, not just diagnosis and symptom management of conventional medicine.
NUNM as a springboard
Dr. Dunlap was drawn to National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) for its quality education in the heart of Portland. “I loved all of the community clinics throughout Portland and the surrounding areas because it felt very grassroots and I knew I would get exposed to a diverse demographic.” The non-profit natural medicine research opportunities at Helfgott Research Institute were cutting edge and attractive to a young researcher who was just starting out. Dr. Dunlap was so inspired that she completed a masters in integrative medical research in addition to a doctorate in naturopathic medicine.
After receiving her degrees, Dr. Dunlap completed a two-year women’s health residency with rotations in gynecology, general endocrinology, and reproductive endocrinology. In addition, she also completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship, followed by a research and adjunctive faculty placement at the School of Research & Graduate Studies at Helfgott Research Institute and NUNM. While there, she mentored research students and taught courses such as Gynecology & Infertility, Women’s Health Research, and Medical Anthropology.
“Living the dream” after graduation
From an early age Dr. Dunlap has been driven by her undying passion and commitment to naturopathic medicine. Even as her life has changed and her family has grown, she works hard to maintain a work-life balance.
“I LOVE what I get to do every day. It’s a dream job! It’s so creative and multi-faceted.” Dr. Dunlap operates a private practice in Portland, ME. She offers one-on-one virtual education consultations in an effort to make resources and information available to women everywhere. Her research focuses on preconception and infertility in men and women, HPV, cervical dysplasia, and interstitial cystitis. Dr. Dunlap is published in medical journals such as Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Mental Health & Prevention, Naturopathic Doctor News and Review, and Townsend Letter. She is also often asked to speak to medically trained audiences on topics such as women’s health, preconception, and fertility. In addition, she is a medical advisor and research consultant to LOLA, the first lifelong brand for women, and Real Beauty Food, a natural food and beverage skincare company.
Finding fulfillment as an ND
“It is the most satisfying thing to be able to offer hope and healthy outcomes for people by getting to the root cause of their concerns and helping to create fulfilling, lasting change. The medicine and the philosophy together are powerful beyond measure.”
Every day Dr. Dunlap practices with philosophy that aligns with her values for healing and health: the healing power of nature; first, do no harm; doctor as teacher; treat the whole person; focus on prevention; and treat the root cause!
“My diagnostic skills compare to any MD, and now I have the most incredibly expansive toolbox of treatment modalities, including pharmaceuticals when I have to use them often as a last resort.”
Advice for aspiring NDs
Dr. Dunlap encourages future ND students to follow their passion, work hard and do the legwork to set up success. “Your journey to becoming an ND starts with an interest – pursue that interest by interviewing or shadowing practicing naturopathic doctors, visit the accredited schools and ask questions. Immerse yourself in opportunities to grow as a business professional. Do not think of naturopathic medicine as an easier approach to healthcare, if anything, studying a larger variety of treatment modalities while still trained in primary care makes it harder at times. Be prepared to stand up for the challenge and reap the benefits of a lifetime of learning.”
Learn more about Dr. Dunlap