Name, title, and credentials
Jennifer Green, naturopathic doctor, ND
Why did you choose to pursue naturopathic medicine? What were you doing before that?
I became interested in pursuing a medical degree after having an injury in high school. I started going down the traditional route and planned on getting a medical degree, but once I started taking courses in undergrad I realized that I wanted more than what fit the standard medical model. Even though I wanted to be a doctor, I was more interested in working with preventative medicine and utilizing natural therapies. I also worked in a lab at a hospital throughout my undergraduate degree and became interested in learning about the different labs that were run and how to interpret them. This also sparked my interest in naturopathic medicine because I could see the connection between making changes to your health and seeing the results show up in the labs.
Also, before I heard about naturopathic medicine, I worked as a microbiologist for a pharmaceutical company. My yoga instructor was actually the person who first introduced me to naturopathy. When I researched it, I knew that this was what I was looking for.
Why did you choose your naturopathic medical school?
I was born and raised in Illinois and my family has always been a big support for me, so when I was researching schools, I was excited to find out that there was a school right here in the Midwest. I also liked that you had the opportunity to pursue another degree at NUHS.
How did you know it was the right path for you?
I knew this was the right path because getting a degree in naturopathic medicine would still allow me to work as a doctor and get the education that I was looking for, as well as allow me to focus on treating the whole person with utilizing the therapeutic order.
How did you plan for success in your career from the beginning?
The foundations of naturopathic medicine and the therapeutic order were really emphasized during my time as a student and when I had a complex patient or wasn’t sure where to begin with a patient, I always went back to the therapeutic order, which would send me on the right path. I learned that a lot of times starting with the simplest changes can have the biggest impact on a patient; just because a patient is complex doesn’t mean that the treatment needs to be too.
Also, I was part of the third class to graduate from the naturopathic program at NUHS. We were a small group and had a lot of support from each other and from faculty throughout the program, as well as after graduation.
Talk about your career after you graduated ND school.
After graduating from NUHS, I worked in an integrative office. I learned so much from this experience and it helped shape the way I practice today. Being in an integrative office, I was able to work with a variety of providers that I would otherwise probably would not have had the opportunity to work with, as well as learning how to successfully integrate patient care through an interdisciplinary team. For example, I worked closely with a LCPC and saw a lot of behavioral health patients.
I also became involved in a community outreach group, as a way to build my practice. I found that I really enjoyed working with other like-minded professionals to educate the community and spread awareness of wellness. I became the Co-Chair of the Health and Wellness Initiative of Arlington Heights (through the Chamber of Commerce), where we held many educational events for the community, such as talks on a variety of topics, 5K runs, and participated in events in Arlington Heights, IL.
What is your work and your life like now?
After being at an integrative clinic for several years, I started working as a naturopathic clinician at the NUHS Whole Health Center, where I am still working today. While being in private practice and involved with the community, I found that I really enjoy teaching others about how powerful naturopathic medicine is. Working at the NUHS clinic, I am able to combine my love of teaching with naturopathic medicine. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to work with students throughout the course of their clinical training and see them become successful doctors.
Additionally, I am a single parent and being a naturopathic doctor gives me the flexibility to balance my work and home life. I can focus on teaching and providing the best patient care and still be able to go home and spend time with my son.
I am also pursuing a degree in chiropractic medicine and am expecting to graduate in December 2021. I think that naturopathic and chiropractic medicines complement each other and am excited to be utilizing both of them in the future.
Does your practice focus on treatment of a specific health condition(s)? If so, please explain why you chose to focus on it and how naturopathic medicine can make a difference in treating that condition.
Since I work in a student/teaching clinic, I see a variety of health conditions, but my main interests are women’s health, children’s health, and autoimmune disease because naturopathic medicine can have such a positive impact on these populations. For instance, the health we cultivate in childhood can last a lifetime, and you often can see a lot of improvement with minimal changes. I also like working with childrens health because so often you will end up making an impact on the whole family. With autoimmune disease, many times patients have already been to several doctors and tried different courses of treatment, but with naturopathic medicine, I can use different tools to investigate the root cause of the disease and find the missing pieces to the puzzle. Naturopathic medicine supports the whole person and not focusing only on the disease can have a profound effect on a person’s health.
What advice would you give to those considering naturopathic medicine?
We have so many powerful tools and can make so many positive changes with naturopathic medicine because it is so good at working on the whole person and not just the disease. Being passionate about naturopathic medicine and having a clear vision of what you want to do will set you up for success.
Links from Dr. Green