“I really love problem solving. Uncovering the mysteries as to why someone is ill and getting to the root problems of people’s health issues is unbelievably exciting for me. I think of myself as a detective.”
Dr. Amy Bader always tells people that she didn’t choose naturopathic medicine, it chose her. “They chuckle a little bit, but it’s true. I feel it’s my calling.” She stumbled upon the field while she was in the process of applying to conventional medical school. “I happened to go to Costco to buy some toilet paper, of all things, and while I was there, I bought a book about alternative medicine,” she recalls.
“When I walked back into my house that day with the toilet paper and the book, the book fell to the ground…opened to the section on naturopathic medicine. I sat on the floor and read that section of the book and immediately knew that was what I was meant to do.”
When she was young, Dr. Bader’s mother was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Her family pursued a wide variety of approaches. Dr. Bader believes this is what led her to have an open mind about medicine.
Finding her calling
Before discovering naturopathic medicine, Dr. Bader was an accountant in San Francisco. “I liked that job, but knew it wasn’t the work I was meant to do for the rest of my life,” she says. So, after a few years of accounting, she went back to school and got a premed degree.
Then, she took that trip to Costco. “The day I bought that alternative medicine book and brought it home, I called the naturopathic medical schools listed in it,” she says. “National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon was the one that answered the phone. I choose to believe it was fate.”
A solid foundation from NUNM
Dr. Bader speaks highly of her medical education from NUNM. “I was trained by phenomenal naturopathic doctors. They taught me the principles of this medicine, and how to get to the root of the problem with patients,” she says. “I gained a deep appreciation for physiology, and the belief that disease is actually the body trying to adapt physiologically to stressors. Find and eliminate the stressors, and disease improves or even disappears.”
After graduation in 2000, she went on to do a family practice residency through NUNM. “I really enjoyed my residency,” she says. “I learned so much that year!”
A diverse career in private practice and entrepreneurship
Once she finished her residency, Dr. Bader went into private practice in Portland, working in several naturopathic and conventional offices. “In 2006, I decided to open a satellite clinic in my hometown of Lodi in Northern California. I have been commuting back-and-forth to Northern California ever since.”
To say Dr. Bader has a busy schedule is an understatement. She travels to Lodi, California once a month to see about 50 patients in the span of a few days. The following week, she sees patients in her office in Vancouver, Washington. The rest of the month, she does phone consultations and house calls in Portland. “I love the way I practice,” she says.
Though her geographic area is broad, she has a specific scope of care. “In my private practice, my focus is treating patients who are experiencing chronic health challenges. I really enjoy working with patients who are truly ready to turn their health around,” she says.
“My main modalities are bio-therapeutic drainage, homeopathy, and nutrition,” she explains. “I do a lot of counseling with my patients. I believe in addressing old trauma, so I ask my patients a lot of questions. Especially about childhood.”
Dr. Bader also owns a company called Real Beauty Food, Inc. with two business partners. Founded in 2014, the company is dedicated to making food and beverages to enhance the nutrition of beauty. They recently launched their first product line, SkinTē. “I suppose I consider myself a bit of an entrepreneur,” she says.
Inspiring the next generation
In addition to her practice and her business, Dr. Bader is also an adjunct clinical faculty member at NUNM. “I absolutely love teaching, and love the balance between teaching and private practice,” she says.
Her passion for naturopathic medicine is something she hopes to pass on to aspiring naturopathic doctors. “I would love to see people drawn to this career who are intelligent, empathetic, tenacious, and bold,” Dr. Bader says. “If someone is looking for a way to truly help, this is it! This medicine makes a huge difference in people’s lives.”