“NDs are the professional voice of every patient who wishes to get well and stay well through a sustainable and comprehensive approach that honors them and their unique story.”
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
An arrhythmia first led Robert Kachko, ND, LAc into the world of natural medicine. Desperate to find answers, he sought the care of a Chinese medicine specialist. The result was a clean bill of health at his cardiology follow up.
His personal health and professional experience as an emergency medical technician, led Dr. Kachko to explore career options in healthcare. Knowing that he wanted to offer patient-centered care, he found his calling in naturopathic medicine.
“Naturopathic medicine has always been the original inspiration for the Integrative and Functional Medicine movements. What sets naturopathic doctors apart, is that the core tenets of our medical philosophy are infused throughout every interaction we have with a patient. Rather than thinking about how to replace medications with otherwise more “natural” substances, we approach each case with an understanding that our primary role as physicians is to work with the body’s complex adaptive capacity for self-healing. As NDs who work in the realm of integrative medicine advocacy, it is essential that we have a seat at every table when it comes to healthcare reform. NDs are the professional voice of every patient who wishes to get well and stay well through a sustainable and comprehensive approach that honors them and their unique story.”
UBSNM as a springboard
Dr. Kachko pursued his education at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine and a master’s in acupuncture. Dr. Kachko was the class president during his first year of school, and the founding president of the University of Bridgeport chapter of Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA). He was a student representative on the House of Delegates for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP).
Since graduation, Dr. Kachko has remained an advocate and leader in the naturopathic profession. He currently serves as the President of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is also a past board member and legislative chair of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicans‘ Legislative Team. Dr. Kachko practices at Inner Source Natural Health and Acupuncture in New York City and is the co-founder and CEO of TribeRx.
“While I see patients, I’ve also spent much of my time since graduation working toward reaching a larger audience. Through advocacy with the AANP, I’m able to work toward ensuring that every American has the option to choose an ND as part of their healthcare team. I’ve also worked in healthcare technology, developing a start-up that aims to resolve the social determinants of health for people living with chronic disease. We help patients get the support and understanding they need, which is very much aligned with the naturopathic medical philosophy. Finally, our knowledge as NDs is highly valued – this has allowed me to advise multiple non-profit and for-profit organizations hoping to bring the naturopathic medical perspective to their own work.”
Finding fulfillment as an ND
“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 that, and those who see NDs as a last resort, because nothing else has worked for them.”
Dr. Kachko is passionate about helping both groups, and is thankful for the tools he has acquired in his education and years of clinical practice to help his patients prevent ailments. He also finds considerable joy when those who come in as a last resort benefit from naturopathic medicine.
“It sets a lightbulb off in them, and that’s really rewarding. The physician-patient relationship is sacred, and we have an opportunity to spend time with people and share in their journey.” Dr. Kachko sees the naturopathic profession’s biggest strengths in “the eclectic, individual nature of how of how NDs practice.”
“The most rewarding part of my time with patients is the fact that I really do get to spend time with patients. First visits are usually 1.5 hours, follow-ups often an hour. Patients come to understand that their healing comes from them, and these thorough visits give them the confidence and understanding they need to take better care of themselves and their families. In spending time and digging deep to understand the root cause of each patient’s suffering, I have the honor of hearing their stories of healing unfold.”
In his free time Dr. Kachko says, “You can usually find me at the park with my dog Maya, exploring Brooklyn with a good audiobook, at the gym, reading or spending time with family and friends.”
Advice for aspiring NDs
Dr. Kachko has never lost sight of why he chose naturopathic medicine – not just to help people, but to become a part of their lives. Through the rigors of school, and the demands of practice, Dr. Kachko believes it’s vital that young NDs and future students never lose sight of their why.
In order to stay rooted to his why, Dr. Kachko stays actively involved, and recommends others do the same. “It wasn’t enough for me to say I want things to change. I encourage current and prospective students to make the changes they want to see happen. Naturopathic Medicine is a profession that will ask a lot of you, but will usually give you so much more in return. I’m grateful and proud to be part of a community of doctors who are working hard to change medicine, one patient visit at a time.”
Pursuing your passion is possible at any age. “I had classmates who had either just started their first career, or were way into their original careers, who took the leap and made the change to a new profession. I think it’s a testament to the strength of naturopathic medicine that people are willing to take this leap and make that change.” Click here to learn more about three professionals who changed careers to naturopathic medicine.
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