Anthony Pascucci is a fourth-year naturopathic medical student at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine. He shares his experience in changing his career to naturopathic medicine and as an ND student.
Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?
Frustrated with not getting the help he needed after seeing multiple specialists and providers for personal health concerns, Anthony thought there had to be another way. In his quest for a more holistic approach to care, he found naturopathic medicine and ultimately, his calling.
“I decided to go back to the basics – I changed the way I thought about nutrition, exercise, and the mind-body connection. This new routine helped me feel significantly better than I had with the medications I was prescribed. As a result, I had an epiphany. I wanted to go back to school for medicine, but a different type of medicine than I was used to seeing. I wondered if there was a type of doctor who spent more quality time focusing on the whole person, teaching patients how to make changes in their nutrition and lifestyle so that they don’t need to rely on medications. I wondered if there was a type of doctor who made the types of connections that eluded the scattered array of specialists patients often saw, who focus only on one symptom or one aspect of the patient. To my amazement, I discovered a profession and community that I was previously unaware of, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world… that of naturopathic medicine.”
How did you prepare for ND school?
Anthony did his homework before applying to naturopathic medical school. He reached out to local NDs and naturopaths, visited accredited schools, attended health fairs, and read about naturopathic research.
“I got to know a traditional naturopath whose practice was largely an extension of their sacred Native American traditions, practicing natural medicine that had been protected, preserved, and passed down over hundreds of years by generations of healers since before the Europeans arrived on this continent. I also got to know a naturopathic physician who graduated from an accredited medical school. They were different experiences from different tracks in naturopathic medicine, but both were linked by the same principles.
I took it as a very positive and encouraging sign that within months of being accepted into the ND program, Pennsylvania (my home state) became a registered state for naturopathic physicians. Hopefully the step to becoming a licensed state is soon to follow.”
What is your favorite thing about school? What surprised you?
“I never expected all of the memorable and remarkable life experiences, or the chances they provide to connect so profoundly with so many admirable people. UBSNM has an incredible team of teachers and clinical supervisors, who bring such eclectic and impressive medical and life experience to the table. It’s such an honor and pleasure to learn from this group of people. They’re true mentors in medicine, and in life. They inspire and teach me so much. The same is true for the students in the program. I could have never predicted meeting so many amazingly talented and skilled people, and getting the chance to forge such close relationships. You can’t help but become a family with your classmates. Getting our white coats together was a true highlight of my life. Upperclassmen have taken me under their wings and encouraged my development in the clinic.
Additionally, Anthony has found the Bridgeport community to be vibrant and full of opportunities.
Every year we hike to the Leatherman’s Cave, cook food, and make tea from the plants over a fire. We spend the evening playing songs, reading poems, and marveling at the stars and moon as the fire casts our celebratory shadows onto the cave walls.
Another tradition is the Polar Plunge into the Long Island Sound which is a great way to keep the traditions and philosophy of hydrotherapy alive. It is an unbelievable bonding experience to run into the frigid water, while others cheer us on from the beach.
Every year I look forward to the DC Federal Legislative Initiative (FLI) where we meet with other students and colleagues from the other accredited ND to make a positive impact on the future of healthcare in our nation’s capital. The DC FLI has been the best introduction into the larger world of naturopathic medicine.”
How do you maintain a school/life balance?
“Returning to school as an adult has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Balancing school and work while living alone and paying bills has tested my fortitude, and the unwavering drive that made me know this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
Anthony serves as treasurer for his class and the student government, and recently became the student government president, as well as president of the Garden Club. He is a Pathfinder at the Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine, a mentorship program with Dr. Peter D’Adamo. Additionally, he works at a health food and natural supplement store.
What advice do you have for future ND students?
“My advice is deceptively simple: be open, teachable, and trust yourself and the process. The opportunity to practice naturopathic medicine is an honor and privilege worthy of gratitude. Let that gratitude fuel you. Remember why you love naturopathic medicine, and the reason why you pursued it, and never lose sight of that passion.
A career in naturopathic medicine will bring you fulfillment, satisfaction, and purpose. Naturopathic medical school is a transformative experience in every sense of the word. You will face and overcome challenges that will leave you with a deep sense of accomplishment. You can then use those experiences to provide that transformational experience for your patients on their journey to health.”
Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.