Dr. Jacqueline Yang – SCNM

“When I learned of naturopathic medicine, a light bulb turned on and there was no question on what I wanted to do.  The principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine held true to my heart.  This is how I wanted to help people.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

As a pre-med student, majoring in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry, Jacqueline Yang, ND, CAc questioned her fit with allopathic medicine.

“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but when I was college, I started to ask myself what kind of doctor do I really want to be? How do I want to help people?  I see my work as my purpose, so these questions hit me hard.” With that, she began researching other approaches to care.

“When I learned of naturopathic medicine, a light bulb turned on and there was no question on what I wanted to do.  The principles and philosophy of naturopathic medicine held true to my heart.  This is how I wanted to help people.”

SCNM as a springboard

Born and raised in the Northeast, Dr. Yang was eager to explore more of the country.  “I was searching for experiences that would challenge me and expose me to new things.” Dr. Yang chose to pursue her naturopathic medical degree at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM).

“I had the best four years of my life at SCNM.  Not only did I learn about the human body and the medicine, but I was able to create strong relationships that still hold to this day. There was a strong sense of community with the students and faculty.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

Following graduation, Dr. Yang began working with another naturopathic doctor. Two years later she took over the practice. “I am the proud owner of New England Integrative Medicine, practicing in Salem, NH and Boston, MA.  I have a great staff and work with two other great naturopathic doctors.”

Dr. Yang gives back to the community by providing educational health and wellness presentations. She also served on the New Hampshire Board of Naturopathic Examiners for five years.

“My journey has not been easy, but I have no regrets.  I am so grateful to be a naturopathic doctor. What I like most is that I am able to provide options for patients. The best thing ever is the feeling I get when a patient tells me I’ve turned their life around and have given back hope. I also have a passion for the therapies that we use, such as botanical medicine, acupuncture, and homeopathy.”

In her personal time, Dr. Yang enjoys spending time with friends and family, exercising, and cooking.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Yang advises prospective students to spend time exploring their interest in the field of naturopathic medicine. “Visit the schools and reach out to a variety of naturopathic doctors – especially those who practice in the state you want to work in.” The scope of practice varies by state so it is important that you are aware of what you are able to offer. “Becoming a patient is another great way to experience the medicine.” Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.

“In the beginning, I made sure to list out the things that are important to me.  Following that list helped direct me on what I needed to do to be successful and happy.  Creating a financial plan each year is also important for success.  Writing down goals, personal and business, will help keep you focused in all areas of your life.”

Dr. Yang is pictured to the right with a prospective student at HPW Live! in Boston – the kick-off to Health Professions Week – a virtual series of events held every fall for prospective students to explore career options in the health professions

Learn more about Dr. Yang


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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 08/07/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss how skin issues may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Uncovering the root cause of your skin issues is just one of the many things naturopathic doctors excel in.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Natural approaches to healthy skin
  • Skin conditions as a symptom of an underlying health problem
  • Uncovering the root cause of skin conditions
  • Relationship between the gut and skin
  • Empowering people to be active participants in their health
  • Naturopathic medicine’s holistic approach to health care
  • And more…

Erin Brinker:  Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker …

Todd Brinker: … and I’m Todd Brinker …

Erin Brinker: … and we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. Did I say that already? I probably did.

Erin Brinker: Dr. JoAnn Yanez is joining us. She is the Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, her career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care and public health. As AANMC Executive Director, she oversees research, advocacy efforts, and the joint academic endeavors of the accredited colleges of naturopathic medicine. She joins us once a month to talk about all things health and wellness and overall just feeling good. Dr. JoAnn Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning, Erin and Todd. How are you both?

Erin Brinker: Doing great. How are you?

Todd Brinker: Really good.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Really well. Thank you for having me on!

Erin Brinker:  Surviving this heat? Oh, of course. Surviving the heat?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Meh.

Erin Brinker: Everywhere you live has a time of year where it’s just not fun, and this is ours. And it’s not nine months of snow, so I really can’t complain, but it’s pretty darn hot outside.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. Having lived through negative 40-degree South Dakota winters.

Erin Brinker: Oh, wow.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. Every place its thing.

Erin Brinker: Every place has it today.

Todd Brinker: Yeah. You learn to dress for it or stay inside.

Erin Brinker: So, what are we talking about today?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, we’re talking about healthy skin naturally.

Erin Brinker: Oh, well that’s important.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is important. And in the summertime, people are thinking about their skin. They’re showing more. They’re out, they’re getting sunburns. And so we’re talking about how to keep your skin healthy naturally.

One of the things that sometimes comes up for people who have skin issues is because it’s hot out. You’re wanting to dress more coolly and show more skin, but we don’t think about people with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, different types of dermatitis that may feel self-conscious of their skin and showing skin when they have skin conditions going on and even acne. And so that’s one of the things this time of year that sometimes people aren’t quite cognizant of is that connection between the mental, emotional component to having “healthy looking skin.”

Erin Brinker: Well, there are autoimmune diseases and things that can affect the skin. Not drinking enough water can affect the skin. Diet can affect the skin.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely.

Erin Brinker: What is a person to do to keep themselves, keep their skin looking healthy?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, here’s the thing. There is such a connection between our brain and our skin, and our gut and our skin. And so, when you see a naturopathic doctor for skin issues, whatever they are, like you said, skin issues can manifest from a number of different illnesses. And so, rather than treating a skin issue as a symptom to be suppressed … “Okay, let’s just put something on this and make it go away.” A naturopathic doctor takes a different approach. We’re going to say, “Okay, you’ve got something going on your skin, but what is this a deeper symptom of? Is this a food intolerance or a food allergy? Is this how stress or anxiety is manifesting in your body?” Like you said, “Is this a sign of a thyroid disorder or something endocrine related? What is the root of this issue? Let’s find that deal with that so that the skin issue will be gone forever.”

The last time I was on, I talked a little bit about my own personal skin flares and soy, and a friend of mine, who we ultimately found out his was related to nuts.

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: He was grabbing a handful of mixed nuts every day and eating that as a snack, and lo and behold, that was his main trigger.

I think for people finding that underlying cause to whatever is manifesting is really the ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine. And so, that’s where we focus. And so we may utilize things like diet diaries and elimination rotation diets, but we also may throw into the mix anti-inflammatory diets or anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements. Things like fish oil and turmeric all can be used to help manage skin condition as can topical preparations of botanical medicine, different supplements and so on. So, there’s a lot to be said for many different types of approaches that support the body in healing the skin.

Erin Brinker: Wow. I’m just thinking about the guy thinking he’s being healthy by having nuts, a handful and nuts as a satisfying afternoon snack and found out that, no, no, it’s actually harming him. But your skin then is the canary in the coal mine, right? I mean it tells you when something’s wrong.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Your skin really is. And there is up to 80%, it’s estimated, of our immune system is actually housed in our gut. And so, if you’re having an immune response, autoimmune or an allergy response or a sensitivity response, that gut is going to be one of the first lines for that.

But the thing is, and this is one of the really cool things that I learned in naturopathic medical school was the embryological. So when we’re embryos and we’re developing, the gut and the skin actually develop from the same embryological membrane. And so, there is a very connected relationship between our gut and our skin, and how things are manifesting in the gut can ultimately surface on the skin. And so, it’s really fascinating, and one of those little tidbits that got pointed out and in the slew of “ology” classes that made my first year of med school.

But I do want to say though that I think it is fascinating, the relationship, and that’s one of the key pieces that NDs take home is there is a connection between the gut and the skin, the brain and the skin. Our emotions. And it’s not just one system, it’s all connected. And that’s why the holistic approach that we take to healthcare really means a lot to patients, and often uncovers things that they may not have realized otherwise.

Erin Brinker: So, where do you start out? And I’m thinking of people who deal with things like cystic acne or who maybe just have a cyst that keeps coming back, or whatever psoriasis, or any other skin disorder. Where do you start in trying to uncover the cause?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. So, you start with a really good history. So often people are really smart. They know what’s wrong with them. They may just not have the medical language to assess that and share. But NDs, we’ll take our first office visit anywhere between one to two hours, and so we start with a really thorough history that covers everything from diet and stress and sleep and bowel habits and energy and sexual drive and all of that. And we roll that all into a very comprehensive history. There may be written intakes and written forms that you may be taking for your doctor as well. And then there’s a physical exam, and possibly lab tests, and maybe even referrals to specialists if needed. And all of that gets rolled into finding a diagnosis, finding the root cause, and starting to work with the patient on where that root is and what they’re able to do.

And so, one of the things NDs do is we meet patients where they are, and you have to know your patient. You have to spend time with them to really understand where that person is and what therapies they’re going to the most likely to stick. If you tell a lifelong vegan, “Hey, you’ve got to eat meat,” and just send them out the door, that’s probably not going to work so well. But if you talk to lifelong Vegan and say, “Hey, what do you think about this? Because what I’m seeing here is something that could possibly be helped by doing X,” and you engage them in the process and they may say, “Well, I’d be willing to try that,” or “I’m really not willing to try that. Give me something different.”

And so, you have to meet people where they’re at. We can’t make people heal. They have to heal themselves. And so, it’s really important that the patient be a partner in that healing, and be involved in the process. And it isn’t just this paternalistic system of “I’m going to tell you what to do. I know what’s right. You go do it.”

Erin Brinker: Right. Because we all know that doesn’t work, just telling people “Do it this way,” because if that were true, if it did work, we would have no Type II diabetics in the country.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We’d have no smokers.

Erin Brinker: Right, right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We’d have no alcoholics.

Todd Brinker: “Just stop.” Sure.

Erin Brinker: Sure. That’ll happen.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Stop, yes. Just stop.

You bring up a really important point, and I talked earlier about the mental emotional component, and there is so much there that is mental, emotional. If you’re not dealing with that … Yesterday, we had a webinar on food as medicine, and we had almost 900 people sign up for it. And it was really fascinating to see how many people are really, truly interested in understanding that connection between what we eat and how we feel. Next month, we’re going to have a webinar on regenerative medicine and pain, natural approaches to pain.

But ultimately, I think people are really interested in knowing how they can take part in their healthcare, and take responsibility, and understand that that relationship. But when you get to the root cause, sometimes you’re going to uncover trauma. Sometimes you’re going to uncover deep-seated depression and anxiety and things that require work. And NDs are capable of doing that work or referring to folks who can do that work if it’s out of their scope.

But I think that that is so important in recognizing that we’re whole people. The head isn’t disconnected from the body. I know our system is very segmented. We’ve got, you know, dermatologists and gastroenterologists and neurologists, and it’s all important to have people who have very hyper-focused on an area, but we can’t forget the whole person in doing so. I think that’s where naturopathic medicine excels.

Erin Brinker: Indeed. So how do people get more information about the Association for Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, and more about you?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, sure. Well, we are on the internet, all over Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and on the web at AANMC.org. And next week, we’ll be at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Annual Conference talking to folks about residencies. And how to become a residency sponsor or be a resident yourself. And so we’re all over the place, and we’re excited to be promoting this wonderful field of naturopathic medicine.

Thank you both for having me on.

Erin Brinker: Thank you.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And, Todd, welcome to the show.

Erin Brinker: Well, it is always, always a treat to have you with us, and we look forward to next month.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You Bet. Thanks so much folks.

Erin Brinker: Thank you.

Todd Brinker: Nice talking. Bye-bye.

Erin Brinker: So, with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker …

Todd Brinker: … and I’m Todd Brinker …

Erin Brinker: … And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

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Diet Mayhem – How a Naturopathic Doctor Can Help You Understand Your Nutritional Needs

Guest post by Fraser Smith, MATD, ND

It seems that every week brings another cascade of headlines about nutrition. One newsfeed claims “researchers have found that eggs will hurt your heart,” another proclaims “fish oil is useless,” and a newspaper states that “four cups of coffee a day will help your heart.”

At the same time, the bookshelves, and the “readers also liked” spread at Amazon is crowded with plans that vie for the title of the perfect diet for health. Mediterranean diets have very good evidence, although the role of fish and red wine are not uniformly agreed upon. The Nordic diet has sailed down from Scandinavia to hearten those who like root vegetables and hearty stews. The health benefits of a plant based diet are nigh indisputable but many people balk at the thought of becoming 100% vegan. What about those baby back ribs after all?

Into this ferment of science, pseudoscience, hype, rumor and traditional truths, comes an average North American. Wanting to stay healthy, feel better, outrun a heritable risk factor, or recover from illness, they earnestly want to choose the right diet. It should be fun and enjoyable to eat. Their family and friends should be able to share it with them. It should be affordable. They should be able to prepare it. And perhaps, the dogmatic nature of how some health authors present their advice, while enticing for those seeking clear direction, is a total turnoff for others who want a balanced approach.

This is where a naturopathic doctor can be an incredible guide. NDs know the biochemistry and physiology of the human body. They study various diet plans and program comparatively, that is, they look at the strengths and weaknesses of each. NDs have the education to evaluate evidence and how deep that evidence runs, yet, in the best spirit of evidence based medicine, can include in that evidence studies, analysis of groups of clinical trials,  clinical experience, expert opinion and reasoning based on biology. Best of all, an ND is trained to look at each patient as an individual. They have a particular history starting from conception. They had a certain microbiome (the bacteria living in the body, especially the gut) in their family home and that has had many influences. Their genes, while mostly shared with other human beings, do have distinct nuances. The impact of their diet and environment on those genes is divergent from others. And each patient has their own story, their own narrative, and of course medical history.

An ND can work with a patient to create a plan that is right for them, at the present time. They can also look at clinical and laboratory evidence to see if the intended benefits have showed up.

In many countries and cultures, people do not obsess over diet to the extent that North Americans and other developed nations do. They eat a traditional diet, high in plants, with naturally fermented foods (think yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.) and usually eat together. But these are different times. We have successive generations of people who have grown up eating a synthetic diet. The toxin burden in our world is higher than ever. And, we wish to, as the great scientist Linus Pauling would put it, “Live long and feel better.”

About the Author

Fraser Smith, MATD, ND is the chief academic officer for the ND program serving as Assistant Dean of Naturopathic Medicine at the National University of Health Sciences’ (NUHS) College of Professionals Studies. He is a Professor and author of the textbook, Introduction to Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Smith is also the author of three additional books for the public, Keep Your Brain Young; The pH Balance Health & Diet Guide for GERD, IBS and IBD; and The Complete Brain Exercise Book. He is an editorial board member of the Natural Medicine Journal, and teaches Botanical Medicine, Pharmacology and Naturopathic History, Philosophy and Principles at NUHS. Dr. Smith is licensed to practice as a naturopathic physician in Vermont. He is past president (2008 – 2013) of the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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Dr. Cynthia Anderson- UBSNM

“I love teaching what I believe in. I love the enthusiasm of my students for this medicine and their belief in it. Basically, I love my students.”

For Cynthia L. Anderson, ND, CNM, teaching has truly been a life’s calling that has taken her around the world. She shares her passion in naturopathic medicine by educating the future generation of NDs at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine – her alma mater.

Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?

“I chose naturopathic medicine because I wanted to learn how to understand and treat the underlying causes of disease rather than use a Band-Aid or mechanistic approach. Working in the allopathic field for many years, I came to realize there was a more holistic way to help others. My father was an honoree naturopathic doctor, curing his gout with black cherry juice, his hypertension with exercise and beet juice. He was my champion in becoming a naturopathic doctor.”

Furthermore, Dr. Anderson experienced the healing power of nature while fighting cellulitis. She was amazed to see tea tree heal her infection within a few days without the side effects that she may have endured through the use of prescribed antibiotics.

What can students learn from you?

Dr. Anderson teaches naturopathic OB/gynecology, gynecology lab, medical ethics, physical examination lab full-time. She also supervises clinic shifts including a women’s healthcare shift. Her career experience is not only inspirational, but also educational.

“My hope is that students incorporate my abiding and deep love for naturopathic medicine and it’s principles into their practice. I intersperse life stories of various work experiences into my classes.”

Dr. Anderson worked as a midwife and as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Midwifery school where she led residents through the birthing process. She supervised and volunteered as a midwife in St. Lucia, the West Indies, and Thailand. In Cambodia, she spearheaded the training program for Khmer midwifes.

“On my clinic shifts, I emphasize working holistically with mind, body and spirit, adhering to naturopathic medicine principles. I impress on my students that the four-year program is only the beginning of a life-long journey in learning naturopathic medicine and the art of helping others.”

Dr. Anderson is continuously learning and incorporating her education into her work. She is certified in Wilson Temperature Syndrome and trained in holistic counseling.

“I am continually grateful to all of my teachers, many whom I work with at UBSNM.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“When naturopathic principles are combined with the natural ability of our bodies and minds to heal, it’s so powerful. As a midwife and life-long feminist I am passionate in educating women about their bodies and providing them with the guidance to stay healthy throughout life. Utilizing naturopathic medicine alongside my midwifery skills has enabled me to help women heal more effectively and profoundly than I could have ever imagined.”

Dr. Anderson has presented at the American College of Nurse Midwifery (ACNM) annual convention on natural options for menopause, and more recently on non-surgical options for urinary incontinence related to pelvic floor prolapse.

“Sharing naturopathic medicine with midwives and a broader population is one of my missions as a naturopathic doctor.”

As a part of increasing awareness of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Anderson hosted a radio show Your Health is Your Wealth where she featured many prominent naturopathic doctors.

“Dr. Ben Lynch was a guest and discussed the MTHFR gene mutation and its relationship to miscarriage. One of my listeners emailed me many months later to thank me, as after hearing the show she was tested for the mutation, treated and finally had a healthy baby.”

“Another story is in regards to Dr. Dennis Godby and his sons Isaiah and Jeremiah who literally ran from California to the East Coast with the goal of bringing the message about naturopathic medicine to the general population.” The brothers joined the podcast weekly to share updates on their journey and advocacy efforts.”

Dr. Anderson has a private practice called Sabita Holistic Health located in Southport, CT where she offers holistic, individualized care.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Anderson advises prospective students to explore their interest in naturopathic medicine. Shadowing or interviewing a naturopathic doctor is a great way to gain insight and network. If you decide naturopathic medicine is for you – jump in whole-heartedly, be prepared to work hard, and make your education a priority. Finally, “remember during the struggle of school what an honor it is to be a student of this medicine.”

Learn more about Dr. Anderson


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Food as Medicine

Food as Medicine

Want to learn how to find health and healing in your kitchen? Join the AANMC and Dr. Aaron Wong for a free informative webinar to learn how your food choices can nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Good nutrition is core to overall health and fundamental to the naturopathic approach to wellness and disease management.

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