Setting Your Roots as an ND: Tips for Career Success

What’s your next step after graduation? Join the AANMC, Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel – director of medical and scientific affairs for a branded nutritional ingredient marketing firm, Dr. Jason Marr – chair of professional development at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, and Tafflyn Williams-Thomas – director of career services at National University of Natural Medicine – for an informative webinar on how to set your roots as an ND.

Here’s what you will learn:
– The importance of mentorship and networking in your career plan
– Recommendations for graduation strategy
– Review of different business strategies (insurance vs. cash, clinical vs. non-clinical practice)
– Tips for success
– How to foster work-life balance

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

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To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.

About the Presenters

Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel is a best-selling author, international speaker, and the director of medical and scientific affairs for a branded nutritional ingredients marketing firm. She has traveled the world developing strong science, safety and education platforms for patented, natural ingredients. Dr. Shavon maintains a niche client-base in New Jersey, providing personalized wellness care to women struggling with hormonal and metabolic concerns in general, and infertility in particular. To extend her reach, Dr. Shavon has initiated the build-out of proprietary online and on-demand courses that empower people through education and ‘sustainable self-care’ practices. Before entering the business sector, she taught university-level health-science and wellness courses for nearly six years. Dr. Shavon’s professional and personal passions are fueled by her Christian faith and loving relationships.

Tafflyn Williams-Thomas is the director of career services at National University of Natural Medicine. She has over 20 years experience in career and workforce development, and higher education. Her accomplishments include providing leadership to the Portland Design Festivals and Mayor Katz’ Creative Economy Initiative. Ms. Williams-Thomas was part of a Spirit of Portland award-winning team and won a North Star Award for 95.3% placement assistance for college graduates. Her placement background includes working with homeless adults, cognitively disabled individuals, and youth. Ms. Williams-Thomas has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Administration – Healthcare Management from Marylhurst University. She enjoys working with naturopathic doctors and holds the strong belief that everyone should have diverse healthcare options.

Dr. Jason Marr is founder and director of Evoke Integrative Medicine in Vancouver, Canada, Chair of the Professional Development curriculum at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, and a business coaching consultant for naturopathic doctors and clinic startups. A graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Marr’s experience has included medical consultancy for suppliers and political involvement at the student level.

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*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

Dr. Jessalyn Shamess – BINM

Jessalyn Shamess, ND, BSc, BHK shares her path to naturopathic medicine as a recent graduate of the naturopathic medical program at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM).

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“Before I started naturopathic medical school at BINM, I was working in public health research. I loved the field, but really missed the person-to-person interaction and desired to return to clinical work. I had a deep interest in chronic disease management and felt that naturopathic medicine was well suited in that area. As a perpetually inquisitive individual, I loved the fact that naturopathic medicine figured out why a person was not well, not just what to do for them.

I knew naturopathic medicine was the right path for me for many reasons. I’ve always loved nutrition and biochemistry, and I found naturopathic medicine to be strong in those areas. The principles of holism and the idea of the intrinsic ability of the body to heal also really connected with my personal philosophy on health. Ultimately, working with patients was what really showed me that naturopathic medicine was the right profession for me. I really enjoyed what I could offer my patients, whether that was simply listening or being directly a part of their healing process.”

BINM as a springboard

“I was attracted to BINM for the fact that their students routinely score as one of the highest across all of the accredited schools in board examinations. I also saw the benefits of the small class sizes.

It is impossible to put into words all that I gained while I was at BINM. Aside from the obvious clinical and medical skills, I appreciated that teachers and professors did not just stick to teaching content, but also taught how to expend thinking skills to be better at approaching clinical problems. From a self-development side, I found that the counseling program was also top-notch and encouraged students to continue to develop as a person aside from the development of clinical skills. These skills will continue to help me in my career. BINM really challenged me, but also provided the support, skills, and encouragement to face those challenges.

As a student, Dr. Shamess served as Chapter president of the Boucher Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA). “I found NMSA to be an extremely positive experience, and learned a great deal about the profession. I was able to connect with so many different types of NDs which really helped me gain a greater perspective on the realm of career possibilities. Being surrounded by so many bright young leaders further ignited my passion and gave me even more tools to reach my goals and dreams as an ND.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Take time to observe and speak to naturopathic physicians! This is a great way to learn about the profession. Even better, go see an ND yourself to get the best idea of what it is like to experience naturopathic holistic care. If you are passionate about health and wanting to give a lot to your patients, this is a great profession to be in.”

Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada, or read other naturopathic doctor success stories.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. Tasneem Pirani-Sheriff – BINM

Tasneem Pirani-Sheriff, MSc, ND is core academic faculty and Coordinator of Clinical Sciences at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine. She shares her path to naturopathic medicine, passion for teaching future NDs, and advice for prospective students.

Why did you choose to become a naturopathic doctor?

“I have always been fascinated by the human body and an avid scientific learner, so the field of medicine attracted me from the beginning. However, until late in my Masters studies, I had no idea that naturopathic medicine even existed! When a friend enlightened me on the philosophies and principles of naturopathic medicine for the first time, I knew immediately that being a naturopathic doctor was what I was meant to do (and with full confidence, despite having yet applied to any naturopathic schools, cancelled my MCAT registration that very day). I chose naturopathic medicine because I resonated with the spectrum of care used to treat patients: a focus on prevention of disease (most importantly), followed by using the most natural and least invasive methods for less intense conditions, and, intense treatment for more threatening situations. Of course, the wide scope of care to allow for best patient care made most sense to me. In addition, being of Indian decent and having emigrated from East Africa, I grew up using many medicinal herbs not knowing their true value or their mechanism of action in the body. I was intrigued to learn more about medicinal plants and understand the use of traditional medicines – naturopathic medicine was the perfect avenue.”

What can students learn from you?

Dr. Pirani-Sheriff teaches courses in the Clinical Diagnosis department and in the Biomedicine Department as well as co-instructs a Diagnostic Labs & Imaging Course.

“I strive to actively engage students and facilitate their learning by using teaching methods that foster their critical thinking skills. My goal is to always emphasize understanding, rather than memorization so that even when they are in practice several years from now, they’ll have the tools to effectively and efficiently treat their patients. Though I hold both myself and my students to a high standard, I also remind my students that mistakes and some failures will inevitably happen. Being a student allows for this time of trial and error; it’s how they deal with these situations and what they learn from them that truly matters.

When it comes to learning, being curious and open-minded are critically important characteristics to have, not only as a physician, but also as a scientist and researcher. It excites me to engage in thoughtful discussion with my students, as it stimulates ideas and, often, areas for innovation. Not only does it bring me joy to contribute to the profession by educating and igniting passion in the doctors of the future, but being a teacher also keeps me on my toes and at my best in practice and when treating patients. I love learning from my students, as much as I love teaching them.”

What aspects of naturopathic medicine are you passionate about?

“I have an insatiable hunger for learning, a passion to empower my patients on how to find optimal health, and a powerful drive to teach the best naturopathic doctors of the future. I love being part of a diverse and passionate community of naturopathic colleagues who are not only devoted to helping guide their patients, but also bettering this world as a whole.”

Aside from teaching, Dr. Pirani-Sheriff operates a private practice where she occasionally allows fourth-year naturopathic medical students preceptorship opportunities.

“I enjoy the balance between teaching and practice. Teaching keeps me up-to date and fresh on the core foundations and knowledge of medicine, and allows me to provide the best patient care, while practice allows me to put into practice what I teach and share cases and examples with my students to help facilitate their learning. I believe I have the best of both worlds.”

What advice do you have for prospective ND students?

“Being open-minded, curious and ready and willing to learn are imperative qualities, particularly for an ND student. A strong ND student also embodies compassion, gratitude, strength, adaptability, and professionalism. As part of the admissions team, I look for students with a strong academic record, a passion for the field, experience with naturopathic medicine, and for those who have taken the time to reflect on their future endeavors.

Ask questions, reflect, and then ask more questions. The best piece of advice I would give to prospective naturopathic students, and really anyone looking to find the field that would serve them most, is to talk to those in the field and experience naturopathic medicine for themselves. Ask NDs about their likes and their dislikes. Ask what they would do differently if they were to start their career over again. Check out the schools and speak with current students. The more diverse and thorough the inquiry, the better prepared a prospective student will be to make an informed decision. If after this, they feel willing and ready for the journey ahead, I’m sure they won’t regret it – I know I don’t. Naturopathic medicine is an amazing field.”

Learn more about Dr. Tasneem Pirani-Sheriff


Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Tanelle Westgard – BINM ND Student

Tanelle Westgard is a third-year naturopathic medical student at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM). She shares her experience both in starting her journey into a career in naturopathic medicine, and as an ND student. Tanelle aspires to empower her patients through education and healing.

Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?

“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that understood the importance of naturopathic
medicine. I had been to many different NDs that were able to help me and my family, and
always appreciated their alternative approaches. These experiences helped me realize that
naturopathic medicine was exactly the type of medicine that I wanted to go into – holistic, individualized, proactive, preventative, and integrative.”

How did you prepare for ND school?

“I worked hard and remained focused in order to achieve top grades. I always took a full schedule, sometimes more, to ensure I had completed all of the prerequisites. Outside of school, I immersed myself in a variety of extracurriculars such as volunteering for non-profit organizations, in hospitals, senior homes, and coaching special Olympics teams. These experiences provided me with growth which ultimately led me to Boucher.”

“My top priority for selecting a school was based on the community and culture. Boucher is a very small school with a unique community feel among students, professors, doctors, and staff. This extends to the naturopathic community within British Columbia as well. BC is my home and I could not think of a better place to learn and practice naturopathic medicine.”

What is your favorite thing about school? What surprised you?

“My classmates have become family; we have a bond that will last a lifetime. The professors and supervisors’ passion remind us of why we are working so hard every day.

As a class, we often reflect on how far we have come in the last few years. As new students, we thought we knew what we were in for. We were right in some ways, and wrong in others. The amount of information we have managed to learn, and knowledge we have gained is remarkable… but it is so much more than that.

What I didn’t expect were the non-academic lessons. Becoming a naturopathic doctor isn’t just a career, it is a way of being. Throughout the program we grow as students and as people. We learn determination, resiliency, adversity, empathy, courage, compassion, patience, and so much more. We have learned more about ourselves than we probably ever knew we could, and are just getting started!”

How do you maintain a school/life balance?

“During my first year at Boucher, a group of fourth-year students spoke to our class. One of the quotes really stuck with me: ‘Boucher isn’t your whole life, it’s just a part of it.’

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance, Tanelle immersed herself in opportunities to build relationships in the Boucher community. While serving as an academic curriculum representative and as Co-President of the Boucher Naturopathic Students Association (BNSA), she established her connections with fellow students and staff and helped maintain community.

Boucher naturopathic medical students practicing yoga together.

Currently, Tanelle is a student representative for a supplement company and works at Rize Fitness with her mentor and BINM alumna Dr. Aubrey Shannon.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue to learn from Dr. Shannon on a weekly basis. I hope to one day do the same for a future student.”

What advice do you have for prospective ND students?

“Entering the program to become a naturopathic doctor was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Although challenging, it is a profession with so much potential.” Tanelle encourages prospective students to work hard and persevere through the challenges. Look for ways to keep yourself motivated by getting involved in extracurricular activities, volunteering, continuously learning, and finding a solid mentor.

“School can get busy, life can get even busier, but it is important to make time for the people who love and support you, and the things that make you happy.”

Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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2019 Year in Review

A Year of Academics, Scholarship and Community Outreach

Each and every year, the field of naturopathic medical education advances significantly. We are proud to recap the advances our seven accredited naturopathic medical schools made in academics, scholarship and community outreach during 2019. Looking ahead, there is a lot to be excited for as well!

Click the tabs above to read messages from each of the schools.

A Year of Inclusion and Equity

Bastyr University
Campuses in San Diego, California & Seattle, Washington

As Bastyr University concludes its 41st year, we reflect on some of the milestones and achievements that have furthered our mission to create a more healthful world for all:

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training. Bastyr welcomed Dr. Kortet Mensah as the inaugural Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Starting in fall quarter of 2019, all faculty, staff and students at the Kenmore campus participated in DEI trainings, which included community-based conversations about levels of oppression, factors that contribute to and derail oppression, and strategies to advance inclusive diversity and equity at Bastyr and beyond. DEI training at Bastyr University California will begin in winter quarter of 2020.

Health Equity Speaker Series. The Center for Social Justice and Diversity also launched a Health Equity Speaker Series this fall, with its first topic titled “What is Health? The Need for Health Equity.” Students who helped facilitate this event are a part of the Center’s Student Leadership Certificate Program, designed to support students in developing skills in the areas of professional leadership, social justice, and cultural humility. The one-year program complements existing degree programs through its focus on practical and engaged leadership skills

Support for Susan G. Komen. On November 3, the Bastyr University California Sports Medicine Club provided services in the survivor tent at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Students practiced physical medicine modalities such as light massage and stretching, taping, icing, trigger point therapy and cupping. In addition, ND students and residents provided health screenings in the main event area for the 9,000 participants. Students enjoyed giving back to the local community and educating participants about Bastyr University Clinic’s integrative oncology services.

2019 marked 100 years of licensure in the United States — a milestone achieved through the tireless efforts of many individuals. Our 141 newest ND graduates join this great community and look forward to bringing more innovations in naturopathic medicine into the new decade!

To learn more about Bastyr, click here.

A Year of Commitment and Excellence

Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Boucher Institute would like to once again congratulate its students for outperforming the average NPLEX results by a healthy margin. We credit the ability and commitment of our faculty that continue to be second to none in terms of preparing our students to become excellent, compassionate doctors.  BINM would also like to congratulate the school’s team of students who once again, came first at the NMSA cup competition in Portland, OR last August.

Our academic team will be expanding in order to support the school’s growth and new programs. Additionally, we have invested in developing new and exciting fundraising sources to benefit students and ensure that our tuition costs remain as steady as possible over the longer term.

New programs are being built to ensure continued graduate success and employment opportunities for BINM graduates. Our core program will continue to teach our students the benefits of practicing collaborative medicine, and we are in process of creating relationships with other higher education institutions to broaden student opportunities in areas like research and recruitment. Boucher graduates are grounded in the roots of the naturopathic medicine and its supporting science, because it represents the soundest form of sustainable medicine. We look forward to what will be an exciting 2020.

To learn more about BINM, click here.

A Year of Research and Innovation

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

For CCNM, 2019 can be characterized by the terrific strides the College has made in research and innovation. Our efforts this year focused on a few key areas.

The microbiome. More than just a buzzword, the microbiome plays a significant role in maintaining our health and preventing disease. CCNM embarked in a landmark study to explore the interplay between our environment and the microbiome in mothers and newborns; particularly, how exposure to pharmaceutical drugs and environmental toxins affect health outcomes during pregnancy.

Lab testing. CCNM launched a high-quality, evidence-informed webinar series in September to examine the value of laboratory testing in clinical practice, and support NDs and other health-care practitioners in diagnostic decision-making. The first two webinars are on the topics of hematology, kidney and urinalysis.

Student scholarship. Now in its second year, the Student Innovation Fund is a grant competition that nurtures student-led research at CCNM. This year’s winners are currently assessing the impact of naturopathic care being provided to patients with fibromyalgia at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, CCNM’s academic medical centre.

It’s no surprise that CCNM is considered a hub of naturopathic research. We look forward to even more discovery in 2020!

To learn more about CCNM, click here.

A Year of New Opportunities

National University of Health Sciences
Chicago, Illinois

National University of Health Sciences continues to expand its Clinical Clerkship program for naturopathic medicine students. Throughout 2019, NUHS added three new clinical opportunities. These internships at the Aurora Clinic, Salvation Army Clinic in Chicago and the Center for Integral Health in Lombard have unique patient populations that can help students prepare for various types of practice and provide hands-on, real-world experience for our student clinicians. They also have the added benefit of being located in the Chicago area near campus.

As part of a homeopathic rotation at the Center for Integral Health in Lombard, students are able to work alongside Timothy Fior, MD, who is also a lecturer in Clinical Sciences at NUHS and Lisa Krebs, ND, an NUHS alumnae. “Students will come away with the confidence and skills to accurately use this important modality in practice,” Dr. Krebs said.

At the NUHS Whole Health Center in Aurora, NUHS has added a ND faculty clinician who will attend shifts at the clinic each week with ND interns. NUHS also added an ND faculty clinician to supervise students at the Salvation Army clinic in Chicago. This supervision allows interns to provide more naturopathic modalities at the clinic such as basic bloodwork and constitutional hydrotherapy treatments.

Faculty members look forward to working with students as they continue to take advantage of these opportunities in 2020. For more information about clinical internship opportunities visit the NUHS website.

To learn more about NUHS, click here.

A Year of New Leadership and Advancement

National University of Natural Medicine
Portland, Oregon

NUNM welcomed our new president Dr. Christine Girard, a 1997 NUNM graduate who is already building on NUNM’s history of thinking and healing holistically. She’s excited about NUNM’s role in the intersection between naturopathic medicine and public health, and recently shared an update in AANMC’s November newsletter.

Through our 2019 acquisition of IPSL Institute for Global Learning, we have expanded the opportunities for students to participate in service-learning programs as part of their education. We also now offer two international master’s programs, giving current and future students greater opportunities to become advocates for social justice. We’re very excited for what this new partnership has in store for 2020!

Next year, we look forward to our students continuing to bring integrative health care to our local communities through programs at our academic health centers. NUNM’s new shared clinical rotations allow students studying in both the ND and Chinese medicine programs to mix the two approaches in practice, providing patients with more integrative tracks to health. Our newest sites, opening in 2020, will be located in residential facilities in the Portland metro area where access to holistic care is less available. This model of integration has proven to be effective at maintaining patients’ engagement with their care regimens, and we’re excited to enhance patient outcomes and student learning through these new sites!

To learn more about NUNM, click here.

A Year of Transformation and Innovation

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
Phoenix, Arizona

In Fall of 2019, SCNM announced plans to launch two 100% online Master of Science in Nutrition degrees – the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition (MSCN) and the Master of Science in Nutrition Business Leadership (MSNBL). Both programs will seat their first class in April of 2020. The MSCN will educate and inspire the next generation of leaders and practitioners in the field of clinical nutrition and the MSNBL will educate and inspire current and future leaders to grow the global natural products industry. Both programs will equip graduates with evidence-based and sustainable practices that safely, ethically, and effectively enhance the health and well-being of the people and communities they serve.

Additionally, SCNM is in the early building stages of The Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research. This state-of-the-art molecular biology and phytochemistry laboratory will work in collaboration with the natural products industry and other academic institutions to develop new products and improve existing botanical therapeutics through scientific exploration grounded in herbalism’s rich tradition. Scheduled to open in 2020, the Institute will conduct analytical testing, cellular and molecular biology assays, and metabolomic testing. Furthermore, the Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research will expand research opportunities for students.

To learn more about SCNM, click here.

A Year of Change and Celebration

University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine
Bridgeport, Connecticut

In October, the College of Health Sciences hosted more than 150 statewide experts and healthcare leaders for its inaugural symposium, Building Bridges: Implementing Healthcare Solutions to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Chronic Pain in Connecticut.

In March 2019 the University of Bridgeport announced that the School of Naturopathic Medicine will be closing its doors, based on a wide variety of factors, including a restructure of the University. The students enrolled as of the spring semester will complete the teach-out, with the last class graduating in May 2022.  In the meantime, however, we are celebrating every success and appreciating all the little things that are often taken for granted. Each event, including the Back to School Barbeque, Philosophy Day, and the Thanksgiving Pot Luck takes on new meaning.  We have had so many folks reaching out and helping us to champion our profession and the level of achievement that we have reached in the last few years.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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