Changing Your Career to Naturopathic Medicine

Join the AANMC and Drs. Jill Jennings and Ginger Sweetan for a special webinar focused on making a career change to follow your dreams and become a naturopathic physician. It’s never too late to pursue your passion! Drs. Jennings and Sweetan will share their prior backgrounds in the military, real estate, and nursing, and speak about juggling family, school and career responsibilities.

Here’s what you can expect to hear during the webinar:
– How they successfully changed careers to pursue naturopathic medicine
– The difference an ND education has made in their lives
– How previous professional experience can contribute to success as an ND
– Tricks to balancing work and life responsibilities
– Advice for prospective ND students
– What a typical day looks like as an ND

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

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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 .

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


About the Presenters

Jill Jennings, ND is a wife, mother of four, and the founder of Crossroads Natural Healthcare – a Christ-centered naturopathic medicine and health education ministry. She has worked in healthcare for over two decades. After battling her own chronic illness for 10 years she discovered naturopathic medicine and true health. It was her amazing journey of personal healing that inspired her to go back to school to become a naturopathic doctor. Her passion is teaching others about the foundational healing powers found in nutrition and the principals of naturopathic medicine. Dr. Jennings is a graduate of the National University of Health Sciences.

 


 

Ginger Sweetan, ND graduated from Bastyr University – California in 2019, and is completing a residency in integrative urgent care at Healthtopia Clinic. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with an emphasis is biopsychology/psychoneuropharmacology from California State University San Marcos. Dr. Sweetan is a business owner, licensed vocational nurse, U.S. Navy veteran, Girl Scout leader, community volunteer, wife, and mother. She loves living near the ocean, writing poetry, teaching, doing genealogy, and creating novel models for organization. She has a passion for urgent care, biofeedback, and aesthetics with a strong interest in bioenergetics, epigenetics, and anti-aging. Dr. Sweetan fervently believes she is living her best life every day and is enamored with the idea of inspiring those around her to live in authenticity as a means to wellness and joy!

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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. Preety Shah – NUHS

Dr. Preety Shah is an instructor of clinical sciences at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS). Dr. Shah earned her chiropractic degree from NUHS, and her naturopathic medical degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM).

Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?

“As a child, my Dadi (grandmother) treated me with homeopathy and home remedies. Even to this day, my Dadi often calls to tell me about a home remedy she read about and experimented with. I always thought I wanted to be an allopathic doctor, but when I shadowed various MDs, I realized it was not the medicine for me. Shortly after, the universe brought me in contact with a person who had been treated for melanoma using only naturopathic treatments. He led me to SCNM, where I fell in love with what I knew from my childhood. I loved the use of natural therapeutics such as nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture and water treatments to strengthen the body’s vitality. The principles of the medicine went hand in hand with my spiritual belief, that the body is a genius work of art; made by an all-knowing, intelligent creator. Given the right environment, the body has the ability to heal itself. In our anatomy class, I remember being in awe of the human body when we dissected cadavers; and even more so when we learned how numerous biochemical reactions alter the physiology of the body. Understanding not only the normal physiology but also the compensatory mechanisms helps understand why a particular person is in a state of dis-ease versus a state of health.”

What can students learn from you?

“I was fortunate enough to be an instructor for the first graduating class of the naturopathic program at NUHS in 2006. I have taught various courses through the years such as Foundations of Naturopathic medicine 1 & 2, Advanced Nutrition and functional medicine, Biochemistry and Pharmacology. Currently, I teach Naturopathic Management of Special Populations, Applied Naturopathic Clinical Theory, Intravenous Therapeutics and Clinic Internship I, II and III, Clinic Observation and Hydrotherapy Clinic Rotation.

Students can expect to learn how to work through patient cases using the principles of naturopathic medicine. Conversations with students often consist of understanding the determinants of health, obstacles to cure, engaged organ systems, differential diagnosis and using the least force necessary for stimulating health. Each day my goal is to transfer my passion for the medicine and guide my students on what it means to stay true to the profession.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND and educator

“Students bring energy, enthusiasm and a curious mind. I appreciate how intelligent students are and how they keep up with the latest research. I learn something new from my students all the time. It is especially fulfilling when they see naturopathic treatments change the lives of people they treat and how homeopathy, nutritional counseling and botanical medicine are effective in bringing about the conditions of health.”

As a naturopathic doctor, “I love how I am able to be a part of someone’s life journey and connect at such a deep level. This medicine is unique in that it empowers people to take their health in their own hands and not feel like they are a victim of their disease. Naturopathic medicine utilizes biochemistry, empirical evidence, as well as current research to treat health. I feel grateful that I get to be and continue to be a student of this incredible human body.”

What advice do you have for prospective ND students?

“Be ready to work hard and to fully commit to naturopathic medical school. It is a rigorous program. You are learning everything allopathic doctors learn plus the various natural modalities.” Dr. Shah adds that curiosity, attentiveness, and respectfulness are all qualities that make a strong ND student.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. Miranda LaBant – NUHS

“I always thought I knew what the term ‘doctor’ meant, but it wasn’t until I started seeing patients on my own, that I really understood the true meaning of docere – to instruct or teach. Behind the doors of the patient-doctor relationship is where the healing begins.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Becoming a naturopathic doctor was not always a part of Dr. Miranda LaBant’s career goals. “During my undergraduate and graduate school training I met several influential people who directed me towards becoming a doctor. As a graduate student, I had an incredible opportunity to study in Belize. During my time there I developed my Master’s thesis on the traditional medicine practices of the indigenous Mayan tribe, the Q’eqchi. My mind was opened to the possibility of what I consider traditional medicine. I remember sitting in the jungle around a fire with another graduate student and my mentor interviewing the shaman and their patients. The healing journey they experienced through the use of traditional and sacred herbs, teas, along with spiritual practices reversed conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, and mood disorders.

There was a point during my schooling where I wished to pursue a career in conventional medicine. After my experience in Belize, I began researching other avenues of alternative medicine, this is when I discovered naturopathic medicine. The principles of naturopathic medicine are what resonated with me. To be a naturopath you have to believe that the human body has an innate healing process, the vis as we call it. You have to believe that there is another option outside of the conventional medical paradigm that can heal people regardless of their disease process, and this is what I found to be true.

The human body operates as a whole, and naturopathic medicine treats each person as a whole – tolle totum. Other schools of medicine follow mechanistic thinking in regards to treating the human body, by breaking it into different parts as if the human body doesn’t function as a whole. I don’t mean this with any disrespect to those schools of thought, but I do believe it is a disservice to patients. The training of a naturopathic doctor provides the skill set and tools to not only assess symptoms, but to dig deeper – looking at all factors influencing their health (environment, emotional, mental, physical).”

NUHS as a springboard

“I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. The proximity of National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) along with the possibility to pursue a chiropractic degree was appealing to me. One of the advantages at NUHS is the ability to study alongside chiropractic students as well as develop a strong foundation for physical medicine and diagnosis. Even though I value the incorporation of physical medicine, I decided that naturopathic medicine was the correct path for me during my first year of study. I quickly fell in love with herbal medicine, homeopathy, and the biochemical impact of nutrition, this is where I was meant to be.

After graduation, I completed a CNME accredited residency program in Kailua Kona, Hawaii under the direction of Michael Traub, ND. The focus of my residency was in integrative cancer care; it was during this program that I truly learned the value of our medicine. I developed the skills to safely and confidently integrate evidence-based naturopathic therapies with conventional therapies for patients with a cancer diagnosis. My program also included training in regenerative injection therapy, intravenous therapy, integration of pharmaceuticals, minor surgery, and integrative dermatology – it was a truly rounded experience, and I am forever thankful for the wisdom, patience experiences, and growth as a doctor and person I gained during my time with Dr. Traub.

After my residency I joined a premier clinic in Portsmouth, NH where I worked among several Lyme literate naturopaths, I soon learned the complexity of patients with tick-borne infection as well as the complexity of treatment. Providing integrative support to these patients has been rewarding.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I always thought I knew what the term ‘doctor’ meant, but it wasn’t until I started seeing patients on my own, that I really understood the true meaning of docere – to instruct or teach. Behind the doors of the patient-doctor relationship is where the healing begins. NDs are trained to spend quality time with patients, providing ample opportunity to explain their symptoms and health journey. This time also allows for a great deal of teaching and empowerment – something that is often lacking in our current model of healthcare.

Naturopathic thinking is beautiful; we are detectives of sorts. It’s a humbling and fascinating process to be a part of someone’s health journey. From the initial visit with patients, gathering all of the information about a person’s well-being, mental, emotional, physical, social aspects, as well as deciphering how all of their symptoms relate. It has been my experience that very complex patients seek out the guidance and support of a naturopathic physician at some point on their journey back to health. This doesn’t surprise me. It’s often that a patient will tell me, ‘You know…this is the first time I feel like I have been heard by a healthcare provider.’ To be able to provide that space for patients is gratifying. The time that NDs spend with patients allows for truly individualized and comprehensive care – what people deserve. I believe this is where our medicine truly shines.”

Naturopathic medicine offers patients the best of both Eastern and Western medicine. My practice is truly integrative and my areas of focus are integrative oncology, hormonal balance and digestive health. I currently practice in the state of New Hampshire, where the scope for naturopathic doctors is quite broad. This offers lots of flexibility when creating a treatment plan and providing the best care possible for my patients. I utilize intravenous nutrient therapy, and pharmaceuticals in addition herbal medicine.

I practice in two integrative clinics in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. At Family Acupuncture and Wellness I am part of a functional medicine team of several practitioners that provide naturopathic medicine, and an intimately guided diet and lifestyle program that transform people’s health. At the Sante Center I have a general practice as well as an integrative oncology practice. Working with cancer patients is a great challenge but a true joy when you can see how naturopathic medicine can improve their quality of life, mitigate symptoms from chemotherapy and radiation, and provide a more favorable outcome in many cases for patients dealing with this difficult diagnosis.

One area of passion is hormonal balance. I particularly love working with women transitioning or going through menopause. I utilize bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in many of these patients, but this is one area where I have seen the power of herbal medicine. Let me give a shout out to one herb—Vitex (all my women’s health naturopathic doctors know what I am talking about). I have seen this herb alone move mountains for patients.”

Dr. LaBant is a contributor for the Natural Medicine Journal on a variety of topics that range from fish oil used in conjunction with chemotherapy to supplements for reducing peripheral neuropathy, and exercise for cognitive function. She has also co-authored an article for the Townsend Letter with her mentor Michael Traub, ND on the use of medicinal mushrooms in cancer.

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Passion drives the field of naturopathic medicine, and it absolutely drives the excellence that I see in my colleagues every day. I have never been a part of a cohort of individuals more passionate about making an impact in people’s lives, and at the same time creating positive change in our broken health care system. In order to provide patients with the best care possible, you need to truly be enamored by the innate healing processes of the body, and to believe that a return to health is possible.

My residency was the most valuable of all of my training. I would recommend anyone pursuing naturopathic medicine to consider completing a residency after graduation.”

Learn more about Dr. LaBant:

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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High School Student Virtual Fair

Attention High School Students!

Do you want to be a doctor who:
– treats the whole person?
– uses alternative and conventional evidence-based therapies?
– is an expert in nutrition herbs and other natural therapies?
– develops a relationship with their patients and teaches them healthier lifestyles?

If this sounds like you – or if you are considering your career options, please join us any time during the week of November 18-23 for a free virtual fair. Parents, teachers and advisors are welcome to join as well. Learn what it takes to apply to naturopathic medical school, and exciting career options as an ND!

Register Now!

*When registering please make sure to select the South Region virtual fair on November 18-23. All are welcome to participate regardless of location.

Dr. Jolene Brighten – NUNM

“Throughout school through today, I have maintained a growth mindset, a gratitude practice, and had faith in my ability to create my own success. I coach many practitioners in business, and mindset is always a foundational piece that has been in place for me in order to succeed.”

Dr. Jolene Brighten is a naturopathic physician, leading expert in women’s health and Post-Birth Control Syndrome, best-selling author, international speaker, and clinical educator.

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“As a child, I was always fascinated with natural and herbal remedies, and I witnessed the power of food as medicine. That was really the kind of medicine I was looking for. I wanted the ability to integrate nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, herbal medicine, and lifestyle therapies to be able to offer my people the most individualized medicine that would enable them to heal.

Prior to naturopathic medicine, I was pursuing my Master’s in nutrition science and was on track to go to UC Davis to get my PhD. What I came to recognize, was that while I had a lot of science under my belt, I was lacking a philosophy and an understanding of the body’s innate ability to heal. I realized that even if I produced the best research, it may never make it into clinical practice and actually change medicine in a way that benefited the patients. That’s what made me want to become a doctor and work one-on-one with patients. In naturopathic medicine I can read and implement the latest research in real time to provide my patients better care. Overtime, I’ve built a ​platform​ to educate more people about their body, while giving nutrition the respect it deserves and changing medicine for the better.”

NUNM as a springboard

“I chose NUNM because it was the oldest naturopathic medical college, and from what I could tell, was the most rooted in naturopathic philosophy, which is what I was looking for.

While I was a student, I started my own ​website​, producing articles and freelance writing wherever I could. I tend to look ahead of trends and borrow from other industries in terms of their innovations in order to shape the direction of my own company. I often laugh about how I was studying social media advertising while I was studying for my board exams. You won’t find many doctors who love learning about business as much as they do about medicine. As a student I recognized that if we, as naturopathic doctors, were going to be able to make a positive impact in people’s lives then we had to step out of the communities already familiar with us and start reaching a larger community.

Throughout school through today, I have maintained a growth mindset, a gratitude practice, and had faith in my ability to create my own success. I coach many practitioners in business, and mindset is always a foundational piece that has been in place for me in order to succeed.

After graduation I established a practice in California. I rapidly filled my practice and found myself with a six month new patient waiting list in less than a year. This forced me to get creative and to bring in other clinicians who could support patients on their journey. I built an integrative team and in very little time found myself being asked to speak on numerous podcasts, stages, and workshops. I also authored my first book, ​Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth​, which was inspired by my own experiences as a mother and from my work with patients. I went on to publish my second book, ​Beyond the Pill​, which is aimed at supporting women in addressing the root cause of their hormone imbalance and detailing how to stay safe on birth control and transition off successfully. I had become known as “the doctor who believed women’s birth control stories” and because of it, had more patients requesting to work with me than I had time in the day. Recognizing women needed this information that I could make a positive global impact, I have dedicated much of my career to providing education through books, speaking, social media, and clinician mentorship.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“After building and scaling three clinics and authoring two books, I now work on a global level as an international speaker and have been blessed to speak alongside many influential people, including ​Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, Dr. Izabella Wentz, Dr. Alan Christianson, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Dave Asprey, JJ Virgin, Dr. Anthony Youn, Kara Goldin, and Robbe Richman.​ In my practice, I’ve had integrative residents, and I now work exclusively with high profile clients. I’ve collaborated on projects with change makers such as Deepak Choprah, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Danielle LaPorte. I’ve been ​featured in several documentaries including ​The Human Longevity Project​, Broken Brain 2, ​The Thyroid Secret​, ​Love is Medicine​, and ​Digestion SOS​.

What I like the most about being a naturopathic doctor is the ability to integrate any tool that my patient needs, and to leverage the therapeutic order to serve my patients best. I’m passionate about the advancements in women’s medicine and the ability to integrate new research as it becomes available. I enjoy educating patients and clinicians.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“If you’re considering naturopathic medicine, I would advise you to shadow naturopathic doctors in your area to try to get a feel and sense of the practice of medicine. Knowing not all doctors practice the same, you will want to shadow several doctors and see what appeals to you. That might mean looking for a doctor that has an endocrine focus vs a gastroenterology focus. My other advice is to think about what your ideal life would look like. Spend some time journaling about what it is you want your life to look like. Understand how being a naturopathic doctor fits into that and get really clear on what your why ​ is. Medical school is no joke, and is going to demand a lot out of you. If you don’t know your ​why, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated. Hook into your ​why ​ and be clear on what you want your life to look like.

I’ve always asked for help and looked to others when I know something is not my strength. I have also avoided relationships with people who have limiting beliefs, especially around success and money, which I think is very important. If you’re surrounding yourself with people who don’t believe in you or are shaming you because you’re aiming to have a successful practice, you’re going to find yourself bogged down by their own mindset issues. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, who are more successful than you, and always ask for help.

Also know there are no overnight successes. Everything takes work. You have to be willing to work at it and be the dumbest person in the room in order to learn. There have been so many experts who have said, ‘your success will be defined by the five closest people you keep in your life,’ and I find that to be true time and again. Ensure you are surrounded by people who have already done what you want to do. Recognize that when you go to medical school, you’re not going to learn how to run a business. Those are going to be the skills that you have to cultivate or you have to hire out for. I have a fantastic team that supports me. I’ve hired business coaches and mentors who have supported me over the years. Get help when you need it.”

Learn more about Dr. Brighten

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Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Receive information from the accredited schools of your choice located across North America!