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. Sean X. Hesler – SCNM

“My awakening to the moral imperative as a privileged global citizen is what drove my focus on global medicine.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

“I came into integrative medicine through chiropractic. After a back injury in high school treated with little relief, I was referred to a chiropractor. I decided I wanted to work full-time in global health, and to be a complete physician, able to use a variety of modalities and always with my hands, food, and the plants growing around me to help people heal themselves.”

SCNM as a springboard

“The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) was the right college for me because it had the only chapter of Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB) and the broadest scope of training. SCNM teaches acupuncture in the core curriculum and is the only US naturopathic medical school to do so. Acupuncture is a strong part of our global health repertoire and we have used it not only for one-on-one consults but also to train international health workers in basic treatments to help their own communities.

SCNM trained me to be a well-rounded naturopathic doctor. I gained a school-family I will treasure forever. My work with NWB also set the stage for my future in not-for-profit management and leadership.

In order to prepare myself to succeed in global health, I gained as much experience as I could working in low-resource communities in the US and abroad. Through my shifts as a student in SCNM’s free community clinics around Phoenix, I learned how to apply foundational, root-cause naturopathic care to people who otherwise lack access to care.

After working with Ryan Ferchoff, ND and seeing the naturopathic approach to the patient and how the pieces come together, I knew I wanted to bring this style of medicine to those most in need around the world.”

Global Health

“My wife (Sarah Preston Hesler, ND) and I graduated naturopathic medical school and then we moved to Haiti to not only see patients, but more importantly to open and operate the MamaBaby Haiti birth center in Cap Haitien. It was the first free-standing birth center in northern Haiti.  Afterward we started NWB’s work in Haiti initially three months on, three months off and eventually training and hiring local community health workers to take over the work.

For me, my awakening to the moral imperative as a privileged global citizen is what drove my focus on global medicine. Underserved communities tend to receive sparse and poor-quality care, with a lack of options and cultural disempowerment from the dominant model of medical care and reliance on unaffordable technology and medications. I have the tools to act, and I’m choosing to act.

Naturopaths Without Borders serves the global community through sustainable medicine, but it also promotes best practices in global health within the profession and promotes the profession within the larger global health community. We are focused on evolving integrative approaches to health worldwide through our volunteers and our local community health workers. I’m proud of the organization we have built and for its bright future as a driving force to build #oneworldinhealth!

Regardless of your future plans, you should register for my webinar to hear how a strong foundation of naturopathic medicine will empower you to serve wherever you go and with whatever you choose to do. Although our philosophy is focused on our relationship with the individual patient, I will illuminate what happens when we apply it to communities and global health. You will learn pearls from my successes and challenges in 13 years of global health work and leadership.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“My favorite thing about being an ND is flexibility – of tools, of the hats I can wear, and of the cultures I work among. Drawing from whatever modality we need makes us so versatile as practitioners . Using chronic pain as an example, we can utilize spinal manipulation and injection techniques, modulate inflammation through nutrition and botanical medicine, perform acupuncture and teach the patient hydrotherapy to use at home. My prescription rights give me respect from, and open opportunities for collaboration with our conventional colleagues abroad. As a physician, I integrate easily into the healthcare team and bridge the gap between doctors and public health.

Dr. Sarah and I balance our work between NWB work administratively and in the field, private practice and teaching.

In my nine  years since graduation I have worked around the world involved in direct patient care and project management, but as we have grown as an organization I have shifted to stepping back and empowering our community of NDs to step into the field work as I work to build NWB and teach students.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Decide what you want to do on a daily basis – if it’s meeting patients, listening to their stories and helping them take their health to a new level, naturopathic medicine might be for you. You need an entrepreneurial spirit in business and beyond – we are a rapidly-growing profession and we need innovators and go-getters!”

Learn more about Dr. Hesler:

Naturopaths Without Borders

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

Dr. John Finnell – Bastyr

“As the first naturopathic physician and acupuncturist appointed to lead a Veterans Affairs Whole Health program, I will do my best to represent our professions and medicine in the best way.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Austin College, John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc told the admissions advisors at the allopathic and osteopathic medical schools that he was interested in studying preventative, nutritional, and botanical medicines. Much to his dismay, his advisors informed him that he would have to look elsewhere for preventative healthcare education.

Prior to pursuing his naturopathic medical education, Dr. Finnell completed a Master’s of Science in environmental engineering and sustainable infrastructure at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. His first career was as an environmental engineer and chemist, contracting for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Dallas. Dr. Finnell completed Superfund site assessments and remediation plans, refinery site inspections, and emergency response for the Columbia Space Shuttle accident.

“I knew that I needed to get back on my original path, once my work in the environmental field began to negatively affect my health.”

Bastyr as a springboard

“I had a dejavu moment my first week in Seattle that made me a believer that Bastyr chose me. I was driving around Green Lake and remembered that, ten years before, a dear friend had told me that I should check out this small herbal medicine school, as she drove me to visit the medical school admissions office at the University of Washington, in 1994. Across from the Seattle Zoo, as I reminisced, an oversized pickup truck t-boned my car. The next thing I knew, my car was totaled and I was at the Swedish Hospital, alive and more than a little rattled. You see, I was given another chance to get back on my path. Perhaps whomever was looking out for me decided that I needed a dose of my own medicine. I got it in the form of a full recovery with the help of naturopathic and east Asian medicines at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health.”

While at Bastyr University, “I gained an understanding of the human condition that I could hardly have imagined when I started my first day of class. I learned of the life stories of my patients, classmates, and teachers. I saw healing take place within each of them as we walked the path together. I learned about human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, and about the diseased state and creating the conditions for healing. I learned how to practice the art of the medicine, and I learned how to simultaneously become a critic and an aficionado of our art.

After I graduated, I completed a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH; previously NCCAM) post-doctoral research fellowship at the Bastyr University Research Institute, under the mentorship of Ryan Bradley, ND, and Leanna Standish, PhD, ND, LAc (5T32AT000815), and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology at the University of Washington. I successfully obtained foundation and faculty seed grants to conduct a clinical trial of the effects of vitamin D supplementation (Traub et al., 2014). I also participated in collaborative studies assessing the patterns of use and safety of CIH interventions (Mischley, Vespignani, & Finnell, 2013; Sexton et al., 2014; Sexton, Cuttler, Finnell, & Mischley, 2016).

I then gained an appointment as director of a postgraduate doctoral program and research at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a regionally-accredited CIH institution in Austin, Texas. While at AOMA, I became funded by an administrative supplement for a complementary health practitioner research experience (PA-16-013) awarded in support of the parent R01 entitled: Functional Orthopedic Rehab Treatment-Amended (FORT-A) Program (R01AT008422-01). All of this work helped me find my way to the next stage of my career.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

I love my life in San Antonio, in my home state of Texas. Texas, specifically San Antonio, was the home of Herbert Shelton, ND, one of the pioneers of the practice of natural hygiene within the profession. The Stark Center, at the University of Texas at Austin, hosts the Todd-McClean Library with one of the largest naturopathic medicine collections in the world. I am now the Whole Health Program Manager at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, one of 18 Whole Health Flagship sites. As the first naturopathic physician and acupuncturist appointed to lead a Veterans Affairs Whole Health program, I will do my best to represent our professions and medicine in the best way.”

I love my profession and will never get bored. The part that I love the most is the size of our toolbox. What do you do when your patient comes into your acupuncture practice but is afraid of needles? To name a few…diet, exercise, mind-body practices, fasting, mythopoetic exploration, herbal medicine, physical medicine, and homeopathy. What do you do when your patient comes into your acupuncture practice but is not afraid of needles? Well…you do all of the above plus acupuncture.”

Advice for aspiring NDs

When I interviewed at Bastyr, they asked me what I wanted to do with my education. My reply was that I wanted to study naturopathic and Chinese medicine, research to bring this medicine into the mainstream, and move back home, gain licensure and start a school in my home state. Patience – I am working on it!

My plan was to complete the MS in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, in order to be able to practice in Texas, while we gained licensure for naturopathic medicine. I also planned to gain rigorous training in research methodologies in order to create broader acceptance of this medicine in the halls of medicine and in the halls of Congress. I am still walking along that path; it’s my life’s path.

The late Bill Mitchell, ND, said in class one day that: ‘The truth will bubble up!’ Those who know me know the turtle mantra: ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’ Be true to the medicine and steadfast in your calling. Along your path, you are the holder of the medicine of the past and the medicine of the future.”

Learn more about Dr. Finnell

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. Greg Yasuda – Bastyr

“Being a naturopathic doctor gives me a sense of congruence in my life – my work is an expression of my values, and that allows me to provide a service to my patients and students that feels deeply meaningful. So much of what we do boils down to respect and love: for our environment, for our communities and, perhaps most importantly, for ourselves. The more I learn about medicine, the more I learn about the world and my place in it.”

Greg Yasuda, ND is Associate Dean of Academics and Assistant Professor at Bastyr University. Dr. Yasuda is well-loved by his students and colleagues and is proud to be a Bastyr alumnus.

Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?

“My mother was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis when I was a child and her general practitioner recommended that she try yoga – 40 years later, she still does not take thyroid medication. I had witnessed the healing power of nature first hand before I even learned about this profession.

I chose naturopathic medicine because I was looking for what is true in medicine and healing. The scientific evidence base is continually growing, guidelines and opinions are always changing, and conventional standards of care are regularly improved upon…while this is a tremendously valuable process, it must also be balanced by some essential truths that do not change, principles of healing that are constant, reliable and timeless. This fascinated me before coming to naturopathic school and that fascination has only grown. “

What can students learn from you?

“I have taught various courses since 2008, and now I primarily function as a clinical supervisor and instructor for physical medicine and Naturopathic Theory and Practice, a year-long course in naturopathic philosophy in which I have been blessed to be mentored by Pamela Snider, ND, Christy Lee-Engel, ND, EAMP and Brad Lichtenstein, ND, BCB-HRV , all of whom were my instructors when I was a student between 1998 and 2003.

While it is important to learn to diagnose and treat illness, I make sure to teach students to also prioritize supporting the healing process. I believe this is our great contribution: to balance promotion of health with treatment of disease. In a diverse landscape of healthcare that seems hyper-focused on disease treatment, ours is a model of integrative practice that is both powerful and trustworthy.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“Being a naturopathic doctor gives me a sense of congruence in my life – my work is an expression of my values, and that allows me to provide a service to my patients and students that feels deeply meaningful. So much of what we do boils down to respect and love: for our environment, for our communities and, perhaps most importantly, for ourselves. The more I learn about medicine, the more I learn about the world and my place in it.

Working with students connects me back to my own beginnings – the innocent and exuberant optimism that made me want to change the world! So many of my students feel called to naturopathic medicine. It wasn’t a reasoned or even planned path: they heard about it and immediately knew they had to do it. That’s how Bastyr University started and that’s how I started, so I want to welcome that spirit here, to acknowledge it and bless it and cultivate its unique expression in each student. The late Bill Mitchell, ND, said that the full flower of naturopathic medicine has yet to bloom. These students are those very buds of unexpressed potential.”

What qualities make a strong ND student?

“I have seen students from all walks of life succeed here. While some have strong backgrounds in biomedical sciences, others have been musicians, teachers, engineers (like me), and countless more. What makes a strong ND student is strong character – they know who they are and why they are here. This helps them remain balanced and avoid the traps of absolutes. They are adept with the sciences, but are not threatened by the mystery of being. They can honor the past without succumbing to dogma. They are both leaders and collaborators. They understand the importance of narrative and the countless ways we each experience life – not only accepting diversity, but valuing it as a source of strength.”

What advice do you have for prospective ND students?

“Search your heart and find what you must do. Do not ask what you should do, what will make others happy nor what you’re good at – these types of questions only confuse the issue. Ask what you must do, what will make you come alive, what will bring meaning to your life and work. Talk to naturopathic doctors (click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada), visit the schools, shadow a practitioner. Once you know the answer, trust your knowing, commit to it, and go do whatever that is regardless of the consequences. A calling does not go away – and neither do regrets.”

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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

Making a Difference in At-Risk Patients’ Lives – Bastyr

Written by J. Allan Mossbarger

As the summer comes to an end, we look back on Bastyr’s many accomplishments: ND Mini Camp, students like Liqaa Essam Naser making a difference, new graduates, and community care sites that are essential to Bastyr’s vision.

ND Mini Camp: A full immersion experience

Bastyr University’s second annual ND Mini Camp reached capacity at 44 students. Campers spent August 5-9th at the Kenmore campus immersed Bastyr culture, participating in hands-on events such as Qi Gong, hydrotherapy, a tour of campus amenities, and more. Led by distinguished professors from Bastyr’s Naturopathic Medicine department, campers explored the many modalities used in naturopathic medicine, as well as how NDs use physiology, pathology and diagnosis in their overall care of patients. The five-day program follows major themes of the naturopathic medicine curriculum including wellness, disease and diagnosis, tools for restoring health and wellness, and patient care.

Spotlight on Liqaa Essam Naser

As health care disparities rise in the United States, the need for trained providers committed to improving patient outcomes is growing. Eleven naturopathic medical students make up the first cohort from Bastyr University to join the University of Washington’s two-year Area Health Education Center program (AHEC). Open to students from all health care disciplines, AHEC is an interdisciplinary educational and training program that focuses on a diverse, culturally competent healthcare workforce specializing in rural and underserved areas. AHEC attracts students who are looking for a team-based approach to addressing health disparities.

Bastyr ND and AOM student Liqaa Essam Naser ’21 began her journey in Iraq, where she studied medicine at the University of Mosul.

Upon finishing AHEC, Naser and her fellow Bastyrians will have completed an important service-learning community project, and will have a richer understanding of how to meet the needs of underserved communities.

Graduates turn calling into their career

In 2019, 303 extraordinary students graduated from two Bastyr campuses. Beloved and renowned Bastyr University alumna, Mary Purdy, MS, RDN ’07, delivered the commencement address at both events. She inspired Bastyr graduates to step outside of their comfort zones and work with patients who might not know much about natural health. Said BU graduate Britta Nevitt, “Bastyr University is so much more than an educational institution. It is a collaborative community, dedicated not just to helping people, but to empowering others with the knowledge and tools to help themselves.”

A look inside Mary’s Place – NDs helping in homeless crisis

Every Tuesday morning, a team from Bastyr Center for Natural Health, together with Bastyr University students, set up their clinic space at Mary’s Place homeless shelter in downtown Seattle. Guests like Betty have been receiving free naturopathic care for nearly 20 years through this Bastyr partnership. Appointments with Bastyr clinicians help Betty manage her diabetes and hepatitis, and she credits them with saving her life. Community care sites like Mary’s Place are essential to Bastyr’s vision to transform the health and well-being of the human community, and vital to humanizing the condition of homelessness. An important step in improving health outcomes is ensuring that future providers graduate well equipped to care for underserved communities.

Bastyr continues to make significant contributions within its local, regional, and national medical communities through programs like AHEC and Mary’s Place. To be a part of this fulfilling work click here.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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