Dr. Heidi Weinhold – SCNM

Dr. Heidi Weinhold graduated from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona and chose to return to her home state of Pennsylvania to care for her father who had been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Moving back to Pennsylvania at the time meant practicing naturopathic medicine in a pre-licensed state. “When I returned home, I was frustrated that my doctorate was not recognized in Pennsylvania.”

Dr. Weinhold turned her frustration into positive energy by channeling it to advocacy and licensing NDs in Pennsylvania.

Many naturopathic doctors find a high demand for ND care in pre-licensed states and build successful careers by focusing on networking within their community. It’s also important to create a solid plan and get involved in state licensing efforts, which is precisely what she did.

The Journey to Licensure

Dr. Weinhold saw the need for licensure in her state and was motivated to take action by becoming involved in local politics. “I entered the political game very green and naïve. It isn’t always about what is right. It is a crazy game and playing the game has taught me a lot about life,” she says.

Much to Dr. Weinhold’s persistence and determination and the many other active NDs and supporters, Pennsylvania legislature passed a licensure bill that was signed into law on November 3rd, 2016.  The legislation protects the public by ensuring that naturopathic doctors meet educational and professional standards. It prevents those without formal credentials from advertising themselves as naturopathic doctors. Learn more about licensure here.

Perseverance Pays Off

Today, Dr. Weinhold and naturopathic doctors across the state of Pennsylvania may reap the rewards of licensure. “After 8 years of higher education it is incredibly satisfying to be in my home state of Pennsylvania, and have my doctorate recognized,” says Dr. Weinhold. “Registration lends credibility to the profession, and now in just a short time my practice is so much busier than it was, and now I am getting more referrals from other medical doctors,” she adds. At her thriving practice she sees a variety of patients, dealing with everything from menopause and men’s health to cancer and neurological conditions. “I have high hopes for the future,” she says. “I have every confidence that we will be able to provide true integrative healthcare.”

The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine presented Dr. Weinhold with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters  in recognition of her work in the advancement of legislation to license naturopathic doctors in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Weinhold’s Advice

While Dr. Weinhold’s experience is unique to Pennsylvania, she has some advice to offer NDs in other pre-licensed states. “Be proactive,” she says,” It’s crucial to build a strong network and make plans for your practice. With those two keys, NDs can find great success in pre-licensed states, while also working toward future licensure.”

To become more involved in licensure and advocacy in your state, please visit your state naturopathic physician association,  the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), or the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND).

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Dr. Jennifer Bahr – SCNM

“I get to see people’s lives turn around. I get to see them actually heal.”

Having joined the navy, in large part, due to not knowing what to do with her life, Dr. Jennifer Bahr finally came up with a career plan: become a medical doctor. But not just any medical doctor. One who focused on integrative bahrapproaches.

She was so passionate about practicing integrative medicine that she vowed to travel the world just to soak in other cultures’ approach to medicine and utilize them in her own practice.

She thought to herself, “it’ll take a while to do it, but you’ll get there.”

Her self-guided research on integrative medicine led her to an article penned by a naturopathic doctor. It had been her first exposure to the term naturopathic medicine. In fact, she had to google it just to confirm it actually existed.

What she discovered became the life-changing moment in her career.

“This is what I was trying to do,” she said. “But I was doing it piecemeal. It already existed.”

Her google search showed results for SCNM and, upon further research, not only did Dr. Bahr fall in love with the prospect of naturopathic medicine, but she saw SCNM as the gateway to get her there.

Having graduated from SCNM in 2012, Dr. Bahr committed to a 2-year, self-created residency. She now runs her own clinic, where she focuses on psychiatric conditions.

Her patients suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar, schizophrenia and more. Many of her patients want to reduce their medications, so while she can write prescriptions for most of their conditions, she works with their prescribing psychiatrists to safely reduce and eliminate their reliance on meds.

“I am integrative at heart,” she said.

The best part of her career  

“I’m never exhausted.”

That’s how Dr. Bahr knows she’s doing what she loves. Most days she sees up to 16 patients. Couple those long days with the time it takes to commute to and from work in San Diego traffic, and it’s surprising exhaustion hasn’t settled in.

But her patients keep her inspired.

“When I get patients telling me that their lives are turned around, that’s what keeps me going,” she said. “I get to see them actually heal.”

She remembers one recent patient, who, for 20 years, could not find a way out of her constant struggle with depression.

She finally came to Dr. Bahr. One week into her new treatment plan, and the patient wanted to do things; she was alive, motivated.

She confined in Dr. Bahr that she wished she hadn’t waited so long to turn to naturopathic medicine.

Which leads us to what Dr. Bahr would like to see for the future of naturopathic medicine.  

A place where natural medicine is the first intervention, rather than the last

That’s what Dr. Bahr would like to see in the future.

“That’s where the medical system should be,” she said. “A lot of things can be reversed and avoided if people saw a naturopathic doctor first.”

This type of future particularly hits home for Dr. Bahr, who sees the impact of a lack of preventative medicine within her focus on mental illness.

“If we could talk about health in a way that reduces the stigma associated with mental health, and if people didn’t take drugs initially that made them feel numb or flat, I think we’d have a lot of happier, productive, safer people.”

She’s hopeful that naturopathic medicine as a practice will continue to grow, and that NDs will evolve into successful business people, in order to expand their reach.

“Being successful in business is a service,” she said. “It means we can help more people.”

What advice does she have for prospective students?

Dr. Bahr encourages all prospective and current students to develop and nurture their entrepreneurial mindset.

That mindset is what led her to create a flourishing practice so soon after graduation.

Of course, her successful practice wasn’t built overnight. It was a constant commitment toward making a name for herself in both her community and the industry as a whole.

She’s the President of the California Naturopathic Doctor Association; she’s led the profession’s legislative efforts in Sacramento for the past two years. Her involvement in legislative matters began years ago, during her time as a student.

That involvement doesn’t just feed her need to make an impact; it also provides fruitful networking opportunities for her to grow her business.

But in the end, her patients become her most effective supporters and marketers. They see the results and they share their passion with their friends and family.

“They can tell how much I care about them and their children,” she said. “They become my biggest fans.”

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SCNM’s Join the #NDMovement Campaign & ND’s Without Borders

 

The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) proudly launched a recent campaign inviting viewers to Join the #NDmovement! SCNM’s campaign featured a brand new video showcasing its passionate alumni and students and how they express themselves through naturopathic medicine. The video received more than 500 likes, 650 shares and nearly 20,000 views on Facebook alone, helping inspire people across the globe to improve their health, their well-being, and their lives through naturopathic medicine.

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Naturopaths Without Borders

Then, over Memorial Day weekend, SCNM students involved in the student club Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB) took their monthly trip to Rocky Point, Mexico, to volunteer at a community clinic and serve the area’s underprivileged population. Each NWB trip allows students to practice their clinical skills while also giving back to the community in a meaningful way.

NWB resize

“You get to see more complex cases and learn how to treat your patients with very limited resources,” said Emy Cummins, SCNM student and former NWB club president. “You also feel refreshed and motivated after each trip because the experience is so rewarding.”

Sweet Child O’ Mine

NWB also teamed up with the Natural Speakers student club to host a yearly talent show packed with entertaining acts from both students and faculty. Winners included a student singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” SCNM’s own Dr. Inouye and his ever-popular dance team, and a trio comprised of acoustic guitar plus beatboxing!

SCNM talent show

2016 Graduating Class

While SCNM students certainly know how to let loose and have fun, they’ve also been hitting the books to prep for the Primary Status exam, finals, finishing clinical clerkships and graduation in late June. More than 1,250 physicians have graduated from SCNM’s rigorous ND program over the past 20 years, and this summer, nearly 90 more students will receive their hard-earned diplomas. SCNM is so proud of its 2016 graduating class! Many of these grads already have jobs lined up with existing clinical practices, and some have been accepted into residencies at various locations across the country.

Trips to North Carolina and Colorado

Meanwhile, the students remaining at SCNM will experience their fair share of adventure later this summer, as they take selective courses in various natural modalities and therapies. Students interested in botanical medicine will join the yearly trip to the Gaia Herbs facility in North Carolina, where they will see medicinal plants growing in the wild and learn how the plants end up as natural supplement products in the SCNM Medicinary and in health food stores throughout the country. SCNM also offers a wildcrafting trip to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, which presents an incredible opportunity for students to see potent medicines growing in the wild.

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