The short version:
After over a decade of integrative family practice, I am opening my practice to humans world-wide. I started Nature Intervenes to marry my backgrounds in Naturopathic Medicine, Zoology & plant study, and trail & ultra running. The truth is, nature heals. We need it. We need to experience it and preserve it. This is my platform for the next phase of my career.
B.S. Biology, focus on Research and Zoology, James Madison University, 1996-2000
Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, National University of Natural Medicine, 2000-2006
Certificate of Natural Childbirth, National University of Natural Medicine, 2004-2006
The long version (for those of you that want the novel):
I grew up in a small town in West Virginia where I spent time exploring the outdoors with my dad and many hours doing arts and crafts with my mom. After deciding not to be a bus driver or President of the United States, I turned my vision towards life science. From the age of 11, I began seeking opportunities to study the natural world. I got my open water SCUBA certification before I got a driver's license, and saved up enough money babysitting to attend a month-long marine science camp (think Space Camp, but for ocean nerds) AND a camp for Estuary science in the Chesapeake Bay.
I first found integrative medicine at a health food store talk when I was a teenager having a rough go at it (as teenagers sometimes do). I ended up on anti-depressants at the age of 16 and wanted more options for treatment. I fell in love with the idea that I could mitigate my symptoms with plants and lifestyle interventions. I was also still in love with becoming a scientist, so I spent 4 years as an undergrad, taking every zoology, anatomy, and field studies class before finally securing a position as a researcher in a comparative invertebrate anatomy lab. I figured out that I did not have to be on anti-depressants if I got enough sleep and ran regularly. I also figured out that I loved science. I loved the collaboration of working on a team, but it wasn't exactly right.
I realized I really wanted to work with people. I wanted to understand why running and sleep made me feel so different, different enough that I didn't have to take medication. I got even more excited about figuring things out when I got mono my senior year of undergrad. The nurse at the university clinic told me I had mono, there was nothing to do but wait it out, and I'd eventually feel better in a couple of months. I didn't believe that. I couldn't believe that. I took to the research and found out that high doses of Vitamin C have incredible anti-viral effects. I found out that Echinacea could be used to stimulate a lagging immune system. I read feverishly (literally--I was burning up) and created a treatment plan for myself. I was back in class full-time 2 weeks later, empowered that I had found a way to help myself.
It took a bit of searching, but I found a medical school program in Portland, Oregon that focused on teaching the foundations of naturopathy while also covering modern medicine. Naturopathic doctors have always looked for the root cause of symptoms and disease, similar to the way that new-wave Functional Medicine practitioners are now starting to realize in mainstream medicine. This is our gift and, to some extent, our secret. I don't think it should be a secret any longer. I have been so fortunate to watch the lights come on as I have frank conversations with my patients about how the body works. Docere (to teach) is a tenet of naturopathic medicine that I hold dear.