Licensed naturopathic physicians wear many hats, including teacher, advocate, counselor, and teammate -- 'teacher' has always been one of my favorites. Whether I am teaching a 10-year old child what it means to have diabetes, educating parents about how to advocate for their child with intellectual disabilities, or modeling healthy communication tools for my adolescent patients, I walk away feeling like I have made a positive impact on the world by sharing of myself in this way. I have created PediaChat with the dream of being able to share medical education with families around the globe so that they are empowered to make informed decisions about their child's healthcare.
I can trace my love for working with families and children back to a time when I was not much older than a child myself. As a teen, I volunteered as a coach for a cheerleading team of girls with special needs and found this to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life at the time. I went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I graduated summa cum laude. I used this training to work with children with developmental disabilities in a variety of community settings, and although the children I worked with never failed to bring a smile to my face, I quickly found that I wanted more tools to offer the children I encountered -- I saw them running into dead ends with the options that conventional medicine had to offer, and knew there had to be more.
I found naturopathic medicine and learned of the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) while living in abroad, and shortly thereafter moved to Portland, OR to pursue my dreams. Naturopathic medicine seemed to perfectly integrate the wisdom of traditional healers and the intelligence of modern medicine, and within a year I was enrolled in a 5-year naturopathic medical program at NUNM. Since that time, my skills for working with children and families have grown exponentially, and although medical school trained me to work with patients of all ages, I have maintained my focus and passion for pediatrics.
My doctorate in naturopathic medicine is from NUNM, which is where I also completed a 3-year accredited residency. I was named Chief Resident for the final year of my residency, and in 2017 I served NUNM as the Lead Pediatric Clinician for the Soy Sano/I’m Healthy Grant, which helped provide access to medical care for uninsured pediatric patients. I am an attending physician and Course Co-Director of Pediatrics at NUNM, and also see patients privately at Integrative Pediatrics, with the high esteemed (and youtube star!) Paul Thomas, MD. I find great joy in teaching medical students about how to best serve the children in our communities, as I know that this will have a positive effect on their patients for years to come. I am especially interested in mental and behavioral health, as well as developmental medicine, and believe that true preventive medicine starts in childhood.