Kristina Conner, ND, received her bachelor's degree from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, and her doctor of naturopathy degree from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.
"I'd always wanted to be a physician, but I was also interested in nutrition and herbs," says Dr. Conner. "I decided on naturopathic medicine when I found out it combined my interests in nutrition and herbs with medicine." At the time when she chose her ND school, there were only two such schools in the country.
"At that time, I was most interested in the midwifery aspect of naturopathy. Later, I broadened my interests to women's health and family practice in general. That's what I like about naturopathic medicine. There's so much to investigate. If you get bored with one thing, there's always something else to learn."
After earning her ND, Dr. Conner completed a residency in family medicine and integrative medicine at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. Afterwards, she stayed on to teach students in the clinic and was director of all of the university's outreach clinics.
At National University, Dr. Conner's teaching roster includes courses in the foundation of naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, diet and nutrition, as well as naturopathic counseling and hydrotherapy. She has also written articles on women's health for Naturopathic Doctor News in Review, and hopes to continue to develop her knowledge in the area of natural women's health, which is her primary clinical focus.
"There are so many opportunities in this profession. Because we're still growing and we're still young, you can pretty much do anything within the scope of naturopathy. If you want to focus on research, we need that. If you want to teach, we need that. If you have a particular clinical interest, there's opportunity for developing whatever interest you have in the context of naturopathic medicine."
What does she appreciate about National? "I really like the campus; it has a nice feel to it. I like the fact that the student programs are so integrated here. It's good to have the input of people from different professions. I like that model.
"I think of the curriculum here as classical naturopathic medicine, getting back to the roots of naturopathy. Many schools have strayed away from that, but here we are very anchored in the philosophy and understanding the full range of possibilities for naturopathic medicine.
"The students here are very dedicated. I consider them pioneers for doing this here in the Midwest, in an area where naturopathy is not well established. Yet, part of what I like about naturopathic medicine is that it is very 'common-sense' medicine. That resonates well with Midwestern values.
"Our profession is very excited about the school being here, and they're pulling for us. People recognize the need and understand that if we want naturopathic medicine to grow, we need a broader reach."
Toward that end, Dr. Conner is active on the board of directors for the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and is in charge of the organization's newsletter. In her time off, Dr. Conner says she is very interested in gardening, cooking and eco-conscious living. "My interests are a natural extension of what I do."