Next week for Grand Rounds I am scheduled to present to fellow
interns, clinicians and classmates. Grand Rounds is required of all
interns in both Trimester 9 and 10.
You are given the freedom to present on a clinical question of
your choice and my friend and I decided to pose the following
clinical question: How do Clinical Outcomes Improve with Physician
Education on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) Sensitive
Issues? We chose this topic based on a recent discussion on the
importance of asking patients sensitive questions revolving around
sexual history. As naturopathic physicians, we cannot brush over a
patient's sexual history by not asking if they are in a committed
relationship, having sexual relations with men women or both, or
how many partners they've had in a lifetime. If we avoid these
questions, we are not getting a true picture of the patient's risks
Disease types and risks can vary depending on the patient's
social and sexual history. For example, lesbian patients were once
told they had less of a risk of developing HIV/AIDS. This, of
course, is entirely untrue. In fact, our research found many
lesbian patients reported that when they were asked if they were
sexually active, it was usually automatically assumed they were
only intimate with males. If they disclosed they were in an
intimate relationship with another female, it was assumed they
never had sexual relations with a male in their lifetime.
And then comes the whole topic of transsexuals who can
exogenously inject hormones to more physically resemble the
opposite sex. This comes with a whole set of probable disease
developments. These are just a few of the stereotypes we dug up
during research for our presentation. This was enough to spark our
interest to investigate this topic further and present our findings
to our fellow interns.
During our research, my co-presenter and I visited the Howard
Brown Center in downtown Chicago. Howard Brown is a health care
organization that serves more than 36,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender individuals annually. The organization provides
primary medical care, behavioral health counseling, research,
HIV/STI prevention and social services for all age groups. We met
with Chandra Matteson, RN, to discuss our presentation to ensure we
were on the right track and to gain more information from someone
who works with this population first-hand. She was more than
helpful in critiquing our slides and provided us with a wealth of
resources. We had such a great time we took pictures with Chandra
and added it to our presentation!
Unfortunately, you have to be a student or faculty member of the
University to be invited to attend Grand Rounds, but I urge those
who are in health care to take another look into this populations'
unique set of health issues. It has been indeed proven that with
training in GLBT-sensitive issues clinical outcomes are more
Wish me luck on my presentation! I will report how it goes next
This weekend was spent packing as I am getting prepared to
downsize my furniture to move into my boyfriend's apartment. My
apartment lease is up at the end of next month so my dad, brother
and family friend came from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to lighten my
moving load! It really is ridiculous how many books I have
accumulated over the years of naturopathic school. I literally get
anxious thinking about having to carry all of them down three
flights of stairs… somehow it will get done!
While my family was in town, we went downtown to the Hancock for
a drink and a nice clear view of the city. Although we stayed out
way too late, we had a great time hanging out!
New Years Resolution
Like many people, my New Year's resolution is to hit the gym a
bit more often than I have been the last couple of trimesters.
Getting out of clinic at 7pm most days really takes a toll on
evening plans for a workout! Thinking about my patients that I
encourage to make time for exercise despite their busy schedules
really helps to motivate me to think of creative ways to fit in
time for my own health.
Not only does exercise keep us physically fit, but it also is a
huge stress reducer! Who couldn't use a little stress reduction
these days?? With graduation looming, papers to write and apartment
moving, I need to keep up with stress reduction tactics! One of my
favorite stress reducing activities that I recommend to many
patients is simply deep breathing. Take 5 minutes several times a
day to sit still, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and
out through your mouth slowly, and focus on something that makes
you happy. It sounds so simple, and it is, and is very helpful in
times of stress!
Fellow interns and I agreed last week that we needed to have a
night out to de-stress and just have a good time. We decided on
bowling to get some laughs in and set the tone for the week! I am
admittedly a terrible bowler and get freaked out at the thought of
wearing bowling shoes with who knows whose feet were previously in
them… but It will surely be a blast!
I hope everyone has a nice week!
This past holiday break was one of the best! Not only did I get
to spend quality time with my friends and family, I was able to
meet my boyfriend's family in Boston! Being a Midwest girl, I had
no idea what to expect in "Bean Town." I swallowed my first oyster
out of a half shell, walked along the Freedom Trail and went to a
New England Patriots football game! I was hoping to have a Boston
accent after the trip… but my friends back home gave me a hard time
when I tried to incorporate the term "wicked" into normal
The one thing that surprised me was how many people know about
naturopathic medicine. One of my boyfriend's classmates from
college shared with me her father's story of his battle with colon
cancer. He utilized alternative medicine including acupuncture and
naturopathic medicine in addition to traditional treatments. Her
father is in full remission currently and now the whole family
seeks alternative medicine practitioners for their health care
needs. This was only one of the many people I spoke with who have
been recently looking for a natural health care doctor. This got me
thinking more seriously about practicing in a licensed state, as I
want to utilize all of the modalities I have been trained to do.
There are several states in the Northeast that currently license
naturopathic medicine including Connecticut, DC, Maine, New
Hampshire, and Vermont.
One website that I have found particularly helpful in seeking
future job opportunities is the American Association of
Naturopathic Physicians. This website will advertise
naturopathic doctors in any state as long as they have graduated
from an accredited program, passed the NPLEX board exam Part 1 and
Part 2, and hold a license in a licensable state. This site also
lists job opportunities around the country for naturopathic
physicians. Another way to search for employment is good old
craigslist. My close friend Sarah was recently hired at an
integrative practice in Joliet, Ill., and she found the job listing
on craigslist! It goes to show that with a little research there
are opportunities out there.
Clinic has been getting busier every week as we are starting to
establish a larger patient base. With our new clinician on staff,
Julie Martin, ND, we are able to see more patients at one time,
which will allow greater flexibility for our patients. In addition,
we are adding a naturopathic shift on Saturday to increase our
availability in clinic. While this will be more work for interns,
we are excited to bring in more patients and practice naturopathic
I hope everyone had a nice and restful break!
This week in clinic we were introduced to the latest addition to
our clinical staff, Julie Martin ND. Dr. Martin has been in
practice for many years with an emphasis in oncology. She has spent
most of the past week learning the ins and outs of clinic so I have
not had the chance yet to pick her brain. I am very excited to have
another ND on campus and can't wait to work with her!
Happy Birthday to Me!
I am writing to you this week as a new woman… I am now a quarter
century old! I most certainly rang in this birthday with a weeklong
celebration starting by treating myself to a day off from clinic.
My boyfriend and I spent a day in downtown Chicago beginning my
celebration at the Shedd Aquarium! After touring the Amazon River,
scoping out the aquarium's token sea turtle Nickel, and paying a
visit to my personal favorite exhibit -the sea horses - we were off
to dinner at Quartino's, a delicious Italian restaurant. We topped
the night off with red velvet cake and beignets at The Grand Lux on
Michigan Avenue. I had an amazing birthday to say the least… but
that wasn't the end of the celebrations!
This weekend my friend Sarah hosted a party honoring my becoming
a quarter century old. Each guest was asked to bring a white
elephant gift, meaning, pick something in your home you no longer
want and wrap it up to be given to a lucky party guest. You go
around the room selecting gifts one by one, and then you open them
and swap them. You will never guess what I started off with… a
petrified tarantula!!! No worries however, I ended up swapping the
tarantula for toothpaste, tic-tac's and a can of lock
It was an amazing time getting to celebrate my birthday with all
of my friends from school and to think we packed 21 people into one
small apartment was a feat! It was a great time to laugh off the
stress from the week and eat way too much food! In addition to
requesting that guests bring a white elephant gift I asked that
everyone bring a non-perishable food item for me to donate to a
local food pantry. I know, I am one high maintenance b-day girl,
but it is important to help out others when we can… and to clean
out the pantry too!
It's bittersweet to report that my garden is officially done for
the season. We received a letter stating the soil was going to be
tilled for winter and to get everything out that we didn't want to
get tossed. Unfortunately, we did not have much to gather from the
garden with too much rain coming too fast and making for a poor
growing season. Although the garden did not produce as much as we
had hoped… it was a learning experience nonetheless!
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend!
Surprisingly, I didn't over-stuff myself this year, but I still
somehow managed to sample a little bit of everything! I spent the
holiday with my sister, brother-in-law and niece in southern
Missouri. I spent most of my time kissing on my baby niece and
sleeping in. I have been so busy with clinic this trimester that I
haven't had much time to just relax. I couldn't seem to get myself
out of bed any earlier than 10:00 a.m. most days, and I still found
time to nap, too! I don't know how my sister and brother-in-law do
it with a new baby… at the most getting 5 hours of sleep at a time!
I am brain dead these days without my 8 hours of sleep! I couldn't
imagine having a child right now and balancing school life with
home life. I have several classmates that have children and they
find ways to make it work, which goes to show that anything is
possible when you put your mind to it!
On the way down to Missouri my boyfriend and I stopped off in
St. Louis to tour the Arch. Luckily it wasn't very crowded so we
were able to get in quickly. The ride up to the top of the arch
takes about 4 minutes in a small egg shaped pod. Not being a fan of
heights, I was feeling pretty queasy up at 630 feet! The view was
so amazing that after a moment I forgot how high up I was and
enjoyed the scenery. Later that night we went to a delicious dinner
followed by me blowing $20 on slots at the casino. I never really
understood how gambling could be fun… losing money is not fun!
Aside from losing some cash, it turned out to be a great night in
good old St. Louis!
With family being in town, my sister trusted baby Grace with her
grandma so we could go out on the town. You are going to think I am
a total dork when I tell you what we did for my sister's first
night out away from the baby. We went to a Ripley's Believe It or
Not Museum! It turned out to be a lot of fun and we had a lot of
photo opportunities while we were there. First, with the world's
largest man replica, next with an old-fashioned scuba diving
helmet, and last with preserved puffer porcupine fish! It was
totally fun and I recommend if you are in Branson, Missouri, you
should stop by!
After a long weekend away from school, I find myself ready to
get back into the routine of clinic and work. Having an 8-hour
drive back to Chicago I had time to reflect on what I am thankful
for in my life including having the opportunity to attend school
and pursue a career that I love. OK, enough with the cheesy stuff!
I hope everyone can ease back into the week after a nice break!
• ND Clinic Format
• Love Your Profession
• MD vs. ND
• CAM Day
• Working During School
• Q&A with Readers
To read older blog posts, scroll to the bottom and click the "Older Posts" button.