"I chose National University of Health Sciences for my naturopathic medicine degree because of the variety of programs it offered," says Samantha Hoang, ND ('11). Dr. Hoang was drawn to National University's campus, which is dedicated to integrative medicine and allows students and faculty from different medical specialties to work and study together.
In fact, Dr. Hoang's ND degree from NUHS prepared her for her current residency in integrative medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
"During my clinical internship, I worked at both the campus clinic and at a university clinic based in a Salvation Army facility in Chicago. One day, our clinic shift visited Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Zion, Illinois. We enjoyed a tour and also a presentation on their residency program. I was blown away at what a rich experience the residency would provide in the field of integrative oncology," recalls Dr. Hoang.
After graduating with her ND from National University in 2011, Dr. Hoang was ultimately chosen for the selective residency program and is now at CTCA's facility in Oklahoma. Her two-year postgraduate clinical program provides specialized oncology training in naturopathic medicine in a hospital-based setting. As a resident, Dr. Hoang works as part of the integrative care team at CTCA, and will complete hospital-based rotations in a variety of specialties.
The residency also includes providing general naturopathic care within the Employee Wellness Clinic. "The most satisfying part of the residency is helping people change unhealthy lifestyles with support teams (medical oncologist, clinic nurse, registered dietitian, naturopathic oncology provider, and nurse care manager) that stand by the patients as they try to change," she says.
Dr. Hoang was drawn to integrative medicine during her undergraduate years. "At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I met David Rakel, MD, who founded the university's integrative medicine program. At his clinic, patients were encouraged to meditate to reduce stress, exercise, explore their spiritual beliefs, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, cold-water fish, and dark-colored berries. I knew immediately this was how I wanted to practice."
"Later, I discovered that this integrative approach is the core of naturopathic medicine. It focuses on health care as opposed to disease care, and is based on the same rigorous standards of evidence as any other branch of medicine." Once she was hooked on naturopathic medicine as her career path, she chose NUHS as the school that best suited her career goals.
Dr. Hoang feels National University prepared her well for her current career: "I've gained many clinical pearls from the wonderful colleagues I met in National's many degree programs. The rigorous curriculum and small student to faculty ratio also gave me the opportunity to be mentored by faculty members."
What are Dr. Hoang's goals for the future? "CTCA residents are given preference for continued employment opportunities as staff NDs," she says. "I would love to continue to learn and develop my skills and relationships within CTCA. To have the chance to collaborate and learn from naturopathic doctors, medical oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, and dieticians has been a phenomenal experience. I am excited to go to work every day!"