Grand Rounds

Top -friends2

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. 

Clinical Question

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 for disease. 

Interesting Research

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. 

Valuable Resource

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!  

Ashley _Sarah _Chandra

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 favorable. 

Wish me luck on my presentation! I will report how it goes next week!

Moving Already?

Top -chicago

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!  

Ashley -Dad Ashley -brother -friend

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!

Break in Boston

Top -boston

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 conversation!!  

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.

Ashley -boston2 Ashley -boston1

Helpful Websites

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 Expansion

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 medicine! 

I hope everyone had a nice and restful break!

New ND on Campus

Top -chi

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! 

Ashley -party

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 de-icer! 

Ashley -couple

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!

End of the Growing Season

Top -statue

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! 

Missouri Bound!

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!

Ashley -arch

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!

Ashley -diving -helmet Ashley -fish -face

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!