This week is quite the busy week! Between finishing the
move from my old apartment to the new place on campus for my final
trimester, work, and seeing patients in clinic, I have been a busy
This week I'm introducing two of our new clinicians in the
Naturopathic Clinic here at NUHS.
(L-R) Dr. Melissa Dybala, Intern Tim Ammons (myself), and Dr.
Dr. Kathy Kaminis a naturopathic medicine graduate of Bastyr
University. She recently sold a successful practice in Arizona that
she owned for over 20 years to return to Illinois. Dr. Kamin has
had much success with weight loss therapies, chronic illness, and
as a general practitioner while in Arizona. Dr. Kamin brings a
wealth of clinical, business and practice experience to our clinic
and program. Her clinical pearls and vignettes on how to set up,
start, run, and build a successful practice are invaluable. She
will help many of us who will be stepping out on our own in the
coming months and years.
Dr. Melissa Dybalais both a naturopathic and chiropractic
medicine graduate of NUHS. Dr. Dybala has been a member of a
successful practice in Chicagoland for the past several years. She
brings the physical medicine aspect of naturopathic care to her
guidance of our interns. Combining physical medicine with the
naturopathic philosophy to return our patients to a basis for
health is one of Dr. Dybala's guiding principles. Combining this
treatment modality with her vast knowledge of botanical treatment
protocols is an advantage that our interns enjoy here at NUHS.
We are lucky to have both of these excellent clinicians join the
faculty as our mentors, guides and leaders on the naturopathic side
of the NUHS Whole Health Center. Each day is a joy to learn, grow
and thrive under their tutelage.
Until next week, stay warm and keep plenty of vitamin D3 on hand
until winter is over!
Rather than continue the Naturopathic Principles this week,
since this is most likely my final Thanksgiving here, I want to
share what I am thankful for both here at NUHS and in my life.
Thank you all for indulging me this week.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Naturopathic Interns of the NUHS
Whole Health Center - Lombard!
Just a few things that I am thankful for...
In my life...
That just about does it this week! Hope each of you has a
wonderful Thanksgiving and are with the ones you love! I'll
continue next week with the Naturopathic Principles.
This week I'll start a series on naturopathic medical
Here at NUHS we are fortunate to have Dr. Louise
Edwards as the cornerstone instructor for the philosophical
portion of our medical education. Dr. Edwards has developed a
strong curriculum that incorporates all of the ideas I will be
discussing over the next few weeks. With her permission, her words
will appear verbatim in this blog where the circumstances are most
prudent to do so. This week, I'll begin with the basics, the
Naturopathic Model and our primary goal as naturopathic
Naturopathy is treating suffering (pathos) according to the laws
of nature, using natural means.
We, as students and interns, are trained to use the most
natural, least invasive methods that are within our scope of
practice to help our patients return to a state of health. If
higher force interventions are necessary to help our patients heal,
then we will refer to a specialist for co-management, just as any
other primary care provider would do.
The Naturopathic Model
Through recognizing and working within the Naturopathic Model,
we are able to determine the root cause or "center of gravity" of a
patient's divergence from a state of health. With an understanding
of the root cause, we can then implement the naturopathic
therapeutic order, which I will discuss in coming weeks.
Re-Establish the Basis for Health
Finally, our primary goal as naturopathic doctors is to
"re-establish the basis for health."
We accomplish this through correcting the disturbing factors
impacting a patient's healthy state of being. The patient's
disturbing factors can also be described as their "Determinants of
Health." Next week, I'll discuss these determinants and how they
impact a patient's health, over the short and long term.
The autumn finally settled in here in Illinois this past week
with crisp mornings and warm days. The trees have shifted in color
just a bit on their topmost branches and I expect that we will see
the full blossoming of autumn in the next two or three weeks.
This week I'll talk a bit about botanical medicine and our
skillset that is developed both in our botanical medicine courses
as well as in clinical practice. Botanicals are powerful tools in
the naturopathic doctor's toolbox; proper instruction, use and
avoidance are necessary to effectively help others with this form
of our eclectic approach to medicine.
LaKisha Brandon (9th Tri), Darius Lembert (10th Tri), and
Joclyn Davis (9th Tri)
formulating and dispensing a custom tincture from our clinic
My definition of botanical medicine is using plants and their
constituent chemicals to help others heal. To that end we have a
series of four botanical medicine courses before and during our
clinical rotations here at NUHS to prepare us as new practitioners
out in practice.
Dr. Lorinda Sorensen and Dr. Fraser Smith (Dean of Naturopathic
Medicine) guide our ND students skillfully through this course
sequence in a way that prepares our future docs with a wealth of
information. We study the habitat, harvesting methods, parts of the
plants that are used, and proper preparation from harvest to
medicine. We are taught interactions (both beneficial and
dangerous) with pharmaceutical drugs. Finally, we learn the proper
times to use and avoid any botanical medicine, as well as the
proper dosage method, amount and timing.
When in clinic, we custom prepare our own tinctures based upon
the needs of the patient. We utilize the variety of professionally
prepared, medicinal grade botanical preparations at our disposal in
the clinic dispensary. We combine our botanical medicines with
other therapies that can help our patients on the path to a return
to their basis of health. This could be a quick turnaround or could
take some time depending upon the pathology and methodologies
utilized in the treatment plan. Through learning botanical medicine
at NUHS, I feel that we are well prepared to enter our practices
with a solid botanical skillset.
This week, I'll take a look at another of the skills that
Naturopathic Interns need to master prior to graduation:
Hydrotherapy treatments that we perform with the patients in our
clinic as well as training patients for hydrotherapy they can do at
Some of the reasons that people would visit our clinic for
...just to name a few.
As we sit with each patient, gather the symptom picture,
understand all facets of the patient's case, and work toward the
center of gravity (or root cause) of the patient's complaint, we
work with our clinicians to establish the best treatment strategy
for our patients. Sometimes, this treatment plan includes a form of
After determining if hydrotherapy is appropriate and beneficial
for our patient, we refer the patient to our hydrotherapy shift,
which consists of our 7th trimester ND students. This is one of the
best aspects of our program here at NUHS. Our students are not only
being exposed to the clinic environment, but they are working in
clinic under the direct supervision of a clinician as an observer
at the halfway point in their education here, getting practical
experience outside the classroom. That aside, we refer the patient
with treatment plan to the hydro shift where "in office"
hydrotherapy treatments such as these are performed.
Dr. Kristina Conner - ND Faculty
Finally, the high quality of hydrotherapy care here at NUHS is
the direct result of the skill and knowledge shared by Dr. Kristina
Conner, who teaches our hydrotherapy classes in the tradition of
Father Kneipp and Dr. Henry Lindlahr, both pioneers of naturopathic
medicine. Dr. Conner has perhaps the most thorough labs that I have
experienced here at NUHS. We are immediately thrust into
treatment in a lab setting, learning the skills that are necessary
for accurate diagnosis and application of hydrotherapy treatments.
As a result, when we start performing hydrotherapy treatments in
the clinic, we are prepared for our patients. Hydrotherapy, a
powerful treatment option, is one of the more solid skillsets I
will take with me from NUHS.
I will cover more of our naturopathic intern skillsets in the
coming weeks. Until then, I'll be by Janse pond.
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
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