Tell us about what you have been up to since graduation? What are you doing now?
Within a year of graduation, I completed the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential. My internship during the HNFM program turned into a full-time position at a women’s health medical practice that had a nutrition department inside. In my three years working under the mentorship of the clinic’s owner, I was able to acquire excellent clinical skills and get my name out into the community. This has allowed me to now open my own practice which has been a very rewarding experience. I couldn’t ask for more!
When you look back at your experience at UWS, what stands out as the best part?
Getting to learn from the brightest minds in this field was a special treat. The online format lends itself well to guest lectures and materials, so I was able to incorporate my professor’s teaching with the clinical insights and practical applications from the most experienced and knowledgeable clinicians in functional medicine.
How did your time at UWS prepare you for your career and life?
This program on my resume was what turned a shadowing session into a job opportunity. The functional medicine-minded owners at my job were thrilled to see formal training in the field and asked me to join the team nine months before graduating because of the unique credential. The educational experience prepared me for the transition to a practicing clinician by not only including the physiology and biochemistry, but also in-depth information on research and treatment options. My first day seeing clients in the office, I was able to select evidence-based therapies to improve my clients’ health because lifestyle, diet or supplements were all covered at some point in each course. Finally, it has changed my life by teaching me to think critically when evaluating research or treatment options and to have flexibility and humility in my approach, as nutrition is still a young science. This mindset will allow me to remain a cutting-edge practitioner with high success rates.
What made you choose UWS over other schools?
I had been following several functional medicine practitioners for many years before applying and knew that was the type of health care I wanted to be a part of. While I did seriously consider two other programs, the UWS affiliation with the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) gave me the most confidence in the quality and direction of the education I would be receiving.
What made you decide on this education and career path?
I became interested in finding the root cause of illness during my teens, when my mom went through years of testing and constant doctor’s visits to arrive at a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I then became sick in college from international travel, which did not resolve upon returning home. A few years later, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and never felt understood by my conventional doctors. After dramatically improving my health through my own research, I started to help loved ones with their health. This fueled a passion to be someone that those with chronic disease and mysterious symptoms could turn to and find empathy and hope for regaining function. However, I quickly realized that my n=1 experiment would not be enough to help everyone around me; I needed a deeper understanding of how the body worked. I also desired an initial credibility so that I could help strangers. Entering a program that would allow me to earn the CNS, a nationally recognized credential, was a priority for my educational path.
What was your favorite part about the online format of the program?
I really loved having the lecture slides. During an in-person class, the student takes notes on the lecture, but with the online format, we have the exact wording, conclusions, research studies and everything the faculty member wanted us to take away from the course. I am still constantly referring back to the course slides and imagine that I will for years to come.
What are some of your passions and how have they influenced your career?
I am passionate about my faith and this career allows me to love and serve others so that they are able to fulfill their purpose for their lives. I am also passionate about spreading the message of mind-body medicine, as people do not realize how much they influence their health through their thoughts and emotions. I have found this to be the one area that is overlooked by other practitioners and is the most likely reason why a client did not experience improvement on a previous diet or supplement protocol, so it can be an exciting breakthrough moment when we address it together. Each class in the program incorporated mind-body medicine, which I really appreciated.