Richard Esquivel, OMD, LAc, MS

HNFM Course Facilitator

Richard Esquivel head shot

Program & Concentration: Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

Graduation Year: June 2017

Prior Education or Experience: Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist since 2002, Owner of San Jose Functional Medicine clinic since 2009

Academic Biography –

1990: BA in Philosophy, U.C. Berkeley

2002: Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Five Branches University, Santa Cruz, Calif.

2003: Diplomate of National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics, Lerner Education, Cedars Sinai, Calif.

2007: Doctorate in Oriental Medicine, South Baylo University, Anaheim, Calif.

2017: Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, UWS

When you were in school, how did you envision your future work in the field of functional and integrative medicine?  

In my early education, I was not even aware the field of functional medicine existed and I envisioned myself as practicing primarily Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine). It was not until I was in practice a number of years that I discovered functional medicine. Because of the importance functional medicine places in getting to the root cause of health conditions by modifying diet, nutrition and lifestyle choices, I discovered it could be used both in preventative medicine as well as in the management of chronic conditions, making it a very powerful and attractive alternative to conventional care. As I embarked on my study of functional medicine, I envisioned myself empowering patients to make choices in their diet and lifestyle that would set them on a path to true healing.

What made you decide on this education and career path?

After being in practice a few years, I realized the limits of what ancient medicine can offer people suffering from chronic conditions in the modern world of poor diet and nutrition, high-pace and stressful lives and daily environmental toxicity exposures. After I became aware of functional medicine and what it could offer my patients suffering from their chronic conditions, I realized this was the type of approach many of my patients needed in order to provide real solutions to their problems, rather than just treating the symptoms.

What course are you currently facilitating at UWS? 

MSN6300: Biotransformation and Detoxification

What is your favorite part of teaching this subject matter? 

Observing students learn about the vast amount of environmental toxins we are all exposed to on a daily basis which starts in-utero, before we are even born (yes, they have found hundreds of toxic compounds in umbilical cord blood of pregnant women) and watching as students formulate treatment plans to address this toxic overload in the patients they will be working with in the near future. Students are usually amazed at the large number of toxins we are all exposed to and are often able to draw correlations in personal toxic exposures, or those of close friends or family, and the subsequent development of conditions that have been associated with those exposures in the research literature.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Observing students dig deep into their chosen or assigned topics of study, discover new information that they had not known previously and draw interesting connections between what they find in the research and what they know about themselves, their family or friends or clients they have previously worked with.

What was the most valuable pearl of wisdom you learned from UWS?

– Be aware of our biases, which typically run very deep.

– Perhaps it is not about more information but the ‘right’ information, which requires discernment and wisdom.

– “Wisdom comes from the body and understanding how it works and taking the time to evaluate the latest literature to develop a working model from which we can try to help others.” – Bryan Walsh, ND.

What is your advice to current HNFM students?

Dig deep in your research endeavors in this program and you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of the concepts presented. It’s not difficult to get through the program by meeting the minimum requirements for a passing grade, however, this should not be the goal. Strive to excel at every learning opportunity given and you will not only gain a deeper understanding of the concepts but you will radiate knowledge when you encounter your patients and inspire trust and confidence in your ability to help them.