Tim provided the Graduate Address at the June 2020 Commencement ceremony and represented the UWS Graduate Studies students.
Tell us about what you have been up to since graduation? What are you doing now?
I founded a startup called Clove Health, the world’s first public benefit corporation that provides membership-based, virtual primary care and health coaching from a functional medicine perspective to at-risk populations. Additionally, I was recently promoted to the director of academic communications at American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA), a health, nutrition and fitness certification agency. This role involves developing academic curriculum for the company’s certification programs, creating course materials, and providing support and guidance to students. I am also in the process of forming the Root Cause Congress, a political action committee (PAC) that provides support to candidates who promote the principles of functional medicine and seek to address the root cause of systemic dysfunction within the health care system. Further, I was recently accepted into a Doctor of Education (EdD) program with a focus in community care and counseling.
Right now, I’m focused on building these organizations and furthering my education. In the near future, I would also like to begin teaching fundamental coursework in the health sciences space at the collegiate level.
When you look back at your experience at UWS, what stands out as the best part?
While there are numerous advantageous aspects of the program, the fact that each course deeply integrates functional medicine principles and emphasizes the translation of evidence and theory to practice is what stands out as the best part.
How did your time at UWS prepare you for your career and life?
My experience at UWS was nothing short of monumentally life-altering. My initial intentions and goals morphed significantly throughout the program as a direct result of immersing myself into the research and evidence presented throughout the program. I gained a breadth of technical, practical and theoretical knowledge that I have been able to apply in both my personal and professional lives. I was also able to form meaningful connections with some of my classmates and faculty members.
What made you choose UWS over other schools?
I spent a couple of years researching various graduate programs in nutrition and biomedical sciences before ultimately deciding to apply to UWS. One of the biggest appeals to me was the evidence-based approach and scientific rigor of the program. Additionally, the deep integration of functional medicine principles throughout the program and strategic partnership with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) that is exclusive to UWS seemed very distinguished.
What made you decide on this education and career path?
I grew up in a family that was plagued by chronic, autoimmune and malignant disease, so I saw the downstream effects of poor health from a very young age. When I was in middle school, my mom began her weight loss journey, inspiring me to learn more about nutrition and fitness. This inspired me to attend a vocational high school to study nursing and become a personal trainer. After graduating, I worked in a cardiovascular telemetry unit in my community hospital. I quickly realized the shortcomings and challenges associated with acute care, particularly the lack of a preventive and proactive approach to treating chronic disease. I grew disenchanted with the health care industry and changed careers.
I entered the real estate industry and started a real estate brokerage. During this time, I was hospitalized twice for unexplained hypertensive crises and once for myocarditis. I was struggling with a variety of health issues and vague symptoms that went unexplained for years. Additionally, I lost my grandmother to leukemia.
The combination of all of these experiences are what ultimately reignited my passion for health and wellness, but from a different perspective and with much different intentions. I found that the principles of functional medicine directly overlapped with my personal views on health and with UWS being the only graduate program with a functional medicine focused curriculum, it just seemed like a natural fit.
What was your favorite part about the online format of the program?
This may not be the popular opinion (and I’m sure many of my classmates would think I’m crazy for saying this), but I really appreciated the expectation to regularly source, identify, assess and translate research as it related to each assignment. Although time-consuming, the opportunity to build a skill set related to objective inquiry and translate research has benefits that extend far beyond the educational experience.
What are some of your passions and how have they influenced your career?
I’m a huge nerd, especially when it comes to health sciences, so I’m very fortunate to be at a place where my passions, hobbies and career intersect. I’m particularly interested in precision public health practice, prevention science and public policy related to health, nutrition and health access. I also consider myself to be an advocate and activist for health equity and social justice.