Collaborative integration: One naturopathic student’s plan for team-based healing
Member Spotlight: Erin Conlon
By Kelsey Misbrener, AIHM Membership Manager
Erin Conlon joined AIHM to set herself up for success after schooling.
“I appreciate that AIHM provides a platform where I can meet people who will be my colleagues and be able to facilitate these relationships now so they will be in place when I’m in practice,” Erin said.
Erin is starting her master’s degree in integrative medical research this fall at National College of Naturopathic Medicine. She’ll be a dual-degree student, doing the doctoral program and her own research on women’s health.
Erin grew up in California, and felt certain she was going to have a career in physical therapy. She got her undergraduate degree, worked at a few physical therapy clinics, and realized quickly this wasn’t her passion.
She took a job at Apple, Inc., which allowed her to work in many different realms, including clinic management.
“I realized I wanted to be more hands-on,” Erin said. “I wanted to be the practitioner in charge. I wanted to really be involved with the patients and help provide options for them.”
Next, she spent a year in South America as a midwife’s assistant, and fell in love with natural medicine.
She remembers thinking, “There’s got to be something like this back home.” Sure enough, there was. She found NCNM, and decided to pursue a degree in naturopathic medicine.
“When [medicine] is successful, it’s going to reside in the realm of integrative medicine,” Erin said.
Successful medicine also means collaborative medicine to Erin. Her goal is the best patient outcomes, and she realizes to achieve the best outcomes, she needs to work in a team.
After she finishes school, she will be an expert in naturopathic medicine, but she will have limited expertise in the other integrative disciplines. She is looking forward to collaborating with other experts.
“Tapping into that knowledge base from other people who are technically experts in their areas is going to give me the opportunity to provide my patients with all of the options in order to give them the best care possible,” Erin said.
Erin will continue to learn more about other fields in September when she goes to Haiti with Naturopaths Without Borders, a nonprofit group that provides Naturopathic medical care to communities in northern Haiti.