Hormonal Health with Dr. Carrie Jones, ND, MPH
Q: What originally sparked your interest to pursue a medical career?
A: I have known since I was a little kid that I wanted to be a doctor and that I wanted to specialize in women’s health. I originally went the allopathic route in college as I didn’t know about naturopathic medicine but decided after working in 2 hospitals, it wasn’t the route for me. When I moved to Oregon, I got a job working for the naturopathic medical school there (NUNM) and realized very quickly THAT was the school I needed to attend.
Q: In your own words, can you explain to me what you do within the field of Naturopathic Medicine?
A: My entire goal is education. I was in a very successful, very busy private practice for many years that focused on endocrinology and gynecology with a few men’s health patients thrown in to help out their wives. I loved every minute and felt that I made a difference. I also taught at NUNM as adjunct faculty for a number of years teaching the gynecology lab and advanced endocrinology. Education and teaching was a passion for me and now I have traded private practice for the position of Medical Director at a functional hormone lab (DUTCH Test) and now I can help educate about hormones and the endocrine scale on an even grander scale.
Q: I see that you have been the Medical Director for two large integrative clinics in Portland and now you are the Medical Director for Precision Analytical! How did you decide to move away from seeing patients and move towards consulting with health care practitioners all over the world?
A: It was a slow process because I loved patient care so much and really enjoyed all of my patients over the years. The owner of the lab first approached me to try his test on my patients. That led to me doing consulting on the side for him, then I worked part-time in the lab and part-time in patient care and eventually I became the Medical Director full-time. I do miss direct patient care but I love consulting with practitioners all over the world about their cases and creating or being a part of educational platforms to help practitioners and patients understand hormones much easier.
Q: What drives your passion to work in the field of Medicine?
A: I joke that this is the only thing that I know and it’s what I’m good at. The field of hormones and endocrinology is so fascinating and then when you apply all the naturopathic principles to it, you find that people on the receiving end really do so much better and thrive! It’s all about addressing the cause and taking an individualized approach to a case and I feel that was a huge part of my naturopathic education. Watching people change their live's and watching dots connect or light bulbs go on when I educate is what drives my passion. I couldn’t imagine being in any other field of medicine.
Q: Having a background in both Naturopathic Medicine and Functional Medicine, can you explain to me how they differ or how they are similar?
A: I think Naturopathic and Functional medicine are both so similar and so different. I feel that my naturopathic education taught me many things including functional medicine at its core but functional medicine isn’t teaching naturopathic at its core. It’s difficult to put into words but my allopathic friends learning functional medicine often wished they had learned more naturopathic fundamentals because when we compare notes, there are just some concepts or core beliefs not part of a functional medicine curriculum. I’m really grateful that functional medicine is here and people often understand the concept of functional medicine better, but I am glad that I am a naturopathic doctor at heart.
Q: In the past, when working closely to educate people about their hormones, what did you learn from your patients?
A: I learned that when it’s my turn to redesign the female body, I’m going to make some changes to things like vaginal dryness, losing your libido as you age, and the chaos of perimenopause to start. I learned that when women tell me they don’t feel “normal,” they are right despite what alleged “normal” lab tests say. I learned that all women have a story and if you listen to their story, you can often pinpoint the why or the what that is causing a lot of their symptoms, but you have to be willing to ask and then listen. I learned that sometimes women just need someone to talk to, someone to reassure them that they got this and are doing their best. That right there can be better than any supplement or hormone.
Q: Where do you see the future of medicine as a whole?
A: As a whole, I see people demanding changes to the current model of healthcare and wanting to actually get healthy instead of being prescribed pharmaceuticals for everything. I see more doctors wanting to learn to think and act more in line with a functional/holistic/naturopathic manner or at least accept its validity and necessity in helping people get well. I see the field of naturopathic medicine continuing to grow because we are the doctors of the future!
Q: Is there something that you would like to share with our readers?
A: Having reviewed a HUGE number of adrenal and sex hormone results with practitioners over the years, my advice would be: physician heal thyself. If you don’t take care of you, how do you expect to fully and properly take care of other people? And if you’re reading this and in medical school, start your self-care practice right now!
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