Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor (Part 2)

Humbling Start

School for Naturopathic Medicine…was…hard. I was embarrassed to admit it. After all I had a 3.8 GPA from an Ivy League university and honors in molecular biology. Why was this so tough?! It was a humbling experience to say the least.

Then, one day, when I was sure I had just failed my gross anatomy exam, I walked out of the basement anatomy lab. I stepped out into the sunlight (rare for Seattle). There I saw a group of students in their mindfulness and meditation class sitting in a circle and meditating. There was a calm smile on their lips. I couldn’t help but smile too. This was why I was here. I wanted the rigors of a stellar education AND the heart of holistic healing.


I couldn’t get science out of my head though. So I decided to delay my naturopathic school graduation to 5 years instead of the standard 4 and spent the extra time getting involved in research. I started by working on the chemical characterization of herbal extracts but then quickly found a strong interest in probiotics and researching the gut.

In my final years of naturopathic school I joined up with a superb international research team and have been working with them ever since.

Over the years, my research interests have focused heavily on probiotics. You can see some of my research here.

My research gained immediate attention and I was soon asked to present and speak nationally and internationally on this research. Additionally, my alma mater invited me to join as adjunct faculty teaching evidence-based medicine among other things.

I loved it all. I was practicing collaboratively with an MD at the time in a family practice clinic. I enjoyed seeing families and people with so many different conditions every day. It was exciting. I particularly appreciated working in collaboration. We were combining the best of natural and conventional medicine and it was fantastic. This is a philosophy I continue to hold dear today.

Focusing on IBS

However, despite loving every moment of it, I found myself moving more and more towards my focus and fascination with the gut. I was seeing such incredible improvement in our clinic with our Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) patients in particular that I decided that I needed to dive into this and focus exclusively on gut health moving forward.

So, my wife and I took a hard look at our lives and where we wanted to be. We checked in with our values and we decided to start over. We left a wonderful community and coworkers in Seattle to move closer to family in Colorado and start a new clinic focusing on the natural approaches to gut health.

About the Author

Dr. Goldenberg is a clinician, professor, and researcher focusing on natural approaches to gut health specifically IBS.

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