Dr. Jillian Finker, Naturopathic Doctor
Interview on December 11, 2018 by Dr. Kurt Beil
1. Where did you go to school and when did you graduate?
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM), Graduated in 2003.
2. Why did you want to become a Naturopathic Doctor?
Growing up, I wanted to become an MD. I was always interested in the sciences, biology, etc… My mom was a nurse, so I was very familiar with working in the healthcare industry and knew that is what I wanted to do. When I talked to her about potentially going to allopathic medical school, she told me she did not think I would be happy. She felt that I would not be able to spend enough time with patients. At the same time, I had some health issues in my 20’s due to the birth control pill and I went to a chiropractor. He helped me get of the pill and healed all my health conditions. I asked him about his career as a chiropractor and if he thought I should pursue that too. He actually told me “No, I’m going back to school to be a naturopathic doctor. You should look into that, I think you will like it.” He was just beginning his studies at SCNM, so I looked into it (at the Library, because of course Google didn’t exist back then!) and it fit exactly what I was looking for. I applied, was accepted, and never looked back.
3. What health conditions or patient populations do you focus on, and what do you like about working with these groups?
I mostly work with women to balance their hormones (e.g. PMS, menopause, infertility). I love doing this work because these women respond really well to naturopathic medicine, and because they are not able to get this kind of support anywhere else. It is very rewarding to bring their hormones and all of the associated symptoms into a state of health and balance. I also love working with people that have mood disorders, like depression and anxiety. These are so common, especially when underlying conditions like thyroid imbalances are present. They also respond really well to naturopathic interventions. Since these conditions can be so debilitating, there are a lot of things that can be done that aren’t addressed by the conventional medical system.
4. What is the most valuable thing that you have learned while being an ND?
There is always hope that someone can get better. Before going into this field, certain diagnoses were scary because you hear about X condition and how damaging it can be, and how a person can live their whole life without getting any relief. Since being in this field, I have seen so many of these conditions improve, challenging conditions like pancreatic cancer or lupus. We do not always cure them completely, but the benefits that we can bring to people are astounding. I am still amazed after all these years that the little things that we do can have such positive effects.
5. What do you wish you had known when you were just starting out in practice?
I wish I had known how important it was to pick a location and grow from there. I moved around a lot when I was first getting established and patients got frustrated with the relocations. Not to mention that once you are established it is hard to leave. Therefore, it is best to find where you want to be and build from there, so patients can grow your practice with you.
6. What brought you to practice in New York?
I grew up here, in Plainview (Long Island), where I did my residency. I was not planning on coming back home to practice. I started with the intention to move to California, but after graduation I ran into a naturopathic doctor who was practicing here in NY and she offered me a residency position. I have been practicing for over 15 years currently in Bellmore, NY and I have made New York my home.
7. Practicing in a pre-licensed state can be challenging as an ND, especially in New York where there is no access to specialty lab testing. What are some of the ways that you’ve worked with or around these issues?
I work with different primary care doctors who align themselves with our methods of practice. They will order different tests that I recommend for patients, and we refer patients back and forth to make sure all of their needs are met. I do also have an office in Connecticut where patients can see me occasionally if we need to.
8. Is there any new treatment or health condition you are working with that has you super excited right now?
I’m pretty excited about the potential for Thermography screening to use as a diagnostic tool. Some of the research shows its potential for detecting many different conditions, like cancer of course but also other things like Lyme disease, which is of course a huge issue in our area. Patients have to come see me in Connecticut for that unfortunately, but I’m very hopeful that licensure for NDs will happen very soon and change all of that!
9. Anything else you would like to share?
Just that I think naturopathic medicine is THE most effective way to heal the body. It has such incredible potential to bring a patient back to health, in a way no other branch of medicine has the ability to do. It is so exciting to be able to do this work. That is not to say what we do is not tough. It absolutely is, especially here in New York. It is probably the most challenging way to practice naturopathic medicine in the US, because of our licensure issues. However, it is also the most rewarding, because of the ways that we are able to help people. We need to remember the important work that we do, and that there are many of us out there doing it. It is a special group that we are a part of, and the comradery that comes from getting together is an incredibly valuable thing that helps us all. It certainly keeps me going!
Dr. Jillian Finker, ND, CNS
Finker Wellness, Inc.
2308 Bellmore Avenue
Bellmore, NY 11710
It’s About Wellness, Naturally: http://amzn.to/15CRdbX
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