About this Episode
In the fourth episode of the Nutrition Education and Racial Disparities in Health podcast, our guest is Dr. Michelle Simon, a naturopathic doctor and the president of the board for the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM). With Dr. Simon, we discuss how naturopathic medicine embodies a systematic approach to health that is focused on finding solutions to unique, individual problems. And at the heart of this approach is optimizing diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. In this conversation, we explore the potential of the natural approach to health for making real, long-lasting changes in the lives of people who struggle gaining access to the highest forms of healthcare.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a “solutions-centric” system of medicine guided by the therapeutic order which, according to INM, “delineates the natural sequence and prioritization of care, providing the greatest benefit with the least potential for side effects.” Naturopathic doctors attend accredited naturopathic medical colleges and are trained to provide primary care for all individuals.
Creating A Healthier Community
Dr. Simon describes the importance of public education, a large focus at INM, to teach community members about naturopathic options, about how the body works, and what chronic conditions certain individuals may be vulnerable to based on a set of common risk factors. Additionally, naturopathic doctors like Dr. Simon promote the use of food to address chronic conditions many individuals face, education that is especially important for individuals lacking access to healthcare, health education, and the resources to obtain expensive solutions to health problems.
“Health is not just the freedom from disease, but it’s the opportunity to achieve whatever your goals are.” – Michelle Simon, PhD, ND
Dr. Michelle Simon is a licensed naturopathic physician practicing in Seattle, Washington. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
When not seeing patients, Dr. Simon focuses her time with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. She is President and Chair of the Board for the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM) a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating consumers about natural medicine. She served on the board of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI). Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee which is part of the Health Technology Assessment Program (HTA). This practitioner panel examines the scientific evidentiary basis for efficacy, safety, and cost effectiveness in the evaluation of healthcare technologies for coverage determinations for state purchased healthcare. Dr. Simon was chosen to be an Ambassador from the naturopathic medicine profession to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM). The AIHM is an international, inter-professional organization that educates and trains clinicians in integrative health and medicine. Dr. Simon consults for Nurahealth, a social purpose company dedicated to delivering cost effective integrated medicine options for employer-based healthcare systems and Heartland Superfoods along with being Clinic Director for Healthwise Integrative Medicine.