A Doctor That Thinks Like You
Dr. VICKIE MODICA
Medical School: Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington – a four-year medical school and the world’s leading accredited university in the natural health sciences
Undergraduate: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. High honors degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology
Trained as a primary care physician – using both conventional and naturopathic medicine
Worked as a primary care physician
Expertise in the prevention and/or treatment of digestive disorders like IBS, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, PCOS, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and dementias such as Alzheimer’s. See the conditions page for more info
I didn't learn about Naturopathic Medicine until I was in my mid-thirties and already feeling a lifetime of living the standard American lifestyle. Medically speaking, I was looking for something different. The conventional medical advice I was receiving either wasn't helping or came with too many side effects. I did some research and learned about Naturopathic medicine with its individualized approach to finding and eliminating the cause of illness. Honestly, I was curious but resistant - maybe it would be too "woo woo" for me? Eventually, I made an appointment with an ND and became an instant fan; my new doctor listened and provided what seemed to me logical, gentle recommendations, without the addictiveness of the medications I had been offered up until then. I jumped in and in no time I decided to leave my career in high-tech and pursue a Naturopathic degree myself.
I attended Bastyr University in the Seattle area, the nation’s leading natural medicine institution. The education is deeply rooted in science, which I really resonated with. I was fascinated with cardio-metabolic diseases (like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease) - what causes them and how they act in the body, insidiously taking away our health and quality of life. I steeped myself in understanding how to prevent, reduce, and even reverse these illnesses with pharmaceuticals, yes, but much more so with common-sense diet and lifestyle interventions.
After graduation, I worked at Red Cedar Wellness Center in Bellevue, WA, as a primary care physician, mostly seeing adults with chronic digestive disorders, cardio-metabolic disease, and cancer. I also spent a year in a conventional cancer clinic working alongside a medical oncologist, adjunctively treating patients undergoing chemotherapy. My interests tend to be centered around diabetes and other reversible symptoms of metabolic diseases such as high cholesterol and triglycerides, PCOS, dementia, fatigue, and digestive disorders.
Having returned, at least part-time, to Michigan where Naturopathic medicine is not licensed, I no longer practice medicine, per se. Rather, I provide intensive naturopathic consultative services to people who are looking for something more, like I was.
If you too are looking to get to the root cause of what ails you and want a holistic approach to protect or regain your health you have come to the right place. Let’s work together to get you back on track with solutions that will not only provide fruitful results but will also help you feel younger, stronger, and more resilient.
Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are unique in that they are trained in both conventional and natural medicines. We are the archetype of Integrative and Functional medicines combining the scientific rigor of modern medicine with the safety and gentleness of natural medicine. At the end of our training and licensure we can practice as primary care physicians (in licensing states-see below), just like your family doc, but with the difference that we generally tend to use natural remedies and lifestyle changes before prescriptions.
What does this mean for you?
Naturopaths seek diligently to uncover the cause of your illness and get rid of it. Treating the underlying cause stands in contrast to the "pill for ailment" approach of conventional medicine that serves to cover or suppress symptoms rather than cure them. While suppression can be helpful short-term (for emergencies and symptom relief), long-term symptom suppression alone does not serve the greater cause of your health and quality of life. Pills rarely cure! Rather, they put you on a slippery slope leading to even more medications and invasive medicine.
One of the foundational tenants of Naturopathy is that your body has an amazing ability to heal and it is our job to harness that ability by:
addressing the cause(s) of your illness - by listening to you, and through detailed health history and functional lab testing
giving your body the tools to heal - nutrition, herbs, water, stress management
continued support to help you avoid the dangerous pitfalls of modern lifestyle
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) defines Naturopathic Medicine as follows: "Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods."
Naturopathic Physician Education
Naturopathic Physicians attend four-year medical school programs that have professional and institutional accreditation, as you would expect from any professional degree program and school (eg: law, medicine). The academic programs are accredited by the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The CNME is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, which classifies the ND degree as a Doctorate-Professional degree, on par with MD and DO degrees. The schools are accredited by the governing bodies in their geographic region. For instance, I went to Bastyr University, which is accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) as is the University of Washington.
Science/Medical Education - Naturopathic medical schools provide the same foundational coursework as conventional medical schools - Anatomy & Physiology, Pathophysiology, Lab Sciences, Pharmacology, Diagnosis, Clinical Skills, etc. Additionally, ND programs provide education unique to our treatment approach, emphasizing disease prevention and wellness with additional training in - clinical nutrition, counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, and physical medicines like spinal adjustments, exercise therapy, and massage.
Clinical Education - we receive rigorous, supervised clinical training in Naturopathic teaching clinics, hospitals, and private clinics. ND students must complete 1200 hours of clinical training.
Board Certification - we are required to pass basic science and clinical board exams to be eligible to apply for a license in a state that licenses NDs. These board exams are overseen by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE).
Licensure - Naturopathic medicine is licensed differently state-to-state, as of this writing 26 jurisdictions, 23 states plus the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing or registration laws for naturopathic doctors (NDs/NMDs). Michigan does not currently license Naturopathic physicians, therefore my naturopathic practice is limited to extensive professional health consultations only. All advice and or statements given to patients in the state of Michigan are from the perspective of a qualified health consultant and are not intended to diagnose or treat disease. The Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians is working diligently to obtain naturopathic licensure in Michigan and would love for you to be involved - if you are interested contact the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
There are 5 accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools in the US and 2 in Canada. These schools have met the rigorous U.S. federal educational standards. There are many other "naturopathic" schools and institutions in the US that are NOT accredited (see the next paragraph) and these graduates also call themselves Naturopaths. Knowing what school your ND went to will help you feel confident in their education. Here are the 7 accredited schools:
Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and San Diego, CA
National University of Naturopathic Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, OR
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in Phoenix, AZ
University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT
National University of Health Sciences, Chicago, IL
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, ON
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, New Westminster, BC