After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, Dr. Walker graduated from SCNM and set out to start his career as an ND. He completed a two-year residency at Cancer Treatment Centers of America with a focus on oncology. Dr. Walker is currently practicing in Michigan, which is an unlicensed state.
During a typical week, Dr. Walker spends two days at his private practice and three days at Beaumont Health working exclusively with cancer patients in the integrative medicine department. Beaumont Health System is a regional and national leader in providing health care services, medical education and medical research. Beaumont is Michigan’s largest health care system, with 8 hospitals, 168 health centers, and nearly 5,000 physicians. It contributes to the health and well-being of residents throughout southeast Michigan and beyond.
One of the major benefits of working in the Beaumont system is Dr. Walker’s ability to collaborate with other doctors. “I can communicate closely with their medical oncologists, surgical, and radiation oncologists as they go through treatments.”
Another benefit of these relationships is that these medical doctors provide an important voice for naturopathic medicine in terms of state licensure. They will often speak to legislators and at state senate committees about the positive relationships they have formed with NDs and how this collaboration benefits patients. This is a big step towards licensure in unregulated states.
Dr. Walker states that his oncology-focused residency was a major factor in his success in an unlicensed state. “A lot of times it’s certain specialties that are really at the forefront of integrative medicine and oncology is one. If you were to pick one specialty that is moving in that direction its oncology.” Many major hospitals are incorporating integrative medicine in some capacity and departments moving towards this approach are often associated specifically with oncology. For graduates looking to work in un-licensed states, finding a hospital with an integrative medicine department is an excellent option.
Dr. Walker said his career as an ND has been fulfilling due to his ability to help patients with a serious condition like cancer. He says, “Patients, they feel supported.” He has the ability to spend more time with patients in order to individualize their care using evidence based treatment approaches. Patients as well as MDs are excited about the contribution naturopathic doctors are making to cancer treatment.
As an alumnus, Dr. Walker is an excellent example of what a difference in the world an SCNM graduate can make.