Naturopathic doctors are trained at four-year, post-graduate, accredited medical institutions. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, a naturopathic doctor (ND) is required to complete four years of training in holistic and nontoxic approaches to treatment with a strong emphasis on disease prevention, such as nutrition and lifestyle modifications and in-depth lab testing and diagnosis. 

Naturopathic doctors learn how to integrate the principles of naturopathic medicine into clinical practice through training that consists of a minimum of 4,100 hours, of which no less than 2,500 hours are academic training and 1,200 hours are supervised clinical training. They take rigorous national board exams (NPLEX) to be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care physician. Additionally, NDs are required 60 hours in continuing education to be eligible for each license renewal. 

After licensure, NDs can choose to apply for the small number of residency positions available; typically a 1-2 year family medicine training at approved residency clinic sites. However, due to the lack of funding, there is a shortage of available residency positions, so most graduates either join an existing practice or start their own. 

As Live Well Clinic has grown over the past 14 years, it was time to further support the naturopathic profession by bringing on residents. Through a partnership with INM Residency Consortium, our clinic applied and was approved as a residency site. We started accepting resident doctors in 2018. Because naturopathic residencies are not funded by Medicare/Medicaid dollars like conventional medical residencies, this limits availability of these positions, as many small clinics are not able to afford the cost associated with training and paying a resident. 

Live Well Clinic recognizes the importance of supporting the next generation of naturopathic doctors through residency opportunities. The clinic is honored to be the first ND residency site in the Coachella Valley, giving new medical students opportunity to further their training as primary care doctors in our community. 

This year, we welcome first-year resident Delaney Quick, ND who received her BS in biology at the University of Washington and a doctorate of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University San Diego. Dr. Quick is excited to start her medical career in the Coachella Valley where she grew up visiting her grandmother and great-grandmother and has always felt at home. She started her journey as a patient of a naturopathic doctor and became enthralled with the simple, yet powerful healing tools utilized in the field, such as targeted treatment plans based on tangible lab results, diet and lifestyle interventions and the healing power of nature. 

Quick’s specific areas of interest are women’s health and hormone management, metabolic conditions and prevention of their sequelae, mental and emotional wellness and opportunities for patient education and motivation. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge in integrative oncology and regenerative medicine. She is an avid hiker, has completed the 220-mile John Muir Trail in Eastern Sierra Nevada and has hiked extensively throughout Patagonia and New Zealand. 

Dr. Sonja Fung is a primary care naturopathic doctor with a focus on integrative cancer care and PRP regenerative joint injections at Live Well Clinic in La Quinta. For more information, call (760) 771.5970 or visit www.livewellclinic.org

Sources available upon request.

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