The ND Will See You Now: Anna Bausum, ND

Anna Bausum, ND

The following is a transcript of Season 1, Episode 1 of The ND Will See You Now, a podcast by the Institute for Natural Medicine.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This transcript of the podcast interview has been edited for clarity.  The opinions of the host and guests on this podcast are their own and do not represent INM. This podcast and its respective transcript and social media posts do not constitute medical advice; and, are not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any conditions or diseases. This podcast and its respective content are for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor before implementing any changes to your care. If you would like to find a naturopathic doctor (ND), please see our Find an ND directory. To find a naturopathic doctor who specializes in cancer care, please visit OncANP, the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP).

Anna-Liza Badaloo (AL): Hi there, and welcome to the Institute for Natural Medicine’s podcast, The ND Will See You Now. In this podcast, we talk to naturopathic doctors across North America about their whole-person approach to health, what patients can expect, and why their work is so vital to patient health. I’m your host, Anna-Liza, and today, I am just delighted to speak with naturopathic doctor, Anna Bausum. Dr. Bausum has the distinction of being the very first naturopathic doctor (ND) to be hired at the prestigious Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and specifically at their Winship Cancer Institute. A big focus of her work is—you probably already guessed it—integrative cancer care. Thanks for joining us today, Dr. Bausum!

Dr. Anna Bausum, ND (AB): Thank you so much for having me and for everyone tuning in. Thank you for lending your ear eye to this interview as well.

AL: Integrative cancer care is a big topic and an important one. Let’s just dive right into it. So being a naturopathic doctor who focuses on integrative cancer care, you have noted that conventional oncology care may not address some important fundamentals needed for individuals to really thrive at all stages, not just the beginning but at all stages of cancer care. So, perhaps you can expand on that a little bit for us. What is the impact on cancer patients when these fundamentals are missed? And what does naturopathic medicine really have to offer cancer patients?

AB: Gladly, so I landed at Emory in this role and the area of naturopathic medicine and integrative oncology because all of my medical experiences and shadowing work up until the point when I chose this field left me seeing patients asking, ‘Hey Doc, what else can I do?’

Adding a supplement, a complementary therapy, or functional foods into the diet—or even just asking what are some of the ways to help reduce stress and augment a patient lifestyle to improve the quality of life—can help in the recovery from cancer-related surgery and perhaps from the long-lasting effects of chemotherapeutics. In their survivorship space, these therapies can help optimize how someone is feeling. But also, help optimize in boosting and bolstering their bodies to help reduce the risk of the cancer from coming back in the future.

So, this is an exciting opportunity here—not only in my role as an integrative oncology specialist here at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute but also in a brand-new Integrative Oncology and Survivorship Department — to bring this answer to ‘Hey Doc, what else can I do?’ to patients and provide them a space to ask it and get a confident, subject-matter expertise answer.

And it’s just a really exciting time for not only the department to come into the space but also to bring everything under one house to collaborate with other professional colleagues. Be they medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, or surgical oncologists, the research aspect that happens here so robustly, can prospectively look at some of these therapeutics in formalized research settings.

AL: Well, the way you paint it, this is very exciting indeed. That was a lot of varieties of oncologists that you just listed out.

AB: It takes a village, right?

AL: Yeah, we don’t think of an oncology village, do we? But I think that that is, in effect, exactly what’s happening at the Winship Cancer Institute. And before we talk a little bit more about the institute, I just wanted to pick up on something I had heard you mention previously. When we think about going to a naturopathic doctor as opposed to a conventional physician, one of the differences that sometimes patients are a little taken aback by is that in naturopathic medicine, there’s very much an aspect of the patients actively participating in their treatments. And I wonder if you have any comments on what you’re seeing; how are patients experiencing that active participation in the cancer space?

AB: Yes, I think first, to your point, it’s my vision with our Integrative Oncology and Survivorship Department to inspire every patient to become an active participant in their care and feel well. From the point of diagnosis, they’re considered a survivor through their treatment, and we continue to inspire that same participation in their healing and recovery. And the survivorship space really is where we help optimize things and support them and their healing — helping boost their body so the cancer doesn’t come back.

So, this active participation looks a little bit different for everyone. Across the board, I see patients needing not only encouragement but the information for adopting better lifestyle practices around stress management and sleep hygiene— kind of the milieu if you will. I like to describe cancer care as a garden, [with] weeds growing in a garden (the weeds being the cancer). You can pull them out root and stem—that’s surgery. You can burn them out —that’s your radiation. Or you can throw Roundup or some sort of weed killer on it—and that’s chemotherapy. Integrative, be it naturopathic oncology, looks at the quality of the soil, all this is happening in our treatment.

So, patients actively participate in better stress management techniques, adopt more evidence-informed styles of eating, and make the food on their plate work in their favor. Encouraging and providing even exercise classes so that patients have an opportunity to try Tai Chi, yoga, and other forms that engages them actively in feeling well. As well as this one-on-one consultation for saying, ‘Doc, is this supplement great for me?’, and making sure that we’re putting safety at the forefront of those recommendations in a very coordinated fashion. Prospectively we can see, ‘what are your labs?’ ‘What are your latest imaging findings?’ ‘ What are the medicines you’re being given either to take home or here in our infusion bay?’ and let that all work together. So, it’s an ‘and/together’ approach rather than an ‘either/or’, which is what I see patients sometimes think, right? When they say, ‘Hey, can I take this supplement?’, they’re afraid that the doctor will say, ‘No, what are you doing?’. Or, ‘If you take that you’re kind of on your own.’ It’s a way to inspire a whole new realm of empowerment and active participation for everyone who comes through the doors here at our Winship Cancer Institute.

AL: Empowerment is a very important word. And I’m glad that you mentioned that because certainly, many cancer patients do feel the opposite— disempowered at times. So, I think that’s what you’re describing here, and actually—why don’t we just get into our next question here about the Winship Cancer Institute. And I have to say, it’s a pretty big deal, being the first naturopathic doctor, not only at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, as a whole, but at this Winship Cancer Institute. And you’ve given us a bit of a sense of what some of those benefits are—you have your colleagues, your oncology colleagues; they’re right there. It’s a lot easier to collaborate on patient care. It really takes what we generally call an integrative cancer care model and really makes it integrative plus because you’re literally, physically right there in the same building. So, perhaps you can expand on that for us a little bit. Why do you think that the Institute was so keen to have you aboard? And more importantly, what do you think this actually means for patients with cancer?

AB: Gladly. I think that this, in many ways, is the start of many years of conversations and planning in dreaming up how to improve patient care. Because no matter whether you’re working with cancer patients alone in the conventional or the integrative realm, or in other disease groups or diagnoses settings, we really see that patients need and deserve more than just the certain cells in their bodies treated in isolation. That there’s something to whole-person care—that when applied very intentionally, especially in the integrative oncology setting—it helps reduce treatment-related side effects. And, say this example, for instance, in helping reduce treatment-related side effects, we’re helping you not only feel better but get more of the medicine that we know is actively fighting the cancer aggressively, so that we get you to a stage of survivorship.

It’s a new way of integrating things, if you will, not only for integrative oncology but to bring cancer rehab, palliative and supportive care services, and these types of classes to the patient. I’ve even been piloting shared medical appointments where—over the course of 90 minutes—I can bring, say, women with breast cancer of a certain diagnosis or stage of treatment together, and educate them on all the tools in an integrative way. They can then apply these to their diagnosis, their lifestyle, and the way they’re eating, and demystify that process to help them address loneliness and build community in that setting as well—and make a hard thing a little bit better.

AL: Well, I think that’s perhaps the best way that you can say it, to make a hard thing a little bit better. And that’s quite intriguing, what you mentioned about the shared medical appointments. Certainly, for patients, we know it can be challenging to be seeing-a naturopathic physician plus a conventional doctor quite separately. So again, speaking to the true integration of what we’re talking about here, in the same appointment, is really quite something. And that actually leads us to our next question, which is a really important one. We know that there are some patients out there, maybe some listening to us today who have a cancer diagnosis, and who are seeing a conventional cancer doctor, or oncologist, and maybe they’re thinking about naturopathic medicine. Maybe they’ve heard that there may be some benefits. But we know a big concern is ‘what happens if a naturopathic oncology recommendation is made?’ And then the patient may be thinking, ‘Is that going to interfere though?’ They may have spent months, years, who knows—prior to this doing, chemotherapy, radiation, or – taking certain medications. So, what would you have to say, directly to those patients listening today thinking, ‘I’m thinking about naturopathic medicine, but I’m just too concerned that it’s going to actually interfere with those conventional treatments.’ What is your advice to them?

AB: My advice would be, first and foremost, to acknowledge that having safety concerns is valid. And that’s the reason I feel inspired and felt called to show up in this space to begin with. As with anything in medicine, whether you’re talking surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, in the cancer space, complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or massage, or the use of supplements—all of these things have their relative risks and benefits. And being able to show up in this coordinated collaborative way, helps me have their most up-to-date lists of medications, labs, and treatment recommendations so that we can really look at, what the pharmacokinetics are for avoiding any potential supplement interactions. And some of that sometimes means ‘You know what, this curcumin, while that might be great for some things, for your time during radiation, or given your certain chemo, let’s put that on the shelf.’ And there’ll be a time to come back to that—or to faithfully direct saying, ‘Yes, this is something that can benefit you. But given your two weeks on, one week off regimen, let’s dedicate two weeks for the chemo to do its thing in your body. And then the off week to really streamline the complementary integrative things you’re doing for yourself and make it all work better for you. Do it in a way that helps raise the tide of boats and really brings this ‘and together’ model into fruition, rather than ‘either/or’. God forbid a patient taking something or doing something for themselves that can have a benefit, but for their diagnosis and where they’re at and what they’re being given might negate the benefits. For instance, we really want to avoid high-dose antioxidants through radiation because radiation is meant to cause oxidative stress so that the cancer cells die … It gets muddy, right? So, to really say yes and no with confidence for everything that they’re doing.

AL: One final thing I want to ask you because this was really very intriguing. I really like your garden analogy. I think it’s a very good one when we’re looking at the different ways that we can deal with weeds and different eradication technology, shall we say, which is often what we’re looking at in a conventional cancer care situation. Are there any final comments that you’d like to make about how naturopathic medicine really nourishes the soil? I could go fairly far here with this analogy about microbes in the soil and microorganisms, but I’m just wondering if there are any other comments you’d like to make about really nourishing that soil, and how naturopathic medicine helps do that?

AB: Yeah, naturopathic medicine and integrative oncology, I think, show up in a really wonderful way, not just patients or patient populations. My role here in this new capacity as an integrative oncology specialist in this new department of Integrative Oncology and Survivorship gives fruit even to how to start to ask the question, ‘How do we show up better for patients?’ ‘How do we improve cancer care across the cancer care continuum?’ We’re still treating cells but helping people, too.

AB: Well, that is such a great line to leave it on. We’re still treating cells, but those cells make up people, and we’re helping people, too. Well, that brings us to the end of this interview. Thanks so much, Dr. Bausum; you’ve told us a lot about what naturopathic medicine actually has to offer cancer patients, and how it can be used safely alongside conventional cancer treatments, and congrats on this exciting new position. It’s really exciting!

AB: Thank you for having me. Thank you for all your well-thought-out and thought-provoking questions. And it was my pleasure being here and contributing.

AL: Well, thank you so much. Now, for those of you listening. You can find the transcripts and some links to learn more about the Winship Cancer Institute in the podcast notes. And we’ve also included a link to the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, colloquially known as the OncANP. They are a professional association of naturopathic physicians who offer supportive health care to people who have been diagnosed with cancer. So, Dr. Bausum again, thanks for joining us. All of you listening, thanks for joining us, too, and we’ll see you next time!

This article is provided by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, partnered with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing healthcare systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:

  • Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
  • Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
  • Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine

Anna-Liza Badaloo is a writer and program consultant, working at the intersection of health, environment, and social justice. With over 10 years of experience at non-profit organizations, she brings a combination of content writing, copywriting, and journalism to her work. Using her strong storytelling ethic, Anna-Liza strives to amplify traditionally silenced voices such as BIPOC, youth, and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

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Deb Hubers

Debra Hubers is a serial entrepreneur and has started seven businesses; ranging from an advanced genomics to an employer health care purchasing cooperative. Deb has over 35 years of experience in healthcare finance, education, technology, and pharmacogenomics.

Ms. Hubers has dedicated her career to measuring and improving healthcare outcomes. Her expertise is leveraging technology to deliver personalized, preventative medicine. Ms. Hubers co-founded La Vita Compounding Pharmacy in 2007. Collaborating with her business partner, physicians and strategic partners, Deb has grown La Vita to be one of the most respected and sought-after personalized medicine providers on the west coast. She is also Co-Founder of EpigeneticsRx, a leading provider of precise, personalized, prevention which positively impacts genetic expression.

Alex Keller, ND

Dr. Alex Keller, ND, AFMCP is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor in Health Sciences and Psychology. Although originally intending to attend conventional medical school, following a three-month volunteer internship at a rural Kenyan hospital where he observed how doctors used local food to treat patients, he shifted his career goals and pursued a degree in naturopathic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

After one year of practicing with the esteemed Dr. Chris Pickrell, ND, RH in a community acupuncture setting, in 2015 he and his wife Dr. Jenn Keller, ND moved to rural Ottawa, Canada where they started an organic farm and retreat center. In the same year, Alex and his athletic therapist sister Jess Keller combined their practices to form Keller Active Health, an integrative physical therapy clinic.

Ever curious and passionate about the education of evidence-based natural medicine, in 2017, Dr. Keller joined a fledgling Ottawa-based health tech startup named Fullscript. He serves as its Medical Director and oversees the development of medical education content for practitioners across North America.

Prior to medicine, Alex worked in the renewable energy sector, where he developed a deep passion for sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. This connection between medicine and agriculture now drives Alex to focus much of his energy on bringing awareness to the quality and sourcing standards in the supplement and organic agriculture supply chains.

Today, he splits his professional time practicing as a clinician, working for Fullscript, and expanding the farming operation while chasing his kids with Jenn and occasionally running ultra-marathon trail races. He is also currently completing an Executive MBA through the Quantic School of Business & Technology with a focus on supply chain innovation.

Pamela Snider, ND

Pamela Snider, ND, is Executive and Senior Editor for the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Project, producing a first of its kind international textbook of Naturopathic medicine through a series of international retreats and symposia. A nationally recognized integrative health and policy leader, she is active in both national and regional integrative health initiatives. Dr. Snider serves on the Board of Directors, was founding Executive Director and co-founder of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Health (ACIH/ACCAHCa consortium of the councils of schools, accrediting agencies and certifying bodies of the licensed, traditional and emerging integrative health professions, and is currently Vice Chair and co-founder of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC).  Dr. Snider served as a founding Board Member of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine from 2014-2016. Her public policy work includes completing a two year appointment to the DHHS Center For Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC); serving as a Steering Committee Member for  the HRSA funded American College of Preventive Medicine NCCIM Integrative Medicine in Preventive Medicine Residency program, co-directing in USPHS Region X the Building Bridges Between Provider Communities Group, an exploration of interdisciplinary collaboration and common ground between public health and CAM; serving for 22 years on Washington State’s Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program Advisory Committee (HPLRSP); providing technical assistance to and developing key language for the enabling legislation for NIH Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCIH/NCCAM); and staffing Joseph Pizzorno ND during his appointment as Commissioner on the White House Commission on CAM Policy.

From 1994-2003, Dr. Snider served as Associate Dean for Public and Professional Affairs and Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University, dividing her work between academic and public affairs activities, including chairing the Naturopathic Medicine Program Curriculum Review Committee.  Dr. Snider has been teaching, publishing and lecturing widely on Naturopathic philosophy, theory integrative health, public policy, and other topics for over 30 years. Currently, an Associate Professor at National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, OR, Dr. Snider also continues at Bastyr University in her 22nd year as a faculty member teaching naturopathic medicine history, clinical theory, and global context. Among her Naturopathic medicine professional roles she serves on the Institute for Natural Medicine’s Leadership Council.  In 1989, she co-led the naturopathic profession with Dr. Jared Zeff, in developing a unifying definition of naturopathic medicine and its principles of practice adopted unanimously by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) House of Delegates. She was a co-investigator in the 2004 NIH NCCAM research study, the North American Naturopathic Medical Research Agenda and CAM Advisor in NIHCCAM’s Financing Integrative Health Care (University of Washington).  Her areas of experience include healthcare education; naturopathic and interdisciplinary clinical theory, curriculum development; clinical practice; government and legislative affairs, public policy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community organizing.  Dr. Snider has received the Ontario Naturopathic Physician of the Year Award, the Physician of the Year Award from the AANP, the President’s Outstanding Vision Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award at Bastyr University, AANP’s President’s Award, an honorary Doctorate of Naturopathic Philosophy from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), the William A Mitchell Vis Award from the AANP and The Gathering – NMSA’s Beacon Award. She received her ND degree in 1982 from Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences and is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Washington. She lives with her husband and children at their homestead in North Bend Washington, in the beautiful mountain to sea landscape and home of The Revival – Restore the Vis, an annual student-led community gathering.

Susan Haeger

Susan Haeger is Founder/Principal of Transformative Health Solutions Inc. She has applied her twenty plus years in executive leadership to help shape and drive adoption of progressive health policy for whole person healthcare. She was a section contributor to the 2021 INM/AANP published professional white paper, Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists: The Future is Whole Person Health Care that provides supporting evidence for the profession’s significant and unique contributions to preventive, whole person care and models of integrative clinical practice.

Bruce Barlean

Bruce Barlean is an owner and founder of Barlean’s, a global dietary supplement manufacturer located in the Pacific Northwest in Ferndale, WA. Bruce has been actively involved in the Natural Products industry since 1989 and is passionate about making a difference in the world and positively impacting the lives of others.

Bruce believes that people can make a difference in the world through ordinary purchases. He is committed to improving the quality of life for every person on the planet by making the best products and by using the profits to support outreach programs. Bruce summarizes it simply, “We make good stuff to do good stuff”.

In the late 1980’s Bruce became passionate about how health could be dramatically improved with Flax Oil Supplementation. Bruce along with his entrepreneurial parents saw the potential to improve the lives of many people and in 1989 they began selling Flax Oil under the Barlean’s name. From 1989 – 2000 the business grew an average of 40% year over year. While most companies saw a decline in business in the 2001 recession, Barlean’s continued to grow and soon became America’s #1 selling flaxseed oil and continues to be to the present. The brand has since expanded to include additional oils, green food concentrates and other premium supplements. Bruce continues to drive innovation and over the years his products and company have won countless awards including: Eight consecutive Vity Awards for #1 EFA, Six consecutive Vity Awards for #1 Greens Food Supplement, Natural Choice Award for Best Specialty Supplement, Best Product of the Year, Best New Product, Gold Medal Taster’s Choice Award, Gold Medal American Masters of Taste Award, #1 Health Food Store Brand for Consumer Satisfaction by Consumer Lab, and Manufacturer of the Year.

In 2013 as the company was on the eve of celebrating the 25th year in business Bruce and his parents decided to take their desire to help people to a new level that they call Pathway to a Better Life – which is now seen in the Barlean’s logo. Bruce and his parents had always been generous in their giving and support of charities, but as part of the Pathway to a Better Life they decided to increased partnership with charitable organizations such as: Vitamin Angels, Compassion International, KidsTown International, Autism Hope Alliance, Engedi Refuge, Project 92, and others. And because so many people are unable to meet basic nutritional needs, Bruce created a comprehensive Omega-3 and multivitamin formula that he distributes free-of-charge to local food banks. In addition, Bruce decided the company would supply food banks with organic coconut oil to provide people with a health alternative to standard cooking oils.

Always generous with his time Bruce has served as a youth leader for his local church for several years and continues to mentor youth. He has been on several not for profit boards including; Whatcom County Pregnancy Center (2003-2006), Natural Products Association (dates?), and the Institute for Natural Medicine Leadership Council (presently).

The Barlean family have been avid supporters of Bastyr University since the 1990’s and in 2013 were given Bastyr’s most prestigious honor, the Mission Award, which recognizes their leadership over time in improving the health and well-being of the human community.

Bruce currently resides in Ferndale, WA with his wife Lisa and their two dogs: Heinz & Shadow. When he’s not helping others he can be found fishing (catch & release).

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Michelle Simon, PHD, ND

President & CEO

As president and CEO of INM, Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. 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.

She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI), and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a women’s off-road motorcycling class.