The ND Will See You Now: Lachlan Crawford, ND

Lachlan Crawford, ND

The following is a transcript of Season 1, Episode 8 of The ND Will See You Now, a podcast by the Institute for Natural Medicine.

On this episode of The ND Will See You Now, our host Anna-Liza Badaloo talks with Lachlan Crawford, ND, the Director of Integrative Medicine at Walden Behavioral Care, an inpatient and residential facility for eating disorders and psychiatric conditions in New England. Listen in as Dr. Crawford, who also sits on the board of the Psychiatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians, explores some unexpected root causes of eating disorders including nutritional deficiencies, genetic risk factors, and even how the gut-brain axis ought to be considered during treatment. Dr. Crawford also explains how naturopathic medicine fits within the different integrative options that she uses to provide her patients with effective, personalized, and meaningful care.

DISCLAIMER & EDITOR’S NOTE: This transcript of a 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.

Anna-Liza Badaloo (ALB): 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 to find out about their whole person approach to health, what patients can expect, and why their work is so very vital to patient health. 

I’m your host Anna-Liza, and today, I’m just thrilled to welcome naturopathic doctor Lachlan Crawford to the podcast, who addresses the root causes of mental health using patient-centered, integrative medicine. Dr. Crawford is a licensed naturopathic doctor in both California and Ontario, Canada. She’s the Director of Integrative Medicine at Walden Behavioral Care, which is an inpatient and residential facility for eating disorders and psychiatric conditions in New England. If that wasn’t enough, she also sits on the board at the Psychiatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians, also known as PsychANP. She’s also the co-founder of Water and Wood, a lifestyle and mental health retreat organization which hosts retreats in the beautiful Canadian wilderness. Thanks so much for joining us today, Dr. Crawford!

Dr. Lachlan Crawford, ND (LC): Thank you for having me here, Anna-Liza!

ALB: Dr. Crawford, as I mentioned, you are dedicated to helping people improve their mental health by using an integrative approach. And what are you integrating here? Well, a few things. You’re incorporating naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine. But you’re also bringing in movement (i.e., exercise) and spending time outdoors. 

I know that you can speak to a wide range of mental health conditions. Today, I’d like to focus on an often overlooked and misunderstood mental health condition that has been rising during the pandemic: eating disorders and disordered eating. Now, when we think about this, eating is a fairly straightforward activity, in theory. Food gives us fuel to function. But we all know this isn’t the whole story. We may eat when we’re bored, stressed, anxious, depressed; insert emotion here. It’s not just a matter of somebody eating too much or not enough. 

Before we get into how you might approach this from an integrative medicine perspective, let’s back up a bit. Dr. Crawford, in your experience, what root causes may contribute to eating disorders?

LC: It’s a great question. First, when I think about eating disorders, they’re really a multifaceted group of disorders that have multifaceted causes. We have anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), binge eating disorder, night eating syndrome, and others. And we also have subtypes of those as well. Each one has various profiles of things that tend to contribute to their particular symptom or behavioral picture. So really, there’s no one answer. But I’ll go through a number of factors that can contribute to any of these. 

Like other mental health conditions, it also has genetic and environmental (or acquired risk) factors that we collect through life, if you will. To start off, some of the more expected root causes would be things that we think about, like socialization of body standards (either by family, friends, or social media is a big one) general culture, or perhaps being a part of a population that tends to have higher eating disorder rates, like athletes, for example. 

There are genetic factors as well. Genetic risk factors can include having a family history of eating disorders, but also for some comorbid mental health conditions (like anxiety, OCD, and depression) that can all contribute to the eventual development of an eating disorder. Something we’re certainly paying more attention to these days is that trauma is an important risk factor to be aware of. Direct trauma can increase risk of an eating disorder. This is especially known for eating disorders that start in adolescence. There was a really fabulous study that just came out in this year by Dr. Tim Brewerton, MD, that looked at the correlation between PTSD and eating disorder symptoms arising in adolescence. It’s an important thing for us to look at. 

But also, the effects of trauma that are experienced by parents can be passed down to children simply through epigenetic modifications of the stress response system. We need to be aware of trauma and experiences in the history of the family and in the individual themselves. We see trauma being a part of the eating disorder picture with more chronic and severe cases, but they can be at any level of care, any severity of the condition. 

Importantly, it would not be a complete answer if I didn’t talk about nutritional deficiencies. Certainly, through the integrative lens that I use, these can be contributors to eating disorders. Here, I’m mostly talking about zinc, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, (in some cases lithium), and a number of other nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to the psychiatric and behavioral symptom pictures of eating disorders. 

Finally, I’m thinking about the range of eating disorders. We think that all of these would contribute to any of the actual eating disorder behaviors. But when I think about ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), this is something that we’re seeing more of, and we’re studying more. We’re starting to learn that people who struggle with ARFID can also struggle with sensory overwhelm, sensory overstimulation and processing disorder. That can be part of the development of some ARFIDs as well.

ALB: That was a lot of factors, and really different factors, too! Some of these factors are, as you said, genetic, it could be environmental, it could be socialization-based. You point to social media in particular, which these days is an important factor. And as you mentioned, nutritional deficiencies can also come into this, in addition to interacting with that trauma response. Thanks for that; this gives us a much better sense of the complexity of these issues. And it really is not a straight cause and effect kind of situation. 

Now we have a better sense of what some of these root causes may be. Keeping in mind that each patient in front of you is a unique individual, and there’s no one size fits all answer here, can you give us a sense of how you might approach addressing eating disorders using that integrative medical perspective that you mentioned? And how does naturopathic medicine factor in?

LC: Absolutely. Naturopathic medicine is one of the modalities that are included in the whole umbrella of integrative modalities that I might use. And certainly, one of the very first things that I would think about when I’m treating a patient who’s been struggling with disordered eating, or diagnosis of an eating disorder, is really to get to know the person and to really understand what are their fears or beliefs that drive behaviors. Certainly, we don’t recommend any changes in diet until we can really get a handle on understanding some of the core beliefs that are driving those behaviors. That’s a really good thing. I really appreciate that, as a naturopathic doctor, I have an extended amount of time with my patients to really get to know them and to screen. If someone is coming in for general practice, I also screen for anybody who has a history of disordered eating that I might want to be aware of and sensitive to when I’m prescribing anything, for example. So that’s the first piece, to really get to know the patient and spend time with them. 

And then, when we get into the naturopathic medicine modalities, again, when we’re looking at root cause, we need to know: what are the mental health comorbidities that could be driving it? We need to know, are there OCD behaviors that are driving this? Is there an extreme amount of anxiety that’s driving the behaviors? Is there trauma that needs to be processed? And then, of course, we refer appropriately if I can’t do all of that work myself. I’m not a family-based therapist. I’m not somebody who could do in-depth trauma work. So, I make sure that I’m working with a team to really address those root causes. That’s so essential to my mind when I look at eating disorders. 

And then, of course, like I mentioned with the causative factors, I look at nutritional deficiencies. I will do testing. Sometimes we can start some repleting nutritional regimens before we do the testing because there were some pretty standard nutritional deficiencies. But definitely testing and really getting to know (as you said) each person as an individual. We need to know what their deficiencies are that could be contributing to their behaviors. 

In addition to nutritional deficiencies, I might track blood sugar over the course of a day because sometimes that can drive feelings of anxiety, cravings, avoidance, and distress when they’re eating. So, really paying attention to blood glucose levels. 

One thing that I think has been really wonderful to bring into my practice more in recent years is to think about the gut lining as an essential organ within our health that drives mental health. We’re learning a lot about the gut-brain axis, and how things that are happening in the gut affect the brain, and how the brain affects things that are happening in the gut. So, really working with helping to heal the gut lining, if there’s been any injury there, if there’s any history of an autoimmune condition, or some sort of digestive issue. Looking at that, seeing if there is a root cause that we need to heal, and then supporting the gut microbiome through food, probiotics, prebiotics, whatever combination is going to work for that person. Really making sure that we take that into consideration as well, the gut lining. 

With my role here as Director of Integrative Medicine at Walden Behavioral Care, we have a whole program that really looks at the person as a whole. We incorporate gentle exercise when it’s appropriate, when someone’s at a stage of an eating disorder when they’re able to reincorporate gentle movement. Overexercise is a behavior within some eating disorders. So, making sure that we’re being honest and checking to make sure that any movement we’re doing isn’t contributing to the eating disorder itself. So, working in gentle movements from yoga, going for walks, etc. 

Another tool that I use quite often is heart rate variability biofeedback, and this is something that I absolutely love. We use the heart rate sensors through HeartMath. This is something that patients can do at home, if you do it with a practitioner. It’s a really wonderful tool that teaches self-regulation. Essentially, you’re using a very simple heart rate monitor that gives a visual display of what’s going on for your nervous system. You get to learn what helps you regulate your own internal nervous system so that you can gain an internal locus of control for understanding that when I’m feeling stressed, I have the ability to calm myself down. That can go a long way when we’re talking about anxiety, OCD, and compulsions contributing to behaviors within an eating disorder. 

These are all integrative tools that I really like to use. It’s important to note that for some people, if they have comorbid mental health (conditions happening at the same time), maybe it’s the mental health that started first that’s contributing to the eating disorder. Or maybe it’s the eating disorder that contributes to the mental health. But all of that needs to be a part of the conversation. The integration of all of these tools is really important, which is why I love the naturopathic and integrative approach to eating disorders.

ALB: Well said, Dr. Crawford. There’s so much in there that you’ve mentioned about what the integrative approach can really bring to people that are having these struggles with eating disorders and disordered eating. You’ve mentioned that it’s that time that naturopathic doctors are spending in really getting to know that patient, getting to know what’s going on with them (past and present). 

You’ve also mentioned the importance of working as a team. So, one individual can work integratively by using these different modalities. But that’s another nice extra layer of integration, where you’re using integrative medicine and integrating that within a team, where each healthcare practitioner is able to bring their individual skills, knowledge, and experience to the table for the benefit of that patient. 

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the gut-lining issue because this is something that I think may be a surprise to some people. You have drawn our attention to the importance of the gut-brain axis; there is a lot going on there, right? In this ‘conversation’ that the gut and the brain are having, a lot of things going back and forth. And I agree with you. There is a lot of research out there. I certainly encourage our listeners to go ahead and seek out that research and educate yourself on how what’s going on in our gut really is impacting mental health, and other aspects of health. There’s just so much there, so much to work with. 

Dr. Crawford, we’ve talked about the root causes. We’ve talked about how you might approach this. We may have people listening to us today who themselves may be struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder. Or maybe it’s somebody that they know and care about: a neighbor, a family member, a friend, a colleague. People may be thinking about themselves or thinking of recommending that their loved one see a naturopathic doctor to help them address an eating disorder, but maybe they’re hesitant about seeing a naturopathic doctor for that. What would you say, Dr. Crawford, to somebody who is having these experiences but also having these concerns?

LC: It’s lovely to get a chance to speak to individuals directly. One of the biggest things I think is important to talk about with eating disorders is that it’s often hard to reach out and get help. There is a lot of stigma around eating disorders. Sometimes the eating disorder can feel like it’s helping solve problems. It’s what we call in the in the medical world egosyntonic, which means that it’s acting like it’s helping you solve all your problems when really, the eating disorder is something that is a maladaptive coping mechanism. 

When you are thinking about reaching out and getting help, it feels scary, because it feels like you’re giving up an important coping mechanism or something that has helped you in the past to manage feelings, physiology, or whatever it might be. It’s important to know that there are tools and skills that can help you not just manage without it but thrive without it. And you can do that with the help of a team. If you trust them, and you go in, and you understand that there are people who are really trained well to help people thrive when they start to let go of their eating disorder behaviors and some of those symptoms. The anxiety, depression, or some of the other feelings that are alongside the eating disorder, it makes it a tricky thing to address. But there are people out there that are trained. That’s the main first thing that I want to say. 

Second, importantly, is that eating disorders don’t have to look a certain way. All eating disorders look different. Your body doesn’t have to look a certain way, your behaviors don’t have to look a certain way, your feelings don’t have to look a certain way. If you are thinking that you might need some help or you want to talk to somebody about your relationship to food, something that we say in my day-to-day work here, is that you deserve help. You are “sick enough,” is what we say. You are in a state where you deserve help. If you want to have that conversation, then please do reach out. I know that it’s scary to do. 

If you do want to go to a naturopathic doctor, it is important to have a conversation with them to make sure that they’re the right fit for having those conversations around your relationship with food. It’s a good thing to ask if they’ve worked with folks who have struggled with eating disorders or disordered eating before. There are some formal trainings that doctors and other practitioners can have, such as the CEDS (letters after their name), that stands for Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. You can look for those letters, you can look for people that have done trainings through national organizations like NEDA, the National Eating Disorder Association. It’s good to look out for folks that have an understanding of what it takes to work with an eating disorder. All naturopathic doctors are trained and Board certified. But it helps to have somebody who might have had that experience to be really eating disorder informed (as we say). Thank you for that opportunity to speak directly to those folks. I think it’s always good to do.

ALB: We’re very happy to give you that opportunity. And I want to thank you, Dr. Crawford, for bringing our attention what is actually a very central issue in eating disorders: the fact that they can be a maladaptive coping mechanism. And I think that when family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and whatnot see somebody struggling with an eating disorder, it can be very mystifying to them to figure out what’s going on. Why they can’t just solve it, either eat or don’t eat? It seems so simple to them. 

But when you frame it and think about it in that context, as far as that person is concerned, this is what’s getting them through life. This is the thing that’s actually helping them. Yet, at the same time, it can be so very, very destructive, both to an individual’s health and even to their relationships and those around them. I really appreciate you bringing us back to that very, very central and important point that it really is a maladaptive coping mechanism. Hopefully, that helps people understand someone that is suffering from these conditions a little bit better. 

Dr. Crawford, there’s much more to say, but that is all the time we have for today. I want to thank you for taking us through this really, really complex topic and demystifying some of these key pieces for us. You’ve given us quite a good sense of what some of the potential root causes of eating disorders may be about what an integrative approach might look like. You’ve given us some great tips for those thinking of seeing a naturopathic doctor for disordered eating or an eating disorder. We have some great tips there. Now, listeners, you may be wondering where you can find a transcript of this interview and links to learn more about Dr. Crawford’s work. Please check out the podcast notes; it’s all there for you. 

And Dr. Crawford, do you have any final thoughts to leave us with today?

LC: Just to tell folks that they deserve the care that a naturopath and other practitioners can give. You deserve care. That’s what I’d like to leave them with.

ALB: Well said. You deserve care. You deserve care. That’s the perfect place to end it. Everyone, thanks for joining us. Dr. Crawford, thanks for joining us as well, and we’ll see you next time!

LC: Thank you very much.

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

INM's team is made up of naturopathic doctors and health journalists.

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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

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.