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In my own words...

Often the most difficult experiences in our lives mold and shape us into who we are and into who we are becoming. Like the mighty rivers carving canyons grand, I am one shaped by the loss of my twenty-two year old brother to Bipolar Disorder in 2005. My family’s foray into the mental health world of psychiatric wings and emergency rooms imprinted the need for effective treatments for all mental emotional illness. Conventional treatments, while often life saving during times of crisis, fell short in the day-to-day as my brother found the rendered side effects intolerable, which led to his stopping and starting medications frequently. My experience as concerned sister navigating the waters of the mental health system left thirst for additional approaches infused with compassion.

Through a series of events that seemed nothing short of miraculous, I landed in the doctoral degree program at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. Moving across country to Arizona might not appear a large feat at all, but to me and my family it was epic. Somehow, I was blessed by unique opportunities that made the trajectory not only possible, but feasible. 

Thus my dream of studying medicine under gifted physician and educator Stephen Messer, ND, DHANP became reality. During school, I witnessed firsthand, not only the viability of homeopathy as natural therapy, but its often impressive results. I was inspired. In order to immerse myself in learning this gentle therapy, I studied extensively under Stephen Messer and other gifted naturopathic physicians including mental health specialist Mark Janikula, ND and world reknowned homeopathic physician, Andre Saine, ND in Montreal. Additionally, I completed a conventional clerkship with board certified psychiatrist Purnima Mehta, MD at Southwest Behavioral Health’s Crisis Recovery Unit. At the CRU I interacted more closely with the heart breaking nature of many of the severe mental illnesses: schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic manias, and suicidal depressions, often coupled with drug and alcohol addiction. I also began to respect the role that well prescribed pharmaceuticals and anti-psychotic meds can impart, particularly during times of crisis in severe mental illness. Nonetheless, I found myself dreaming of a world where homeopathic remedies are prescribed to psychiatric patients in crisis within secured units.  

Now in private practice, I founded Miles Naturopathics in Tempe, AZ in 2011 with the deliberate focus of treating patients with mental health concerns. It has always been clear that there is huge need for this sort of natural holistic treatment in the field of mental health. Indeed, only a handful of practices like mine exist in the United States. Miles Naturopathics currently operates out of Hagerstown, MD with a satellite office in Roanoke, VA, in collaboration with David Hamilon, ND of New River Natural Health.     

To a large extent, utilizing natural therapies to treat mental emotional concerns feels more dream calling than job. I consider my role in partnering with patients and the rest of their health care team a sacred privilege. As such, I hold myself to the highest standards in protecting this sacred space in the following ways: by continually striving to better practice informed consent, taking seriously the confidentiality standards set forth by HIPAA, honestly working toward "being present" with every patient, and continuing to learn from my colleagues, patients, and the world around me. I still actively dream of holism becoming a part of conventional care. One day holistically minded in-patient treatment programs will hold deep respect for people in extreme states, while offering naturopathic treatments alongside or in place of conventional options.  

I attended a terminal, four-year naturopathic medical program at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, a doctoral level, accredited degree program similar in scope to conventional medical school. As a result, I am licensed in Maryland as a naturopathic doctor. To achieve these ends, I graduated from the post baccalaureate program, passed 2 sets of board exams, and completed over 1500 hours of clinical training. Additionally, I annually participate in continuing medical education.  

Jenn Schuppe Botham, ND