Personal Insights: Q&A with Dr. Julia Liebich

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Personal Insights: Q&A with Dr. Julia Liebich

Dr. Julia Liebich is the Chief Clinician of Naturopathic Medicine at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS). She holds a Doctorate of Chiropractic, as well as a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, and Masters of Science in Advanced Clinical Practice from NUHS. Dr. Liebich grew up on rolling hills of northern Wisconsin, which instilled within her a love for the great outdoors. She has spent time living in Europe, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and California. She is an avid skier, runner, hiker, and kayaker, and loves to share her zest for life with her daughter, students, and patients alike.

Overview of Dr. Julia Liebich

Question: What does your role encompass?

Dr. Liebich: It's a good balance of administrative duties and patient care. I run the naturopathic clinical program at NUHS and oversee clinicians and naturopathic interns delivering patient care. My true love is treating patients.

How did you start down this career path?

As a collegiate runner I suffered from multiple stress fractures. Ultimately, our team physician misdiagnosed my fractured pubic bone for a pulled groin muscle. As most competitive athletes would do, I ran through the pain until I physically could not. This basically put an end to my running career for years.

The doctors had no answers so they ran a bone scan and 24 hour urine-calcium test to assess my calcium levels. With normal lab results, their only recommendation was to drink more milk. I chuckled knowingly having grown up drinking milk from the bulk tanks on our grandparent's farm. I knew there had to be another explanation...

I started to delve into nutritional research and explored other options, which eventually led me to see a chiropractor who specialized in functional medicine and nutrition. Moral of the story, I wanted to ensure that other people did not find themselves in a similarly frustrating situation.

In your own words, what differentiates chiropractors from one another?

Every chiropractor chooses to practice differently. Some primarily adjust while others might provide supplements or nutritional advice. Individual state laws also affect how chiropractors practice. For example, the state of Illinois allows chiropractors the ability to perform acupuncture after 100 hours of clinical experience. Other states like California require a separate licensure examination, a master’s degree, and additional clinical hours. The goal is to find a chiropractor who fits with your needs.

What stands in the way of people accessing the care they need?

Information about options... I feel as though a lot of people just don’t know what is at their avail in regard to healthcare. Some of it appears to be regionalized. In the Midwest, for example, it seems naturopaths are not as “well known” by the general population- the general public doesn’t really know what a naturopath does or that it's even an option for them. My husband lived in Seattle, Washington where it is not uncommon for people to have a naturopath, in addition to their medical doctor.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love patient care and working with interns, specifically, spending time with patients, hearing their stories, and assisting interns in developing personalized treatment plans. The beauty of naturopathic medicine is addressing the root cause of the patient’s complaint and asking them questions about their health history that have likely never been asked or considered as a part of their process. Giving patients hope by treating them on multiple levels rather than addressing only their symptoms is very rewarding.

What wisdom have you gained that you wish you knew when you started?

You learn more with each and every patient you see. Also, looking at how a patient’s childhood health or environment plays a role in impacting their current health.

I continually tell my interns to keep fighting for awareness of naturopathic medicine and never stop educating the general public. Get the word out to those who might not be aware of what it is– continue to work toward changing the healthcare paradigm.

Personal Insights is a series of profiles on the people and institutions leading the movement forward, breaking down the barriers between integrative care and everyone who needs it. Integrative Therapeutics is committed to supporting these initiatives, because we believe everyone deserves options to choose their ideal path to health and happiness.

All opinions expressed are those of our subjects.

 

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