Dr. Arvin Jenab, ND (Class of 2000)
Director of Naturopathic Medicine & ND Residency Program
Susan Samueli Institute for Integrative Medicine, University of California-Irvine
ARVIN’S DEFINITION OF DOCERE
We have a responsibility to not only pass knowledge down to new students and graduates, but to also teach them the leadership skills that our profession needs. Within the context of academia, it’s about mentoring the new generation of doctors and graduates. With patients, it’s to educate and make sure they become active participants and advocates for their own health.
Arvin’s career in academia spans 15 years, including stints at CCNM, the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM), and Bastyr University’s San Diego campus. His interest rests in supporting new graduates as they grow into future leaders of the profession, and at the Susan Samueli Institute for Integrative Medicine,he has the opportunity to do just that.
“My role is very mixed. I have clinical duties and educational activities that I participate in. I supervise and mentor residents, plus give lectures to nursing and medical students,” Arvin says
The institute is dedicated to providing a holistic, integrative, and multidisciplinary approach to health care. It is part of University of California-Irvine (UCI) Health, the only academic health system in Orange County. There are several clinical programs at UCI Health, offering a plethora of medical and health care services.
Arvin joined the institute four years ago to help establish residency opportunities for new grads and expand the existing naturopathic medical services program. He was the second ND to come aboard – the first was Dr. Afrouz Demehri, ND (Class of 2008) – and in just a few years, the institute has grown to five full-time NDs and four residents (including Class of 2018 graduate Dr. Shreya Soni, ND).
His time at the institute has coincided with an increasing number of allies within UCI Health and a mounting interest in naturopathic medicine from the community at large. He says that the team at the institute is approached almost daily with questions and general intrigue from the other clinical departments.
As NDs begin integrating into the health-care system, now is the time to start defining how naturopathic medicine can coexist within the traditional health-care structure.
“Overall, there’s certainly more awareness of what we do. A growing level of professionalism from NDs is allowing for more relevant conversations with conventional medical institutions and providers,” Arvin says.
“But I think the profession hasn’t changed a lot when it comes defining what it is that we do,” he continues. “I feel that challenge here at UCI where the demand is more urgent to define who we are and what we do. I’m very involved with AANP, CNME, and different stakeholders in our profession to try and answer some of those questions and help us go to the next level.”
That could mean a lifelong clinical practice, a career in academia, both, or neither. But it’s pivotal for NDs to contribute to the wider conversation around integration and create more champions of the profession.
“I see that here at UCI – medical skills help a great deal, but good leadership skills will help get NDs further.”
This article was originally published in issue #26, Mind|Body|Spirit, Winter 2020, page 12