Dr. Ericha Clare, ND, LAc
Naturopathic Physician, Acupuncturist & Founder
I am a wellness practitioner who helps my patients overcome chronic health problems that impact day-to-day activities, energy, and mood. I take the time to properly diagnose your condition, create an individualized plan, and closely monitor your response to care in order to ensure a positive outcome. In addition, I offer education on what you can do on your own to ensure that your health concern doesn’t return. My favorite part of natural medicine is never having to tell a patient there is ‘nothing more we can do.’ Many patients are hindered with pain and suffering and it’s my mission to help as many people as possible improve their quality of life.
I completed undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at Portland State University in 1998 and doctoral training in Naturopathic Medicine at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon in 2007. I earned a master’s degree in Acupuncture from the School of Classical Chinese Medicine at NCNM in 2008. I have received specialized training in gastroenterology, nutrition, and western and Chinese herbal medicine. Currently I am studying emerging topics in functional medicine and epigenetics, cardiometabolic disorders, and psychoneuroendocrinology, which is the relationship of hormonal and brain chemistries, and effects of imbalances on mood and energy.
I believe in working with patients as partners to co-create health goals. I see my role as guiding patients toward three primary objectives: optimizing gastrointestinal health, balancing hormones, and managing stress. These objectives comprise a foundation on which it is possible to address any other health concern or chronic disease pattern. I am a strong advocate for proactive health care in order to prevent more serious conditions in the future. Genuine health begins with our daily habits of diet, exercise and rest, and it is never too late to begin (again) to rebuild health.
Before becoming a wellness practitioner, I worked as a research assistant in the Physiology and Pharmacology department at Oregon Health Sciences University. There I studied neuroendocrine variations of chemistry within the hypothalamus (brain) and correlational behavior. As a recipient of an American Heart Association Fellowship, my research results were published in the scientific journal Hormones and Behavior.
While science and research has been an interest, health and nutrition have always been a passion. Even throughout my childhood, I was always an avid food label reader and kept apprised of the current views on nutrition. As an young adult, I worked in a health food store and learned more about healthy food choices, as well as dietary and therapeutic supplements. As a college student I dreamed of finding a way to combine my love of biology, chemistry and the science of healthy eating, with a driving passion for helping people. I discovered all of this through naturopathic medicine, and I was hooked. Naturopathic medicine has roots in European applications of hydrotherapy and homeopathy, along with herbalism (the medicine of the people) from all over the world. Coupled with modern diagnostic testing and advances in nutritional therapies, this medicine has everything a patient needs for primary and preventative care.
Finding Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
In the year before entering naturopathic medical school, I sustained a shoulder injury when a driver didn’t see me walking in the crosswalk and turned his car into me. Though I was able to walk away from the accident, the pain and mobility issues worsened. Physical therapy and ice/heat combinations only helped a little, and anti-inflammatory medications did nothing more than take the edge off. Concerned about permanent disability, I tried acupuncture for the first time. Within three weekly treatments I saw dramatic improvement in mobility and pain reduction. After six treatments, a year and half of pain was finally alleviated. Determined to offer this incredible service to my future patients, I enrolled in the Chinese medicine program. I discovered that acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer so much more than pain relief. They comprise a holistic approach to many other chronic imbalances and disease patterns, and patients often find increased feelings of renewed energy and wellness in addition to relief of their physical pain.
As with the Latin root, docere (to teach or show), naturopathic medicine maintains a principle of doctor as teacher, and this is something I deeply love and espouse. I focus on teaching patients the hows and whys of what is going on, from disease patterns to treatment principles. I believe that a when a person understands, and is brought into the loop of their own care, he or she will be a more active participant, motivated to take treatments and seek greater health through daily choices.
I have taught medical sciences for over 7 years. I taught taught medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, pathology and laboratory procedures as faculty of the Medical Department at both Allied Health and Business Medical and Clark College. I recently developed new curriculum in patient navigation and advocacy, designed to help train professional health advocates for an emerging field and growing need within our complex medical system. I also teach health coaching in the Master of Nutrition program, and anatomy & physiology in the Master of Science in Integrative Medical Research, at my alma mater, National College of Natural Medicine in Portland. I still teach health, nutrition, and cooking courses through Clark’s Economic and Community Development offices, and I offer public wellness education classes on several health topics at various locations within the community.
Dr. Clare grew up in Portland, and has lived in her new home of Vancouver for over five years. At PSU, she majored in Biochemistry and minored in Biology and Psychology. Her favorite classes outside her major were painting and piano. Hobbies have included sewing, gardening, cooking, and hiking. She also enjoyed activities like outrigger paddling, Argentine tango and Bikram yoga. Dr. Clare is very proud of her stepdaughter in college, whose aim it is to affect local politics in ways that benefit the health and education of the community and preserve the beauty of our Pacific Northwest.