Sam Madeira’s ‘01 journey to becoming a licensed Naturopathic Doctor with a thriving practice in Seattle, WA.
Sam Madeira, ND, BSc. ‘01 can trace his initial interest in health and wellness to a combination of his love of science, his connection with the natural world, and some frustrating experiences with his own medical experiences as a kid. A natural athlete and Vermont native, Sam played lots of sports growing up and when he wasn’t playing sports, he was probably spending time outside. Even as a child, Sam recognized that this activity helped keep the rest of his life in balance and in focus. It was a shock, then, when not long after starting high school at the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, Sam began experiencing symptoms of chronic fatigue. Though still an active athlete and honors student, his illness began to take its toll. Sam saw multiple doctors, both traditional and naturopathic, and tried various treatments with some improvement. It wasn’t until he was a newly graduated doctor at age 30 that he was diagnosed and successfully treated for Chronic Lyme Disease with Lyme Co-Infections and Reactivated Mononucleosis and Cytomegalovirus. Sam’s personal experience, which ultimately led to full recovery, helped fuel his interest in pursuing a career in health and wellness and helping others along their path to health and well-being.
When Sam felt like he needed a change during his sophomore year in high school, he began his journey by looking for a different educational experience from the one provided at the Brooks School. A teacher at Brooks recommended that he consider The White Mountain School. Sam was immediately drawn to the Senior Project experience White Mountain offered students (something that remains a component of our LASR program today). This, thought Sam, was a way for him to dig more deeply into his medical interests before pursuing a career in medicine. Additionally, White Mountain offered Lacrosse, a sport Sam truly loved; plenty of opportunities to be in the outdoors, reminiscent of his childhood in Vermont; and would expose him to new, lifelong sports such as backcountry skiing and rock climbing in the rugged and pristine White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.
At White Mountain, Sam’s eyes were opened to new aspects of the outdoors, health and well-being in the classroom. Sam continued to love science at White Mountain and was encouraged to take the advanced Anatomy and Physiology – Wilderness First Responder course his junior year. He was hooked. In fact, Sam loved it so much that he and his Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Mark Vermeal, worked on a way for him create a Senior Project that would include attaining the Wilderness EMT certification at SOLO Wilderness Medical School in North Conway, NH, shadow emergency room doctors and surgeons at Weeks Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, NH and work with the Search and Rescue volunteers in the White Mountains. “It was amazing,” said Sam, “Mark had so many key connections in Northern NH. He also understood my passion for medicine and my thirst for experiential learning. I wrote the proposal for my Senior Project and Mark helped connect me with the professionals I needed to make the experience meaningful. I ended up living off the grid that spring in a wood-stove heated cabin in near Weeks Memorial Hospital. I completed my wilderness EMT certification, shadowed rural doctors, and learned about search and rescue. I’d call Mark every few days from a pay phone at a truck stop – there weren’t any cell phones then, of course – to check in and update the school on my academic progress. I don’t know if living on your own like that would fly these days, but it was an amazing experience and helped solidify for me both what I wanted to do professionally and what I didn’t want to do.”
Still feeling a connection with medicine, an interest in the outdoors, and newly introduced by his mom and his Naturopathic Doctor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to healing through medicinal plants, Sam matriculated to Prescott College in Arizona. There he could learn about the desert ecosystem, benefit from an experiential learning approach, and begin to learn plant medicine, ethnobotany and herbal medicine.
Sam says, “My Senior Project at White Mountain solidified my interest in pursuing a career in health and wellness. It also made me realize that much of what hospital doctors are required to do felt cold, removed, and corporate to me. I believed then, and still do now, that western medicine plays an important role in treating illness, mostly for emergency reasons and surgical interventions. I’ve also found that Naturopathic Medicine can address health and wellbeing in equally important ways – sometimes in tandem with western medicine and sometimes instead of it – especially for chronic health conditions, such as Autoimmune Diseases, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain. As a practitioner, I am dedicated to the personalized and holistic approach of Naturopathic Medicine and Functional Medicine. I am convinced that this is the best medicine for chronic illness. I enjoy working with patients in an unhurried, longer-term way that draws on numerous physical and emotional health practices.”
Ultimately, in order to achieve the type and level of education that he needed to pursue his career, Sam transferred from Prescott College to Bastyr University’s School of Botanical Medicine to complete a Bachelor of Sciences in Herbal Sciences degree with pre-medicine sciences. Sam then went on to complete his medical school education at the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in the Seattle area. Sam says, “I now hold my Naturopathic Medical license in Washington State and am Board Certified with the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. I founded the Apollo Health Clinic in downtown, Seattle, WA in May 2015 after working for other medical clinics in the greater Seattle metro area for 3 years. At Apollo Health Clinic, I specialize in helping adults heal using Root Cause Functional Medicine, Regenerative Medicine Injections and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) for Men & Women. Current patients are resolving their chronic autoimmune diseases and metabolic syndromes; resolving their chronic insomnia; reversing their chronic Irritable Bowel Syndromes; increasing their energy, work performance and productivity; losing weight; reversing chronic pain conditions; and are noticing many other benefits.”
You can learn more about Dr. Sam Madeira and his work at the Apollo Health Clinic Blog.