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Coming Home: Wilsonville doctor returns to her hometown to practice medicine

Dr. Elizabeth Sedlak ND has opened Willamette Integrative Health in north Wilsonville


by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Dr. Elizabeth Sedlak ND has opened Willamette Integrative Health in north Wilsonville. Nine years ago around this time of year, Elizabeth Sedlak was standing onstage at Wilsonville High School’s Randall Stadium giving her valedictorian speech at graduation.

Now, Sedlak has returned home to Wilsonville armed with a degree in naturopathic medicine and a new clinic just off Parkway Avenue at the north end of the city. Sedlak opened Willamette Integrative Health in March and has spent the past three months just getting used to running her own business and building a clientele interested in preventative medicine.

“We have a much bigger toolbox than just pharmaceutical drugs,” said Sedlak, now a Tualatin resident who still enjoys spending plenty of time with her family. “A lot of times people are just looking for something different. They may have tried the pharmaceutical route, or they are frustrated because they didn’t feel they were being listened to — when you only get five to 10 minutes with the doctor they can’t really dive into what’s going on.”

As a naturopathic doctor, Sedlak’s approach is very different than what most people are accustomed to. But, while she does utilize herbs and other natural remedies in her practice, Sedlak also has the ability to prescribe the same medications as any other MD, as well as order blood work or other lab tests. In short, she is trained in the same conventional primary care medicine as other doctors, including diagnosis, labs and imaging, pharmacology and minor surgery.

All this, she said, comes as a surprise to many.

“I think it’s one of the most common misperceptions,” she said, “because a lot of what we do is herbs and older types of medicine. But there is more and more evidence to really support what people have known for thousands of years about herbal medicine, so I really try to bring in the evidence-based studies to show people. I like to do research, so it’s important to me to show that to people who might be skeptical.”

Sedlak has already shown she is a capable researcher.

The oldest of three high-achieving Sedlak sisters, Elizabeth graduated in 2005 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Oregon in 2009. From there, she attended the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, earning her medical degree in naturopathic medicine last year.

Sedlak said that growing up in Wilsonville, where she moved with her family at age 10, she was always struck by how few doctors actually practiced in the city. Her own family, for example, normally wound up traveling to Tualatin, Sherwood, Canby or some other outlaying city for their own care.

“That really stuck with me,” she said.

Coupled with a summer as a college undergraduate spent working for Creative Compounds, a Wilsonville-based compounding pharmacy, and Sedlak was primed for a medical career of her own. And, she said, those same experiences also led her to return to Wilsonville once her studies were complete.

“I think a couple of years ago I started thinking about (medicine) seriously as an option,” she said. “I think I was really fortunate because I always had that trajectory.”

At Creative Compounds, she said, she would encounter people struggling with their own various mixtures of prescription drugs, some prescribed to counter the effects of other medications.

“I would see people taking multiple prescription drugs and I always felt there had to be a better way to manage things,” she said. “There’s a lot with the way we eat and stuff like that that people can take care of themselves without needing to see a doctor. It’s just being more engaged in their own health care.”

Now, Sedlak’s biggest challenge is not the medicine; it’s being a doctor on top of being a small business owner.

“It’s definitely a big step,” she said. “I’ve always been independent, and I’m not scared of going out on my own, but there are a lot of things that go into running a business instead of just providing medicine for people. It’s a really exciting endeavor.”

At a Glance:

Willamette Integrated Health

Dr. Elizabeth Sedlak N.D.

25195 SW Parkway Avenue #210

Web: willametteintegrative.com

Facebook: facebook.com/willametteintegrative

Twitter: twitter.com/willametteinteg

Phone: 971-245-2185

Hours: M: 9-6; Tu: 9-6; W: 9-6; Th: 9-6; F: closed; Sat: 10-2; Sun: Closed




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