A natural alternative in Wilsonville
Sometimes conventional medicine doesn't provide all the answers. That's why April Voves wanted to become a naturopathic doctor — a natural alternative form of medicine like use of supplements, herbs and dietary changes — to provide natural treatment options alongside conventional treatments.
"The tests come back normal but the patient is still feeling a certain way. They're really tired or they're having stomach or gut issues, bloating and gas, and there's not an answer," Voves said. "Often, food sensitivities can cause all sorts of symptoms and it's really hard to correlate that with a lab test, but working with patients to figure out what the triggers are and eliminating those can have a profound effect."
Voves opened her practice, NW Integrative Primary Care, Oct. 1 in Wilsonville and is operating out of the West Chiropractic office along Boones Ferry Road, 30485 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, Suite 104.
While she offers conventional medical services, Voves specializes in alternative treatments including nutrition and lifestyle changes that eliminates triggers of symptoms and addresses the underlying cause of the illness. She provides primary care to adults and children but advises parents to also have a pediatrician for their child.
Though Voves didn't have a childhood dream of becoming a doctor, she has always been interested in health. She majored in nutrition science at Oregon State University and worked as a medical assistant for a multidisciplinary clinic in Bend for just under three years.
"Definitely saw the conventional side of medicine and I wanted to have more options," Voves said. "Pharmaceuticals are great, surgery is necessary at times, but I wanted to be able to have other tools in the toolbox to work with patients, so I chose naturopathic medicine."
She eventually earned her doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2015, and worked at ZoomCare in Portland for a little more than two years.
But she wanted to spend more time building relationships with patients and decided to establish a private practice.
"I've always wanted to go into private practice and obviously it allows you to practice the way you want to," she said. "ZoomCare was great and it gave me a lot of experience, but they are 15 minute visits and they want you to see 20 plus patients a day and that's a lot and not the reason I got into naturopathic medicine."
So she decided to open her current practice in Wilsonville because she saw a need for naturopathic doctors in the community. And being married and having two young boys, the Southeast Portland resident thought Wilsonville seemed like it would be a nice place to raise a family.
Voves sees her practice as unique because of her accessibility to patients.
"I think I offer more of a personal primary care touch — the longer visits we have, (the) more time to get to know each other," said Voves, adding that new patient visits are typically one hour and returns are 30 minutes. "Being able to not be so busy in the day-to-day, I have time to call patients or respond to an email. (I'm) able to see them if they have an acute issue that comes up. A lot of primary care doctors are so busy that they're not able to see their patients when they have more of an urgent issue. I think it's important to have that follow-up."
Since her practice opened, Voves has been marketing via her website, referrals and word of mouth. Down the road, she hopes to operate in a multidisciplinary primary care clinic "to help lots of people feel better and optimize their health," she said. "I seek to understand and support my patients current health care needs as well as their long-term health goals, all while providing a supportive approach and compassionate partnership to help them achieve optimal wellness."