Education: Bastyr University
Date of graduation: May 2011
Undergraduate education: MS in clinical nutrition - New York University (2003); BS in nutritional and exercise sciences - Cornell University (2001)
Intended practice setting:
• Residency at Bastyr Center for Natural Health
• Integrative clinic with other CAM and primary care providers
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Areas of focus/specialties:
• Medical nutrition therapy (Registered Dietician)
• General family practice, including pediatrics
• Preconception and prenatal care
• Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
Academic highlights and contributions:
• Guest lecturer on renal and parenteral medical nutrition therapy – Bastyr University
• Adjunct nutrition professor – Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing, New York City, N.Y.
• Pediatric nutrition fellow for leadership education in neurodevelopment – Westchester Institute for Human Development and New York Medical College
• Published research in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Previous professional experience:
• Clinical dietitian – St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, N.Y. (2003–2006)
• Consultant dietitian – Florence Nightingale Health Center, New York City, N.Y. (2003–2004)
• One-year family practice residency – Bastyr Center for Natural Health
• Travel to Chengdu, China, to work in a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) hospital
• A successful family practice that collaborates with midwives, NDs and conventional providers
• Medical relief work abroad and within the United States
• Support growth of the naturopathic medical profession
Personal passions: Spending time with my husband, friends and family; enjoying great company and good food; growing our own veggies; exploring the mountains and climbing gyms; playing on a co-ed soccer league; painting (acrylics); salsa dancing; and travel.
Favorite quote: "Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alumni Career Spotlight
Eva S. Kozura, ND, RD
Recent Bastyr graduate Dr. Eva Kozura was a premed student and a registered dietician prior to being drawn to naturopathic medicine. Looking back on the path that led to her ND career, she’s identified moments of synchronicity and clarity that revealed to her the natural world's interconnectedness. As she recalls, “During a 9-month-long training session with Char Sundust – a Bastyr chaplain who shares her Lakota and Apache Indian spiritual traditions – I developed a deeper spiritual connection to the natural world and all the beings on our planet. Over many conversations with friends and family – especially my husband, Chris Kozura, who is also an ND (Bastyr '02) – I’d discover and rediscover the tremendous potential naturopathic medicine has for all areas of society. A close friend who's now finishing her University of Washington nutrition program pointed out that we’re all working toward the same goal: accessing quality care and food for all people, and ultimately helping people thrive in their lives. And on a more immediate level, I see how technology is accelerating these interdependencies. My increasing awareness of being connected to what’s living, tangible, visible and even invisible (such as our ancestors) helped me tap into vast inner resources I didn’t even know I had, which I drew upon to get through my challenging studies.”
AANMC: Was it a connection to any particular person or group that inspired you to become an ND?
ESK: A few wonderful people, a bit of serendipity, and a global perspective all contributed. Growing up in Taiwan, Chinese herbs were a mainstay in our home. And my father is a diplomat for the Taiwanese government, so we moved around a lot. I spent my teenage years in Stuttgart, southern Germany, where homeopathy is very popular. I was still unfamiliar with naturopathy, but I was interested in nutrition, especially since we’re all real “foodies” in my family. Eventually, we moved back home, and then I went to college in the states to become a registered dietician (RD).
After graduating, I began my career as an RD in New York City. In my spare time, I enjoyed learning more about sustainable agriculture, organics and fair trade. A social worker friend of mine loaned me two books by Dr. Andrew Weil, Health and Healing and Spontaneous Healing, which were simply life-changing. After just two months working at the hospital, I yearned to do more for my patients. So I began the process of becoming a conventional medical doctor. I finished up my prerequisites, took the MCATs and started interviewing at med schools.
During that time, two friends approached me separately, suggesting that perhaps I should become a naturopathic doctor. For three months, I vacillated between conventional and naturopathic medical schools. As I explored further, I realized that the principles of naturopathy were exactly what I had been searching for: a reverence for the power of nature, a focus on the causes of disease, and the potential for true healing and optimal health.
AANMC: After all these experiences and connections, how did you reach a decision?
The deciding factor was shadowing two incredible naturopathic doctors/licensed acupuncturists (LAc), Drs. Peter Bongiorno and Pina LoGiudice. They were both living examples of the type of physician I aspired to become: smart and compassionate, thorough and caring, with a good sense of humor and very, very well trained in medicine. That experience prompted me to matriculate at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash. When I chose this path, it felt true to my core. I believed the school would provide the training and community I sought while supporting my personal health…and it turned out I was right.
AANMC: When did you first see an ND or alternative care provider?
ESK: The first time was in January 2006; I began exploring alternative treatments when I interviewed at Bastyr. After the interview, they offered me a coupon for a free clinic visit. I was not in the best of health. At one point, an acupuncturist had told me I couldn’t walk a mile or more because I was “chi deficient.” In my first year at Bastyr, a friend (Molly Jarchow, ND, Bastyr 2010), recommended seminars on bio-therapeutic drainage, a method that helps the body to release its toxic load. Another pivotal figure in my journey toward self-healing was Marie Manuchehri, an RN and medical intuitive. She taught me about my chakras and how to improve the health of each.
Once I began studying at Bastyr, many teachers helped guide me and resolved a lifetime of stress and illness. Drs. Jared Zeff and Dickson Thom were very supportive. I think being a student of so many therapies and modalities enticed me to try almost all of them: castor oil packs, old-school hydrotherapy, craniosacral therapy, visceral manipulation, prayer, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and on and on. There’s always more to learn, but I’m definitely leaving medical school healthier than when I started!
AANMC: What and where did you study prior to attending Bastyr?
ESK: My mom taught me to cook and instilled in me a love of good food, which helped me choose my major. In 2001, I graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., with a BS in nutritional sciences and a concentration in exercise science. In 2003, I earned an MS in clinical nutrition and completed a dietetic internship at New York University in Manhattan. While attending NYU, I volunteered in the agriculture movement that was gaining momentum in the northeast, and learned about sustainable practices and the politics of food. I also became deeply interested in studying the potential causes of poverty while attending a class on the subject at the Henry George School of Social Science.
AANMC: Did studying the connections between nutrition and naturopathy change your perspective on health and well-being?
ESK: My studies did shift my philosophy on food. I've found there's no one diet that’s ideal for everyone, and that each person could probably do well adopting several different approaches to eating whole foods. A significant contribution from my Chinese medicine training is the concept of eating according to one's specific "constitution" – every person's specific blend of yin/yang, qi (or chi), blood and other collaborative forces.
AANMC: Do you think it was easy or challenging to make and sustain strong connections with your peers, professors, friends and family during your time at Bastyr? Did you find connections to others to be crucial to your success?
ESK: Making connections with peers at Bastyr was easy thanks to the sheer amount of time we spent together in classrooms, especially those of us training in naturopathic and Chinese medicine simultaneously. My classmates were brilliant and approachable, which made strong connections natural. Of course, the 10-, 12-, and 14-hour days definitely took a toll on my ability to stay connected, but my connections were absolutely crucial to my success. The love, insights, abilities and light-heartedness of my friends and family buoyed me throughout this experience.
During my first two years at Bastyr, I had that New York work ethic, i.e., I was very productive and minimally social. That changed completely when I realized where my priorities really lay. My husband has helped me to be less demanding of myself and the people around me (Including him, which is fair!). He has taught me to be gentle and effective; he’s got a way of bringing humor and light to difficult situations.
A good friend of ours is Monica Kinsman, the owner of Thrive, a popular local raw/vegan restaurant. When studying for basic science boards after my second year, I asked her for support, and she ended up packing all my meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – for a full weekend of studying. Can you imagine? Being nourished and sustained absolutely helped me focus and energize. That experience helped me learn to ask for help when you need it. We each have so many connections. When we need to tap them, we should. People are quite willing to be generous if you let them.
AANMC: Did you ever feel especially overwhelmed by commitments or professional or personal relationships? Did you feel supported by your circles? Were you able to reciprocate?
ESK: I believe that in order to find balance and health, you first have to get "worked" by going through a period of imbalance and ill-health. The process of becoming a physician, especially a naturopathic physician, calls upon you to use all your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resources. So yes, there were definitely times when I felt overwhelmed. But I still felt absolutely supported by my circles. And while I often could reciprocate, there were times when I just couldn't, and the same went for my friends. As each person's energy waxed and waned, we somehow managed to support each other and get through the training (mostly) unscathed.
I was definitely overwhelmed during my third year at Bastyr, and couldn’t make it to celebrations or spend as much time with friends. I simply didn’t have the energy. But I learned to prioritize, and now I keep my loved ones and friends, both in and out of school, as close as possible.
AANMC: In what ways do you think your education and extracurricular activities at Bastyr compared to your undergrad experience?
ESK: It’s apples and oranges. A good aspect of ND school was that no one ever made us stay up late – it was mostly self-inflicted. By following a dual-degree program, I’ve experienced what it's like to be completely over-committed, unbalanced and unhealthy ... and learned how to bring myself back to a better place. It’s a true test of putting what we learn into our own lives. In a way, we experience some of the issues our future patients may go through.
Bastyr is a wonderful place to make hundreds of meaningful connections with amazing, caring and fun-loving people. I've had the constant joy of being surrounded by students of all different interests – enjoying our turtle pond courtyard, the herb garden, an interesting talk, a yoga class, or a "Splash and Dash" (a run through the woods in St. Edward state park followed by a plunge into Lake Washington on the first day of winter quarter).
Our librarians, administrators and staff members rock; they make sure the campus runs smoothly. The cafeteria staff makes the best food: salads, desserts, vegetarian choices, and even sustainably sourced meat dishes. Our professors not only teach from the heart, but also spend time with us, enjoying meals and candidly sharing their successes and failures. Words can't really encompass the gratitude I have for my teachers.
I also appreciate the connections with our many wonderful patients. The school provides international connections via world-class speakers, preceptors and health experts. Tibetan monks come every year to make Buddhist sand mandalas and bring blessings. It’s astounding how many people I’ve met and how much I've experienced through Bastyr.
AANMC: How do you think the connections you’ve made will serve your mission, post-graduation?
ESK: The amazing people in this profession create a rich community of resources. Everyone is so generous and helpful, giving referrals and answering endless questions on Facebook. I believe I’ll benefit from these connections my whole life, and I can’t imagine moving forward without the naturopathic network.
AANMC: Have you thought of ways to encourage and maintain connectedness to the naturopathic world and your future patients through your practice?
ESK: Yes, in addition to belonging to professional organizations and attending continuing education classes, I hope our future practice will have an EMR (electronic medical records) system that gathers and pools data about our patients' progress and treatment with data from other naturopathic medical clinics. I'm really excited about the use of technology to support and connect our patients on their journey to health. I also hope to someday welcome students into my practice, as I myself was so warmly welcomed, and to help refer patients and create jobs for fellow NDs.
AANMC: As a guest lecturer at Bastyr classes, what were the topics you covered? Did lecturing bring you closer to the subject and the audience?
ESK: I covered nutrition for people with kidney disease and possibly on dialysis, as well as parenteral or intravenous nutrition. I dealt with these types of nutritional treatments in the intensive care unit and on the renal and geriatric floors at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York. It was refreshing to be able to illustrate my experiences to my classmates, imparting little pearls of information. Teaching brought me closer to the topic, and I also used that fresh knowledge when I was on my IV therapy shifts at the Bastyr clinic.
AANMC: Please elaborate on the fundraising you established as a student.
ESK: In 2007, a few friends and I cultivated an idea to offset the costs of education at Bastyr, modeled after The Cooper Union school in Manhattan, where every student is provided an estimated $120,000 for their education through the school's endowment. It's easy to forget that financial health is a part of overall health, and in order to support naturopathic physicians and other integrative health professionals during their student experiences and after graduation, we felt it was crucial to lower the debt burden. However, when we finally crunched the numbers in 2008, we realized it would take an endowment of over $1 billion to cover the education costs of all matriculated Bastyr students. And although that goal is reachable, the current economic landscape isn’t conducive, so we hope to revisit the Bastyr Student Endowment plan in the near future.
AANMC: Were you involved in any groundbreaking work while enrolled at Bastyr?
ESK: For three years during medical school, I was involved in outcomes research with Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH, and several other colleagues. We collected data from medical charts at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health and retrospectively analyzed how patients with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and other cardio-metabolic conditions fared after six months of naturopathic treatment. The evidence we discovered was very encouraging. We found that in 37 patients with diabetes, glycemic control improved significantly within the first year of care, and stayed so beyond year one. Additionally, almost a quarter of the patients were able to reduce their medication use. I presented these results at the 2008 AANP Convention.
AANMC: Has it been important for you to be involved in your community and the community at large?
ESK: Absolutely. I volunteered at Bastyr Haunted Trails, a fundraising event for students wishing to study abroad (some travel to China to study Chinese medicine, while others go to Europe to learn about balneology and spa therapy). I spent some time in Washington, D.C., where I really enjoyed the exciting pace and making a difference in national policies for our profession and our citizens. I also trained with Natural Doctors International (NDI) – an organization that promotes global health and social justice through natural medicine. I joined a 10-day brigade in 2008 down in Nicaragua, where I learned how politics, history, environmentalism, social health, education and economics all interact to impact global health.
I believe the naturopathic profession needs a vested interest and presence in national health care policies and legislation, so I still participate with the AANP on those topics. State licensures and appropriate scope of practice expansions are also incredibly vital to giving people access to this wonderful and much-needed type of medicine.
AANMC: As a recent graduate (June 2011), you are currently facing a fairly daunting economic landscape. Has this created more of a sense of camaraderie or competition among fellow students and graduates in your experience?
ESK: I would say both. Certainly there has been competitive tension for the few residency positions that many of us applied for. But mostly, I've witnessed a lot of camaraderie and support in my graduating class, such as people passing along job leads or sharing study resources for board exams (as we've done for the last five years). We still encourage each other to manifest our dream careers, regardless of the current economic conditions.
AANMC: What areas of focus or specialties are you drawn to?
ESK: I would like to practice primary care, family and preventive medicine. I am definitely in the "new doctor" phase of envisioning many possibilities for my future practice, so my goals may narrow at some point as I have a family and evolve as a physician. Right now, I see myself practicing naturopathic family medicine with my husband, Chris Kozura, who is also an ND and graduate of Bastyr. We’d love to be able to see a wide range of patients, from newborns to grandparents. I really enjoy working with expecting parents, and feel preconception and prenatal care are vital to the health of multiple generations. I look forward to working with midwives in this same vein. I hope to spend at least part of my work week in hospital or subacute care settings, as I find there is so much naturopathic and East Asian medicine can provide to patients and practitioners in those settings that we're just starting to learn about.
Dr. Eva Kozura fully appreciates the range of experiences that shaped who she is today. She attributes much of her success to the strong connections she maintains to those who supported her in becoming an ND. She’s learned about self-care as a result of her work, and makes sure to set aside time every day to either meditate, pray, practice yoga, run in the woods, visit with friends or simply unwind with her husband.
Dr. Kozura just completed her clinical board exams and is finishing up a degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. This fall, she will start her residency at the Bastyr Center in Seattle. She is grateful to have been chosen for this position this year.
She is inspired by her budding career as an ND, and looks forward to fostering natural health, joy and success in the lives of her patients and future colleagues. Dr. Kozura imparts a final thought to aspiring naturopathic medical students: “Take that spirit of adventure that led you to this profession and keep it alive throughout this incredible ride. Remember, though, that your ability to care for others becomes limited if you yourself are not doing well, including financially. So, be sure to consult with your naturopathic physician as early as possible to help improve your health, and connect to others who are succeeding on the path. Above all, enjoy!”