PORTLAND – Three years ago, naturopath Dr. Masina Wright followed her heart to Portland. Although the relationship that brought her didn’t pan out, Wright realized it would be a happy ending after all. She had fallen in love with the city and was where she was meant to be – in an environment that values integrated medicine and challenges her to be a better doctor.
Wright always knew she would be a doctor. In her second year at Middlebury College in Vermont, Wright said she realized her “[medical] politics might not align with traditional medical practice.”
Rather than take the traditional route to becoming a doctor, she enrolled in the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, one of seven accredited naturopathic medical schools in North America where she earned her N.D. Naturopathy is a licensed profession subject to vigorous study. Each school offers a standardized academic program where students are taught the same clinical medical courses. Students must pass standardized board exams at years two and four to obtain a license. Botanical medicine, homeopathy, lifestyle counseling, massage, nutrition, and physical medicine are part of the course load as well.
“I was trained in primary care like a PCP and have prescribing rights,” said Wright, who is licensed in Maine and Ontario.
Wright spent the first 11 years of her practice in Toronto, where she owned a wellness clinic and taught at her alma mater. She is trained to assess any health condition that a patient presents, and like a family doctor would, decides whether to take the client on or refer them to another practitioner better suited to treat the particular need.
“Integrative medicine really integrates traditional Western medicine with herbal medicine and complementary alternative medicine,” said Wright. “Portland is fairly integrated, and Maine is fairly progressive in terms of medical politics.”
Wright specializes in anti-aging, fertility and hormonal issues for women, men and transgender individuals. She enjoys taking the time necessary with clients to help them reclaim health and wellness. Along with her own practice, she consults with the Age Management Center on Congress Street in Portland.
“I love what I do,” said Wright, “and I’m grateful for that and for happening to step into a circle that accepts the value of integrated medicine and is willing to collaborate.”
Q What were your most important needs in getting started?
A The most important need was support – having the financial support in place to make it through the first steps, emotional support in starting a brand new venture, family support in following a non-corporate path. Perhaps most important is having a vision and the faith in oneself to succeed. A good marketing strategy (I like Duct Tape Marketing) and a good graphic designer to translate the vision into usable material is also helpful. (I like Murphy Empire and The Portland Designer here in Maine)
Q What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A My father has been an independent business owner for my whole life with good success. When I decided to go into integrative medicine, it was automatically accepted that I would go into business for myself and follow in his shoes.
Q What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
A There are some resources geared toward women, so there are perhaps more resources for women. However, I don’t think there is an advantage overall.
Q What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
A If you can, do your venture on your own without giving away leadership to other people. You can do this. Get a good accountant and lawyer on your team early. Make sure your bookkeeping is taken care of from the beginning. Believe in yourself. Follow your intuition about decision making. If you need therapy or coaching during this time to keep clear accountability with your vision, invest in your self-worth. Money comes and goes, but clarity brings courage, which leads to success.
Q If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
A It’s been 14 years of being self-employed. If I knew how hard it would be from the beginning, I may have made other career choices. I would certainly not have brought other people into my first business venture, as the personal relationship pitfalls negatively affected our business model. Other than that, I am proud of the work I have done as an integrative medicine doc, and love my profession.
– Faith Gillman
Dr. Masina Wright
The Wright Doctor