Provider Spotlight: Alycia Policani, ND
by Wynter Kaiser
Dr. Alycia Policani obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in human biology, from Eastern Washington University in 1996. She then attended and received her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2000. She moved back to her hometown of Spokane, WA, and started her practice, Evergreen Naturopathic, in 2001. Since that time, it has been her mission to empower people to start achieving their best life through exceptional naturopathic care, education, and the whole-person treatment.
Dr. Policani recently served with Healing Spokane, a group of ND’s, MD’s, nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, mental health providers, etc., whose aim is to educate both the public and health care providers in the Spokane area about the benefits of integrated healthcare. Dr. Policani is married and lives in Spokane, WA with her husband, son, and various 4-legged, furry family members.
Watch our interview with Alycia Policani, ND:
DUTCH: What inspired you to become a healthcare practitioner?
Dr. Policani: Well, I was in my second year of university and somehow I snuck into the last anatomy and physiology class as a three-semester series, without taking the first two classes in the series. This class had anatomy dissection, and I know it sounds gruesome, but I was fascinated and completely fell in love and amazement with the complexity of the human body.
My plan was to be a chemistry major prior to taking that class, but after that I changed my major to human biology and planned to become a medical doctor. I had no idea that naturopathic medicine existed at that point, but at the end of my third year at the university, Bastyr, which is one of the naturopathic medical schools, came and gave a one hour presentation. My best friend at the time in the biology program was planning on becoming a chiropractor, so she dragged me over to hear Bastyr’s talk, and as soon as I learned about naturopathic medicine, I just knew that that’s what I was meant to do, and so I did it.
DUTCH: Where did you attend school?
Dr. Policani: I went to school at what’s now called the National University of Natural Medicine. It was the National College of Naturopathic Medicine when I attended, and I’m a licensed naturopathic physician. To apply to naturopathic medical school, at least twenty-four years ago when I started, you needed to have a bachelor’s degree and several science prerequisites. So I have my Bachelors of Science and Human Biology from Eastern Washington University and then, of course, four years of post-grad naturopathic medical training from NUNM.
DUTCH: What is your practice?
Dr. Policani: In my current practice, I’ve been in practice now for 20 years and I have a private practice in Spokane, but I function mainly as a primary care physician. Over the past few years, I’ve been really trying to concentrate and specialize in women’s health and thyroid issues.
DUTCH: Do you use any other functional testing in your practice?
Dr. Policani: I do. I use the DUTCH Complete™ most often, I mean, definitely, that test was a game-changer for female hormone balancing and adrenal health. I used saliva testing prior, but again, like I said, I feel like I get much more accurate, consistent results with the DUTCH. I’ve used a variety of functional testing over the years, what we’re currently using in the clinic right now are the DUTCH Test®, but we also use the BiomeFX stool panel by Microbiome Labs, we use the Great Plains OAT and mycotoxins panels, and for our allergy testing panels, we use ELISA/ACT at Biotechnologies.
We all do a lot so we use strategy and testing, of course, standard blood tests, as well as blood tests for certain nutrient deficiencies. We also have a doc in clinic who treats Lyme disease, so he uses a lot of blood and IGeneX functional testing for Lyme and coinfections.
DUTCH: What are the biggest changes that you’ve seen in your patients or your practice since you started using the Dutch Test®?
Dr. Policani: Well, I first came across Precision Analytical and the DUTCH panel at the Hawaii Doc Talks about five or six years ago, Dr. Carrie Jones was at the booth and just looking at the information and the research behind the testing method, I was just so excited. I went home from the conference and just immediately changed all of my hormone and adrenal testing over to the DUTCH panels.
Dr. Jones is amazing and she provides such great clinical support to the physicians, and she really taught me how to interpret a lot of the testing. I’ve taken two or three of the training seminars that were offered by DUTCH since then, and I have just seen greatly improved patient response. I feel like I’m getting a lot better clinical accuracy with any of the recommendations that I’m making for hormone balancing and for adrenal health since I started using DUTCH.
DUTCH: How would you say DUTCH has generally impacted your female patients’ health?
Dr. Policani: I would say how it’s generally impacted them is that it improves their quality of life. I see a lot of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who have sleep issues, hot flashes, night sweats, mental and emotional imbalances, anxiety, joint pain, and all these things that, unfortunately, our mothers never told us came along with perimenopause and menopause.
It really impacts their quality of life and so does having a tool that gives me really great clinical data so that I can move forward with a treatment plan to help balance that out. They can start sleeping again, they can think again, it just makes a huge difference to them.
DUTCH: Do you use DUTCH as a baseline and do you do any follow-up testing?
Dr. Policani: I actually do both regularly. It’s important to me to have a baseline before starting a patient on a plan because I feel with hormones it’s all about balance and sometimes the symptoms that are associated with certain hormonal balances overlap. So I really like to be sure of my path at the beginning of the journey, so I’ll start with a baseline, and then depending on how patients are responding, I might follow up at three, six, or twelve months, depending on how they’re doing. If they’re doing great, then I will probably follow up once a year. If they’re having a hard time, I’ll probably do it every three months until I get it dialed in.
DUTCH: Are you practicing more virtually than you were previously?
Dr. Policani: Definitely. You know, especially March through June of last year, we’ve instituted several protocols to keep our clinic as safe of a space as possible. And really, since June, we’ve been seeing more patients in clinic because they just hate the virtual platform. They really do. But I’m still doing quite a bit more virtually than I have done in my past 20 years of practice.
DUTCH: Do you have any patients outside of Washington?
Dr. Policani: Yes, I do. I have a lot of patients that winter in other places, so they’ll check in while they’re in Arizona or other spots.
DUTCH: Where do you see functional and integrative medicine heading 20 years from now?
Dr. Policani: I’m hoping it’ll become the norm, the standard of care in our country. I’ve seen an ever-growing movement of patients asking, demanding, for this type of care. People are just really tired of the conveyor belt, one size fits all medicine in which, you know, maybe they get five minutes of the doctor’s time.
They really want whole-person care and they should want and demand that type of care. It’s the type of care that prevents costly chronic diseases and it promotes optimal wellness. We only get to do this life once and we need to make the best of it.
DUTCH: And is there anything that you like to do outside of work?
Dr. Policani: I’m pretty ADD about my activities! I love to garden, I love to cook, I build stuff out of wood like furniture and garden stuff, I like to ride my horse, I hike, I ski, I paddleboard. Like I said, I’m a little ADD about my hobbies haha!