News & Spotlights

Dr. Emer McKenna: Rooted in Community

June 29th, 2023
HealthPoint Programs & Staff, News

By: Natasha Rudolph, Communications Coordinator

Dr. Emer McKenna: Rooted in Community


Dr. Emer McKenna, without a doubt, can say they belong in health care. They’ve tried it all, from driving a forklift to framing houses to working on an organic farm, to eventually going back to Medical school in their thirties, they know for certain health care is where they want to be.

Why Naturopathic Medicine? Dr. McKenna explains, “I had experience with conventional providers in the system. At one point, I moved to Vermont where I found Naturopathic doctors (ND) that were integrated into the health care system as Primary Care Providers (PCP.) This is what I wanted for myself, and I eventually grew into the type of medicine I wanted to provide for others.” With this decision, they were drawn to HealthPoint because of the organization’s accessibility to Naturopathic medicine and its integrated model where NDs can work as PCPs.

Dr. McKenna reflected during the interview on what their biggest challenge was as a health care provider, “to not get them (the patients) the things they need that I really want to get them is a challenge. It’s a social challenge with the way the health care and social systems are set up in this country. We serve vulnerable populations at HealthPoint and there are a lot of people that struggle to access the resources they need.” They go on to include what the biggest influence on their practice is, “In my early twenties I started being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. At the time, the landscape for trans health was very different, there was more gatekeeping than there is now… people in my community struggled with navigating to get the care they wanted. Those earlier experiences informed a lot of choices I’ve made in my life. It is the reason I am working with HealthPoint leadership to become a provider in adolescent gender-affirming care and to expand those services at HealthPoint.”

Learn more about gender-affirming care and what HealthPoint is doing for gender-expansive patients in the video below.