Nutrition & Integrative Health
“My unofficial tagline is ‘eat well, be well, thrive,’ and I wholeheartedly believe that in order to thrive, all aspects of our health—physical, psychosocial, and spiritual—need to be supported, and nutrition plays a key role in achieving this balance.”
What drew you to MUIH?
MUIH’s Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health is one of the only programs in the nation whose foundation is based upon a holistic and wellness philosophy. After researching several nutrition graduate programs in the area, MUIH (Tai Sophia Institute at the time) was the only one that felt like “home” to me.
What excited you about your academic field?
Nutrition and wellness has been a passion of mine for years. I’ve tried almost every diet out there and while many people have achieved success by restriction and counting calories, personally, it wasn’t for me. Instead, I returned to the basics meaning I bought whole, organic foods, prepared meals at home, and even learned how to grow some of my own food. I got rid of the junk and experimented with different recipes so healthy food didn’t mean it had to taste bad. In a way, I reached nutrition enlightenment. I am excited to share my experiences and remind people that eating well is achievable—and that they don’t need to do it alone.
Has there been a course you’ve particularly enjoyed?
Every class with Dr. Bryan Walsh has been amazing, specifically learning how to interpret lab values.
Wellness Physiology I & II are great courses. I had the honor of learning with Camille Freeman, who is a phenomenal teacher. It was during her class when I realized how interested I was in disease and pathophysiology.
Can you speak about the faculty here?
Some of the most well-respected clinicians and professionals in alternative and complementary medicine call MUIH their academic home. What drew me to MUIH is the same energy that connects us together—a passion to make a difference in people’s lives in the most inclusive, holistic manner.
In colleges and universities nationwide, students complain about being “a number,” and that hasn’t been the case during my time at MUIH. Graduate programs are intense, and through these intensive weekends and week-long events, I’ve established meaningful connections with my professors, who are some of the smartest, warmest, and most unique people I’ve had the honor to learn with.
What’s your best MUIH memory?
Foundations of Health and Wellness was one the first classes I took at MUIH. One afternoon, our professor had us dance to some tribal music. At this (early) point, our class hadn’t quite formed the bond we all share now, so everyone was pretty much dancing in place independently. I was standing next to Patrick, an MUIH herbal medicine program alum who recently passed away, and he and I looked at each other with huge smiles and started dancing together, in circles, around and around, laughing. He was one of the first people I connected with at MUIH. From then on, every time we saw each other we’d do a little dance or a shimmy down the hallway. I’ll never forget that very special moment.
How will you use what you’ve learned here?
I am currently interning at a local private practice that specializes in mental health. My focus is supporting brain health and overall well-being with a whole foods diet, nutritional supplementation, and wellness education. After graduation, I plan to continue to work in my community (hopefully) inspiring and supporting people to make healthy lifestyle changes.
My unofficial tagline is “eat well, be well, thrive,” and I wholeheartedly believe that in order to thrive, all aspects of our health—physical, psychosocial, and spiritual—need to be supported, and nutrition plays a key role in achieving this balance. I hope to inspire people to see the” big picture” and make healthy changes, one bite at a time.
What would you say about MUIH to a prospective student who is interested in attending?
Should you choose MUIH, you will definitely have a unique experience. You will have the chance to work with some of the most brilliant minds from the alternative and holistic medical fields. For me, I have made lifelong connections with some of the most wonderful people ever to walk this planet—my classmates. Not only am I lucky to have them as colleagues, we have also become a tight-knit family. And I have MUIH to thank for that.
What is the one word that comes to mind when you think of MUIH?
Joanna Balz is a graduate of MUIH's Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health.