Dr. Mary Fry completed her undergraduate Bachelors of Science training in Nutritional Biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Following her undergraduate studies, she traveled extensively through South and Southeast Asia, where she had the opportunity to learn about a number of ancient medical systems. Dr. Fry continued her formal , obtaining her degree from the in Portland, Oregon in 2004. At NCNM, she obtained certificates in both Homeopathy and Shiatsu for extensive in-depth didactic and clinical training in each.
Commensurate with naturopathic studies, Dr. Fry began informal studies in psychology in 2000, later traveling abroad to partake in a summer intensive study program at the C.G. Jung Institute of Zurich. Dr. Fry has attended numerous lectures and workshops in psychological studies. Upon graduating from Naturopathic Medical school, Dr. Fry began clinical practice and worked for a year and a half co-managing the medicinary of NCNM; where she assisted in teaching students how to prepare customized herbal, homeopathic and flower essence formulations.
Dr. Fry has shadowed psychiatrists in inpatient facilities and crisis walk-in clinics and maintains consulting relationships with these colleagues. In 2009, she completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship in the department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. This fellowship was funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. During her fellowship, she investigated the relationship between circadian rhythms and Bipolar disorder and also investigated the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the treatment of Mental Illness (specifically Anxiety and Depression).
Dr. Fry has presented on Natural Treatments for Mental Illness at Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, at the Integrated Mental Health Care of Oregon’s public lecture series, to the University of Washington’s Senior Psychiatry Residents and to physicians at a conference on physician wellness at Georgetown University Medical Center. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Fry is an Associate Professor in the Nutrition and Integrative Health Department at Maryland University of Integrative Health (which collaborates with the Institute of Functional Medicine). There she develops courses and teaches in both the Masters and Doctoral Programs in Clinical Nutrition and delights in the ongoing learning and engagement that she is involved in with students, faculty and staff (spanning pedagogy, online educational design and delivery and functional nutrition and medicine). In her teaching and clinical work, Dr. Fry strives to help her patients, future practitioners she teaches and their patients to reach their full potential, to optimize their health and to promote healing in their families and communities. She is currently pursuing training to become an IFM (Institute for Functional Medicine)-certified practitioner.
As in my practice, where I like to trace one’s health and story from early on, I think that sharing my story from a young age will give you a better sense of who I am and how I approach health and the challenges that my patients must overcome with their illness. I was fascinated by health from a young age. I used to often prefer watching and listening to the interactions of adults over playing with peers, I eschewed junk food served at birthday parties to kids – something intuitively seemed wrong about bright neon candies and icing and luncheon meat with macaroni noodles and bright orange cheese embedded in it…I still am not sure why other kids found it so exciting! I loved to do the family grocery shopping at our local health food store…and I loved to read and to learn. A quote I recall reading when I was young at our little village health food store has rang true with me from when I read it to this day ‘You should absolutely refuse to be anything but healthy’.
As a child, I experienced odd symptoms that doctors could not figure out which led to considerable frustration and confusion. I later came to appreciate that I likely had undiagnosed food allergies and could probably be considered a highly sensitive person or ‘HSP’ and was likely somaticizing stress that seemed to have no other outlet. Despite what doctors may have said or implied, it was not all in my head nor something I could will away. I taught myself to cook at a young age and read a lot about nutrition – especially as I became a competitive swimmer as a young teen and had to be very mindful of what I ate and what medicines I took. Athletics taught me a great deal about health and psychology even as they took a considerable toll on both. As I embarked on university studies, it was clear to me that I wanted to study the health sciences, but less clear how to integrate all that I saw as interrelated and interesting. I finally accepted that double majors in neurology and psychology or nutrition and botany were not feasible and so decided on nutritional biochemistry, which proved to be a very fitting choice (which I later rounded out with naturopathic studies and additional study in psychology and psychiatry).
Some of my most significant health challenges and learning in my life thus far came about as a result of a solo half-year trip to Asia in which I contracted typhoid fever and another gastrointestinal (GI) infection. These infections led not only to GI issues, but I observed firsthand what an impact the GI had on psychological and neurological functioning. These health issues were occurring as I was beginning my naturopathic studies and further spurred my interest in the interrelationships between mental and physical health.
In medical school, it was often said that mental health issues needed to be addressed with physical health issues, but somehow little focus was given in treatment and case management to addressing both together. So I began to read voraciously on Jungian psychology, focused my studies in homeopathy (an energetic modality that sees mental and physical health as inextricably linked) and continued to learn about nutritional means to support the gut-brain axis. I sought preceptorships with psychiatrists, continued to pursue learning through my own healing (with Chinese medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, psychotherapy and other interventions, hiking, climbing mountains, creating art and dancing) and pursued research on integrative psychiatry through a postdoctoral research fellowship. My learning continues now through teaching, writing and my clinical work and I continue to feel honored to work with others seeking greater health and consciousness and to have the opportunity to help them towards becoming their best self!
When I am not teaching, seeing patients and learning more about health and Jungian psychology, I enjoy spending time with my husband and pets (a Maremma sheep dog and a variety of cats) at my home outside of Portland, swimming (especially in lakes), camping, hiking, skiing, gardening, cooking, antiquing, creating art and sewing.