Mark's study of nutritional medicine began in his twenties with a personal decision to experiment with different dietary and physical activity regimens. After receiving degrees in Biology and Science Education from Reed College and East Carolina University, respectively, he earned his Master of Science (MSc) degree in Nutrition at the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health and Medicine. (Reed’s Biology program and UNC’s Nutrition program were both ranked number one nationally.) In 1983, during a year off from Reed, he attended the Boston-based Kushi Institute before returning to Reed for his senior year. His thesis project entailed a pilot study of diabetes and whole-foods/macrobiotic diet at Oregon Health Sciences University.
In 1985, Mark began working as a nutrition educator while actively exploring different dietary therapies, Tai Chi, Qigong, Shiatsu, meditation, herbal medicine, and energy-based healing methods. For a two-year period, he worked closely with Dr. Alan Beardall, Founder of Clinical Kinesiology. These experiences, along with his work as a health writer and contributing editor to Natural Health magazine, helped shape his early appreciation for the diverse pathways to health and healing.
Soon after graduating from Reed College, Mark taught health & nutrition classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He subsequently researched and wrote evidence-based summaries of nutritional and herbal therapies for the Office of Alternative Medicine (now called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM) and drafted an extensive report on mind-body medical perspectives on cancer for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has lectured at the UNC Program on Integrative Medicine, Duke Integrative Medicine, Elon University, and the National College of Natural Medicine.
Over the years, Mark has explored numerous approaches to health and healing, and developed a natural facility for synthesizing key research on nutritional and herbal therapies as well as other natural therapies. His professional affiliations include the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine, Thrive Integrated Health, Essential Health & Wellness, Plum Spring Clinic, Chapel Hill Doctors Healthcare Center, and the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment. He has received certifications in Macrobiotic Counseling, Acupressure, Reiki, BEMER Therapy, and Riordan Intravenous Vitamin C Protocol (from the RIordan IVC Academy).