Debra and Rufus Glasper established the Glasper Family Scholarship at SCNM in 2018 to support African American students pursuing their ND Degree. Dr. Rufus Glasper served on SCNM’s Board of Trustees for nine years and both he and Debra have been longtime supporters of naturopathic medicine and SCNM.
My name is Shamar Amison, I was raised in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Delaware State University for my undergraduate degree. I decided to pursue a degree in naturopathic medicine after receiving my degree in wildlife management and a minor in Africana studies. Pursuing my undergraduate degree made me realize how so many factors in an ecosystem can affect its health and ways we can improve it. I wanted to apply these same concepts to helping people; specifically, women. I’ve always had a passion for women’s health, dermatology, and nutrition. Attending an HBCU played a role in identifying my passions as well as being able to see how diversity and culture can affect our health in a multitude of ways.
For the longest, I thought I wanted to be a doula and assist in natural births, however the more I’ve learned and experienced new things since attending SCNM, I’ve decided I want to put more of a focus on women before and after pregnancy. I believe allowing a woman to have control and complete knowledge of her health and body outside of when she is pregnant is imperative to their wellbeing. Today, many women suffer from reproductive disorders and syndromes that affect their quality of life. Often, they are told to just deal with it or have many of the symptoms covered up with birth control and other pharmaceuticals as the best course of action for treatment. Other times, they are misdiagnosed or not even paid attention to. This particularly happens with women of color.
I was recently diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and for many years I continuously told doctors something is not right and presented various issues. I was told a medley of different things but all of them ultimately ending in telling me there was nothing to worry about. By the time a doctor noticed some red flags and diagnosed me with PCOS I had a HbA1c of 6.1. As a young African American woman with history of type two diabetes on both sides of my family, I was deeply afraid for my health. My physician told me there was nothing they could do except prescribe me statins and hormonal birth control. For me, that was not the route I wanted to take. When I saw my naturopathic doctor and told them my diagnosis, we began to formulate a plan that would be centered around improving my diet and adding various supplements that would aid in my hormonal imbalance. Going through that journey is a testimony and motivation for myself to help other women going through a similar narrative and allow them the freedom of different options for their health and wellbeing that naturopathic medicine provides. For me, it provided the continued reassurance that naturopathic medicine is the route for me and that taking control of your diet and lifestyle can aid in the success of anyone’s health journey.
When it comes to skin, I always remember my mother telling me; “when you look good you feel good.” Your skin is not only your first line of defense, but the first thing people see when you meet them, having chronic skin problems can affect a person’s self-esteem. When I have free time one of my favorite things to watch is a doctor called “Dr. Pimple Popper.” She does procedures from removing lipomas, cysts, and blackheads. Seeing how she can change someone’s life and self esteem is a truly motivating thing that I wish to one day achieve and do myself. Once again, reproductive health can play a role in this as well however regardless of the gender, I believe everyone should be given the opportunity to feel comfortable in their skin.
When I become a naturopathic doctor, I see myself going back to the Baltimore, Maryland area and helping people in their own health journey and to provide them the freedom and knowledge to take control of their bodies. I plan on doing this by starting my own practice as well as opening my own produce markets, particularly near food deserts in order to provide access and flexibility to those that can’t get fresh food as readily. I also plan on raising awareness on reproductive health and being an advocate for women to ask questions about their body. I want to be able to help end the stigma that pain and discomfort are associated to reproductive health. Receiving this scholarship would aid in my academic career by being able to attend different types of conferences and shadow different types of doctors that focus on the things I am passionate about and learn new things in these unique fields for me to become a well-versed doctor in my niche.
I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Glasper Family for their contribution to not only SCNM and naturopathic medicine but giving me the opportunity to further my academic career for me to become an even better naturopathic doctor and give back to my community. This scholarship essay provided me the chance to truly reflect on my passion and motivation for becoming a naturopathic doctor.