Undergraduate: Bachelor's degree in nutrition from Arizona State University
I took a couple nutrition classes as electives in my undergrad and I got hooked. It was fascinating how food can change the body and improve health. I went to a job fair on campus in my junior year and stopped by the SCNM booth. I spoke with the representative for an hour and half about naturopathic medicine—I had never heard of it before! My whole plan during undergrad had been to go to medical school.
After I graduated ASU, I started studying for the MCAT and I was getting burnt out. I started talking to people who were getting accepted to MD programs and looked at what they’d be learning. I started thinking about SCNM again. I worked in the ER and I saw a lot of diabetes and other chronic conditions—just things that were better suited for the kind of care that NDs can provide. At the ER, they did the best they could with the tools that they had, but you would see the same people coming in so I don’t think you can get a long-term fix in that type of setting.
I came to the SCNM campus, did the Student-for-a-Day program and I was sold. It just felt right. I was really excited to know there was a program that put an emphasis in nutrition. That was one of things that was bugging me about an MD program—I wouldn’t get additional training in nutrition which was a disconnect from what I learned for my major. Nutrition is so important to health and I would get that training from SCNM.
My admissions representative was so awesome and she made everything so seamless. My SCNM experience has been really good. I’ve made friends that I’ll have for life with classmates and faculty. My undergrad’s nutrition program was a small class, similar in size to my SCNM class, but it had nowhere near the sense of community that I feel here at SCNM. At the undergraduate level, I was on my own and competing with my classmates. I was totally consumed with grades and getting that A. Here it feels more like a family where we study together and help each other.
I would say that naturopathic medicine is the future. Look around at the chaos that’s in the health care industry; it’s a dead end to me. If you’re looking for something that’s going to be able to heal people and improve their life long-term, not just quick fix, then there is no other field as far as I’m concerned. Conventional medicine doesn’t acknowledge that the body knows what it’s doing. When sickness happens in the body it’s not something that’s going wrong; it’s the body responding to something that’s influenced it. The body has an innate intelligence and knows how to heal itself. Being an ND means knowing how not to get in the way of the healing process.
Follow Alan on Twitter: @alanbradford