Alex Chan
5 min read

How I Become A Naturopathic Doctor

Written by
Dr. Alex Chan
Published on
June 8, 2022

Growing up I never thought it was strange that my parents were strict with our diet-no refined sugar, limited corn and wheat and mostly veggies. I didn’t question that when I got sick the first things I took were botanical tinctures and not antibiotics. I hardly noticed that when other kids watched TV I was outside running around and playing games. Such was my life growing up as the eldest daughter of Suelina, a registered massage therapist, and Lawrence a chiropractor turned acupuncturist and naturopathic doctor. For me my journey was discovering conventional medicine from an awareness of holistic health care rather than the other way around.

This isn’t to say that I always knew I wanted to be a naturopathic doctor or that my family pushed me in this direction. Helping and connecting with people has always been essential to me and for a time I thought that the best way I could do this was from the conventional side with a naturopathic twist. I always enjoyed sciences and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology and Genetics at UBC seemed like a good fit. But midway through university I realized that my core beliefs were echoed more closely by holistic medicine and focused myself of naturopathic medical school.

Being from Vancouver, BC and anticipating that after my naturopathic training I’d likely want to join my dad and his partners at their clinic Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre I decided on moving abroad for my medical education. National College of Natural Medicine was the perfect fit as they are the oldest establish Naturopathic Medical School with a stellar reputation and the right blend between traditional therapies and modern science. I learned so much during my four years of medical school-from specific details about biochemical pathways to how to talk to a patient and what kind of doctor I wanted to be. Upon graduation I knew I was ready to come back to Vancouver and join the team at Integrative but I didn’t yet want to go into full time private practice. I understood that leaving medical school was just the beginning of discovering who I was in clinical practice and I wanted the opportunity to work with establish professionals. Working with Integrative we established the first Certified Naturopathic Residency in Canada and I was lucky enough to complete my first two-years in this program. My background and schooling have all been part of my journey to becoming a naturopathic doctor.    

As a doctor I want to empower people to make change in their life that opens the door to optimal health. I try to work towards more than symptom management and instead focus on disease regression and regaining body function. I look beyond the surface and invite my patients to identify the core causes of their illnesses. I listen and with my patients and other members of their health team establish the best course of treatment. Through personal and professional development I continue to hone myself as a health care practitioner. It’s for you the patients that I do this work and I’m lucky to love my job.

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