I received my Bachelor of Science (biology with a focus on human genetics) with distinction from the University of Victoria in 1998. I was a very typical premed student and was completely unexposed to any alternative medicine- it was even worse then than it is now. I had planned to become a medical geneticist. During my co-op program I had the opportunity to do work experience with a medical geneticist at Victoria General hospital, and this is where I became disillusioned with my dream. I learned that although there was brilliance in the field of genetics, at the time there were almost no clinical treatments available for patients. And I most definitely wanted to work with patients!!!
I promptly had a career crisis, fell in to depression, realizing I had ‘wasted’ 6 years getting my degree, and one day wandered into a health food store looking for some alternative to using prescription antidepressants. At the time I also suffered from chronic bronchitis and indigestion and had abysmal knowledge of nutrition. It was there I was introduced to my first Naturopathic Doctor (at whom I looked with much scepticism like a proper medical student) and thought to myself “You can do this for a LIVING?” As I had two co-op work terms remaining in my degree, I talked the co-op director in to letting me do full time research for two local Naturopathic doctors for 8 months in Victoria. This was very enlightening- what I was able to do in these 8 months was to critically look at what being an ND meant, what treatment tools were available, and what the quality of information was that an ND relied on to make clinical decisions.
So I was very excited and went on to complete my 4 year Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, which was the only school in Canada at that time. I have learned something every day in the last 18 years of my practice. This is a tremendously exciting field.
I moved to Prince George and started a practice with Dr Jason Boxtart in 2002. I have several interests which have evolved throughout my life and my practice, but we tend to be good at what we love if we learn it well. My practice is a general practice, but I do see people with focus in the area of anxiety, depression, fatigue, thyroid problems, addictions and hormones. Digestive difficulties tend to be fairly easy to sort out. Treatment of behavioural issues in children is par for the course. I love to help children, and my own children have been good teachers. I use many tools, but I find orthomolecular medicine particularly interesting, I’ve seen natural hormones change peoples lives completely, and I am a vocal supporter and user of LOW DOSE NALTREXONE. I was one of the first practitioners in British Columbia to start using Low dose naltrexone in people with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions in 2008 after learning about it from a series of practitioners in San Diego. It is still one of the most exciting developments I’ve ever seen for autoimmune disease and mood disorders.
I have taken extra training in many things over the years but environmental medicine has been an area of particular interest, probably partly because there’s no getting away from it. Chemical sensitivity is becoming more and more common and the environment is implicated in autoimmune disorders and cancers.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Bowen technique, which is a physical kind of muscle manipulation that I offer patients for the treatment of chronic pain. I first learned this technique at school in Toronto where I used to suffer from terrible headaches that hurt so badly it affected my vision and my studying. I was at the chiropractor twice a week (I love chiropractors, they saved my sanity) for about ten years until I finally stumbled across the Bowen technique at a seminar course in fourth year. This technique saved my neck and finally got me off of pain medication. My lovely chiropractor now sees me only twice a year (results vary!).
As a point of interest, I served as adjunct faculty at the UNBC here in Prince George in the Faculty of Medicine for 9 years. Over this time I got to introduce conventional medical students to the field of Naturopathic Medicine so that by the time they graduated the field was hopefully somewhat demystified to them. It was and is still my intention to keep the lines of communication open between conventional medical doctors and Naturopathic doctors, because at the end of the day, the needs of the patient are the primary concern.
I look forward to meeting you if you need me!