Debrah Harding, ND, FABNO is an assistant professor and clinical supervisor at Bastyr University in San Diego, California. She shares her path to naturopathic medicine, practice focus on naturopathic oncology and advice for future naturopathic medical students.
Why did you choose to become a naturopathic doctor?
“I have always known there were modes of healing that went beyond mainstream interventions. Herbal medicine and diet therapies were a starting place for me, and I explored these as hobbies from a very young age.”
Dr. Harding earned her doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine from National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. Prior to teaching at Bastyr, she was a naturopathic oncology provider at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois.
What can students learn from you?
Dr. Harding teaches Advanced Topics in Oncology, Selected Case Studies in Oncology and Environmental Medicine. “It is an honor to see students’ enthusiasm and help shape their learning and formative ND years. I provide clinical approaches from 20 years of naturopathic experience with patients. I also set the expectations of achievement high so that the students obtain foundational knowledge in training that enables self-sufficiency in clinical practice. It is satisfying to see the ways that graduates integrate into society with this training.”
What aspects of naturopathic medicine are you passionate about?
“This discipline has made me a leader in a field of study I am passionate about. Tools of diet, hydrotherapy, herbs, physical medicine and nutrient therapies enable people to be their own healer much of the time. With this training and a lifetime devoted to it, I am grateful to be able to help a lot of people with this knowledge.”
Having witnessed the benefits of naturopathic medicine with oncology patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Dr. Harding is an advocate for the integration of naturopathic care. She was recently interviewed by Oncology Times. Click here to read the article and learn more about her work in integrative oncology.
What advice do you have for prospective ND students?
If you are considering a career in naturopathic medicine, it is up to you to build your foundation and develop a plan for your success. Dr. Harding suggests shadowing local naturopathic doctors to gain a greater sense of what to expect post-graduation. “ND students need to be disciplined learners and be able to rigorously approach the coursework. Learning the mechanisms for how things work in the body and with the treatments should be the goal of every student as they are going through the program.”
Click here to read more naturopathic doctor success stories.