Daniella Remy is a second-year naturopathic medical student at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). She shares her unique path and why she fell in love with naturopathic medicine.
Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?
Following the completion of her master’s degree in Family Relations and Human Development in Ontario, Daniella moved to France to study at the University of Nice. While in France, she taught English in three elementary schools. Her goal was to engage in language development in five countries over five years to collect data for a PhD thesis on improving ESL programs. In this “whirlwind of experiences” in Europe and Australia, Daniella was involved in research, edited a book, prepared manuals and courses, established a clinic in Austria, helped with an herbal shop in Italy, learned how to make products in Switzerland, sat in on clinic sessions to translate for patients and became involved in the development of an app called ph360. The app uses a person’s anthropometry and health assessment questionnaire to estimate current health and disease trends. It then provides personalized, evidence-based, lifestyle recommendations.
After nearly a decade abroad, Daniella returned to Canada to be closer to family. She continued to work for ph360 but desired to have deeper understanding of medicine. When Daniella’s mother’s breast cancer was successfully treated with integrative cancer care, “the power of naturopathic medicine was truly brought to light,” and she fell in love with the profession.
“Though I wasn’t consciously aware of it, everything I had experienced had been leading to naturopathic medicine. While speaking to my partner about my frustrations of having a lack of medical knowledge and considering going back to school, his response was ‘Finally! It’s obvious to everyone that you should be a doctor, but it was important for you to decide this for yourself.'”
How did you prepare for ND school?
“In my mind, there was no point in doing something so important unless I could do it well. Taking the time to prepare and make sure I could be fully engaged from the very first day was vital to me.” Daniella chose to begin naturopathic medical school in January instead of September so she could get her affairs in order, finish prerequisites, wrap up ongoing projects, make a financial plan, and speak with her employer about limiting her hours to support her academic goals.
What is your favorite thing about school? What surprised you?
“The CCNM community fosters learning and encourages excellence in the naturopathic profession. Students can create clubs and interest groups, engage in mentored research, provide feedback to the school that is truly taken to heart, and participate in many lectures and webinars for their professional and academic development. Students are offered an environment for collaboration and cohesiveness, and that is inspirational to me.
Naturopathic medicine is like a start-up business – it needs highly motivated and driven people to establish it. Whether it’s through advocacy, quality research, evidence-based practice, interdisciplinary collaboration, or any number of engagements, there is a type of camaraderie in the profession that can be quite powerful. There is no shortage of opportunities for students and professionals to grow, be creative and explore their passion.”
How do you maintain a school/life balance?
Daniella is the student governor for the Naturopathic Student Association and the vice president of professional development for the Naturopathic Medical Student Association. On top of that, she maintains good grades, participates in research, and works a part-time job with the unending support of her family and partner. She prioritizes self-care by finding time in nature, eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and taking care of her body and mind.
What advice do you have for prospective ND students?
“You are responsible for your energy, so look on the bright side and make what you want from your experiences. Life can take many twists and turns but it always leads to a place that is right for you. Embrace it, make the most of the journey and stay positive – even with the challenges we are currently facing with COVID-19. Look for solutions and better outcomes rather than complaining or letting others bring you down. This is a time to focus on priorities. Learn something about yourself and the ones you love. Step up and take on challenges, engage in positive change and help foster a supportive community. Student life is not easy, but nothing that is worthwhile usually is. Studying for exams is much easier when you think about them as necessary stepping stones to your ultimate purpose.”
Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.