“The experience of serving in the military has provided me with a deeper appreciation for life, a stronger desire to help others, the flexibility of thinking outside the box, and has shown me the importance of patience and humility, all of which helped me through medical school and now in practice. Often times, I am able to draw on military experiences to relate to patients, and as a result, I can help them more effectively. Resiliency, flexibility, and adaptability are some qualities from the military that have made me a stronger naturopathic doctor.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Radley Ramdhan’s childhood dreams were to be a pilot and serve in the United States Army – never did he dream of becoming a doctor. It wasn’t until later in high school when his grandfather was dying, that Dr. Ramdhan recognized his calling, “I saw how the health care system in Trinidad and Tobago was lacking, and decided I wanted to pursue a career in medicine to help fill that void and make a difference.” Dr. Ramdhan describes his grandfather’s treatment as “a pill for every ill.” At last it was determined that his continuous decline was due to the amount of medication he was on. Unfortunately, by that point, his kidneys and liver were damaged, and he was addicted to sleep medication. Dr. Ramdhan was determined to become a doctor who could offer patients pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical options, educate them on both and then make a mutual decision on the best course of treatment for their unique case.

Balancing the military and naturopathic medical school

Recognizing that the principles of naturopathic medicine aligned with his personal beliefs, Dr. Ramdhan pursued his naturopathic medical education at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine. Following his childhood dream of serving in the US Army, he completed Army Basic Training during his first summer break.

When school started up again, he struggled to balance military duty and school. “It wasn’t always easy to balance both, sometimes between weekend classes, clinic, seminars, and military obligations I would go a month without having any days off. It boiled down to some of our military teachings of adapting and overcoming, never quitting, and Army values being applied to my daily life.” As a result, he decreased his course load to part-time. “After some time and hard work, I was able to balance both, returned to being a full-time student and decided to push myself to complete a dual-degree in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture. Support from family, and friends both in school and the military helped with motivation especially when I felt overwhelmed.”

Dr. Ramdhan and his unit were deployed to the Middle East during what was supposed to be his final year of medical school. With prior knowledge of the possibility of deployment, he worked ahead to complete courses and exams prior to his deployment and leave of absence.

“The experience of serving in the military has provided me with a deeper appreciation for life, a stronger desire to help others, the flexibility of thinking outside the box, and has shown me the importance of patience and humility, all of which helped me through medical school and now in practice. Often times, I am able to draw on military experiences to relate to patients, and as a result, I can help them more effectively. Resiliency, flexibility, and adaptability are some qualities from the military that have made me a stronger naturopathic doctor.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

Following graduation, Dr. Ramdhan returned to Trinidad and started a naturopathic medicine and acupuncture practice. “I network and integrate with other health care providers to ensure the best options, care, and results for my patients.” Dr. Ramdhan describes his passion as uncovering the root cause with his patients and teaching them to become independent.

Dr. Ramdhan also presents free lectures and workshops on various topics in health. In his free time, he enjoys playing cricket and being involved in the community.

Advice for aspiring NDs

“People are becoming more aware of their health and are trying to take control of it, so now more than ever naturopathic medicine has its time to shine. There are several career opportunities in naturopathic medicine and the future career outlook is great, but we need more people to join the profession and spread the knowledge. I would advise anyone with an interest in naturopathic medicine to not only talk to NDs and patients, but also attend events such as Lobby Day or DC Federal Legislative Initiative (FLI) as they give you a different perspective and inspiration about the potential for our medicine. Like all great things in life, it is not an easy road, but if you have the passion, drive, and a why for choosing naturopathic medicine, you will be successful.”

Dr. Ramdhan continues, “There shouldn’t be any us versus them mentality; we are in a paradigm that allows medicine to be integrated to provide the best patient care. Start building your network from day one as a student and support your classmates along the way. Remember the principles of naturopathic medicine as you go along your path of growth, for the deeper rooted a tree, the stronger it can withstand any storm.”

CLICK HERE to watch Dr. Ramdhan’s PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine webinar on demand!

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