Ryan Welage is a first-year naturopathic and chiropractic medical student at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS). Originally from Greensburg, Indiana, Ryan has an undergraduate degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science from Xavier University and is a former Division One basketball player.
Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?
With a passion in health, performance, and medicine, Ryan knew early on that his calling was to be a doctor, however the type of doctor he wanted to be was not so straight forward. With an interest in medicine beyond pharmaceutical treatments and surgery, Ryan researched different types of doctors and learned about naturopathic physicians for the first time in his junior year of college.
“I instantly knew this was the path for me. I spent the next six hours glued to my computer, reading everything I could find about naturopathic medicine. I love the fact that it is scientifically rigorous, but also holistic and focused on treating the whole person. That was the exact combination that I was looking for and it was something that I had not found anywhere else. Naturopathic medicine is a representation of everything that I believe healthcare and the healing arts should be about.”
How did you prepare for ND school?
“Playing Division One basketball as an Xavier Musketeer while maintaining a high GPA was very challenging, and it certainly helped prepare me, from a discipline, time-management, and stress management perspective, for ND school. I also graduated with my undergraduate degree in three years, and then completed my master’s in a year and a half, using the summer before I came to naturopathic medical school to finish it. I pushed myself to accomplish a lot in a relatively short amount of time, and that has really helped me prepare for ND school, because you are asked to learn a vast amount of information in a relatively short amount of time here as well.”
Ryan credits Robert Churchmann, ND for inspiring him to pursue naturopathic medicine and is grateful for the opportunity to have been able to shadow him.
“I needed to see naturopathic medicine in action. Getting to see Dr. Churchmann practice and learning from him cemented my certainty about naturopathic medicine. Seeing how much his patients loved him and how much he cared for his patients, how every single person that walked into his office was in pain, but every single person walked out feeling like a million bucks – that was really inspiring to me.”
What is your favorite thing about school?
“NUHS has a special community of people that are dedicated to bettering themselves and serving others. I have really enjoyed getting to be a part of that community.”
Additionally, Ryan is thankful for the challenge and opportunity to learn from knowledgeable professors. “I know that achieving mastery in the basic sciences will help me to be a better doctor for my patients, and so the work is more than worth it.”
How do you maintain a school/life balance?
“I feel fortunate to have great classmates, many who have become very good friends. Getting to study and hang out with them has helped me find a good balance. I play basketball a couple of times a week which allows me to take a break from studying and do something I love to do, while exercising and enjoying time with friends.”
What advice do you have for future ND students?
“If you look at the current trends, this is one of the best fields to get into. We have a paradox where the people in industrialized societies have never been more sick, and yet we have never had more access to incredibly powerful and effective holistic healing techniques and technologies. There are so many people that need our services, and that trend is only expected to continue to climb along with disease rates. This presents an extraordinary opportunity to be of service, while at the same time building an amazing practice and personal brand to expand yourself. To me, that is an extraordinarily inspiring opportunity.
Additionally, there is also an exponentially increasing trend of people getting tired of being told to take another pill, that there is no way for them to heal, and that the best they can do is manage their symptoms. People are wising up in the age of information and realizing there are better alternatives available, but they can’t always find the answers to these complex questions themselves. Naturopathic doctors are situated perfectly to be ahead of this trend, and to provide this service to people that they so desperately want but can’t find in the mainstream medicine. Naturopathic medicine is the future.”
Ryan encourages future ND students to seize the opportunity to make an impact in the world. “Some of the technologies and healing modalities that are out there, at the cutting edge, are incredibly powerful, and when combined with the timeless wisdom, foundational philosophy, and knowledge that underlies the naturopathic profession, we have the opportunity to not just suppress symptoms, but really help people heal.”
Learn more about Ryan Welage on Instagram where he shares health, fitness and nutrition content:
Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.