Works and Days

Reed Winter Externship Reflections 14: Number Two, Naturopathy with Dr. Lisa Shaver, Austin Stuedell


I have long believed that nature is the best remedy and that modern medicine needs to become a more holistic process that heals through natural plants and herbs. Despite this conviction, naturopathy was not a term I was familiar with until I came to Portland and came across multiple naturopathic health clinics. I soon learned that the philosophy behind naturopathy shared my beliefs about what was the best treatment for patients. My research into naturopathy left me with an intense desire to find out what attending a naturopathic healthcare clinic would be like.

Then, like fate, Reed posted its available externships for winter breaks and one of the opportunities was at a naturopathic clinic. Therefore, my first day back in Portland was spent fulfilling my wish of learning about working in a naturopathic doctor’s office.

For my externship I job shadowed Dr. Lisa Shaver and watched her engage with her patients in a way very different than most traditional doctors. Dr. Shaver was interested in gaining a complete understanding of her patients’ life so that she could prescribe the best treatment plan. She treated the individual, not just the symptoms.

Due to confidentiality agreements, I can’t say much about the patients I saw or the diseases that were treated, but I certainly learned a lot. For example, every year prescription drugs that are taken correctly kill hundreds of people, where as natural plant extracts are relatively harmless even when taken incorrectly. This fact confirmed my belief that often the simplest, most natural remedy is best.

I am not sure if I want to become a doctor. Lately the call towards teaching has been growing stronger and stronger, however, upon completing this externship I know that if I do decide to enter the medical field I will certainly become a naturopathic doctor over a traditional one.

*Dr. Lisa Shaver will be on Reed’s campus this weekend (2/8-2/9) for Working Weekend




Tags: reed winter externship , naturopathy, medicine