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Julia Navarro ’16: Her path to naturopathic medicine

Home » Campus News Latest » Alumni Achievements » Julia Navarro ’16: Her path to naturopathic medicine

Before transferring to Antioch I had studied biomedical sciences at another university for two years. However, while shadowing physicians, I had become disenchanted with the conventional medical system and wanted to consider a path that felt more aligned with my heart. I ended up studying abroad and living with a family in Costa Rica that had an organic farm and practiced indigenous medicine.

This experience set me on a trajectory to transfer to Antioch and explore environmental stewardship and natural healing, ultimately choosing to major in environmental science and take the medical pre-requisites. My four co-ops included work at the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions; a self-designed co-op shadowing natural care physicians in California and taking care of my Grandma; Koinonia Farm in Georgia; and another self-designed co-op working at an emerging organic farm training school in Puerto Rico.

I didn’t actually know at the time if I wanted to pursue work in the non-profit sector, organic agriculture, or medicine. However, it was during my second co-op in California where I encountered naturopathic medicine and for the first time felt like a medical practice encompassed the type of care I desired to offer – medicine that treats the whole person – body, mind, and spirit; takes the time to uncover the root cause of illness; thinks of doctor as ‘teacher’; and uses time-tested, evidence-based natural therapies as complements to or alternatives to conventional care. It was the type of care I wished my Grandma could have had access to at the time and the type of care I wanted for myself but had never been exposed to.

After graduating from Antioch, I worked for two years at the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions as an AmeriCorps Vista and also acquired my Hatha Yoga Teacher certification. During that time I grappled with the pros and cons of committing to a medical practice that I was passionate about but wasn’t fully licensed in every state. Ultimately, I decided that it was the path that best utilized my natural skillsets, was most aligned with my heart and mind, and that I was going to make it work! I was accepted at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, started my schooling in January of 2019, and will graduate in May of 2022. While the studies are grueling, the experience has been inspiring and transformative.

Antioch gave me the opportunities, courage, and inspiration to take this path. While at Antioch, I learned the importance of forging new and better ways to live in this world even if it is uncomfortable or unpopular; to walk confidently in the direction that my heart and mind are aligned; that our health and well-being are not just physical but deeply affected by our environment, our relationships, our mental state, and our spiritual selves; the importance of listening to understand; and that ideals might be impossible to attain perfectly but always worth working towards.

To learn more about this practice, consider checking out these websites and articles:  Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and  WebMD: “What Is Naturopathic Medicine?”. Feel free to reach out if you want to talk more about this career, Antioch, or life in general!

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