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Shabita Nathwani was instrumental in developing UBC’s food bank and plans to study Nathropathic medicine - photo by Martin Dee
Shabita Nathwani was instrumental in developing UBC’s food bank and plans to study Nathropathic medicine - photo by Martin Dee

UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 5 | May 1, 2008

Bridging the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Naturopathic Gap

By Catherine Loiacono

Conventional medicine and naturopathy are often in conflict, and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate Shabita Nathwani plans to use her experience with both to bridge the gap.

As an award-winning community volunteer and activist -- Shabita was instrumental in establishing UBC’s food bank -- she already has the skills to make it happen.

The year she was accepted into the pharmacy program at UBC, Nathwani was also diagnosed with ulcerative colitis -- a diagnosis that continues to have an impact on her life.

“Conventional medicine helped me significantly,” says Nathwani. “but naturopathic treatments boosted my immune system and without both, I don’t think I would feel as healthy as I do today.” Nathwani also believes that her experience will allow her to relate to her patients more effectively to make her a better Pharmacist and ultimately, a Naturopathic Doctor.

However, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences is only the beginning for Nathwani. After graduation, she plans to continue her studies to become a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.

“I want to be able to bridge the gap between these often times opposing fields,” says Nathwani. “Having the knowledge of both these practices will only enhance my ability as a health care provider. As a pharmacist I will know what medications the patient is already taking and then be able to treat them holistically as a naturopathic physician.”

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Structured Practice Education Program (SPEP) helped prepare Nathwani for the next stage in her career. “I have learned to trust the knowledge I have and to always look at an issue from all possible angles,” says Nathwani. SPEP allows students to experience the practical application of knowledge outside the classroom through extensive clinical practice. Students develop technical knowledge while simultaneously gaining confidence and a sense of community.

As a pharmacist Nathwani has learned that she is a drug expert and not necessarily a drug advocate unless needed. “I believe that in some situations it is possible to slowly decrease the dose of medication provided a patient has other supportive measures like naturopathy,” says Nathwani. “Combining pharmacy and naturopathic medicine is what I will make of it.  I hope to use my knowledge and experience in both fields to become a holistic health care professional who bridges the gap between conventional and alternative medicine.”

In collaboration with the UBC Red Cross, the Alma Mater Society and the Ismali Students Association, Nathwani played a leadership role in developing the UBC Food Bank, in addition to volunteering at UBC Hospital and BC Children’s Hospital.

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“All graduates who are fortunate enough to receive an education should be advocates for their professions. The way an individual’s profession develops is specific to each person and their motivation.”


Last reviewed 29-Apr-2008

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