Thursday, February 10, 2011

NYGH Health & Wellness Fair

Yesterday I volunteered for our school at the North York General Hospital (NYGH) annual Health and Wellness Fair.  With the two establishments being in such a close proximity (directly across the street from each other), it was very interesting to see the range of responses to our booth.  Those who came through the fair were mostly employees of the hospital, although an occasional patient stopped by to ask questions.

I was somewhat taken aback by some of the stern looks, harsh comments and being brushed off by a small group of first year Residents.  I could not help but wonder if they thought we were a bunch of x-hippies cleaned up to look like business people instead of effective primary care doctors!  Over the course of the day, I realized that the naturopathic profession needs to remember how strange and foreign our world of quinoa, medicinal plants, and acupuncture, etc., etc., is to the average person whose medical doctor fixes all their health problems.

It is important to remember that the sample populations we are accustomed to seeing are not necessarily representative of the general consensus of the community.  The people that come to the RSNC clinic, or from my experience preceptoring in private practices, have already overcome many obstacles and boundaries to being a patient of naturopathic medicine.  If you are reading this blog, you also have already overcome many more barriers - even in terms of awareness - to understanding naturopathic medicine than the general population.  As such, there is a great need for the naturopathic profession to be culturally relevant when explaining our perspective of health to the general population and an attempt must be made to try to put ourselves in their position (and try to see things from their perspective).

There were some encouraging moments too at the fair and it was great to initiate awareness of how naturopathic medicine can help many health concerns. I should also consider the fact that we were invited to attend the NYGH Health and Wellness Fair another indication that integrative medicine is not so far into the future.

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