Dr. Anouk Chaumont, ND, Grande Prairie/Dawson Creek
Dr. Anouk Chaumont ND graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2005. She is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), as well as board member of the Lyme Disease Association of Alberta (LDAA). Dr. Chaumont is licensed in Alberta and British Columbia and practices in both provinces.
“In high school, I wanted to become a conventional medical doctor. I ended up going into psychology instead and worked as a parole officer for two years while doing my master’s in criminology. I soon realized that criminology wasn’t for me. During this time, my mother (a registered nurse) started studying homeopathy. Through this, I was exposed to a whole new way of doing medicine and went back to my initial passion (medicine) except with a more natural approach.”
“Initially, my clinical area of focus was naturopathic oncology (cancer support). However, my area of special interest over the last 5 years has been chronic infections, specifically Lyme disease and co-infections. I began focusing on this because my husband went fishing in Northern Alberta one day and came home with Lyme disease. I needed to learn how to treat it so that I could help him. All of a sudden, after this incident, a lot of patients started showing up at my clinic with strange symptoms. The one thing they all had in common was undiagnosed chronic Lyme disease. So, I shifted my clinical focus to mold toxicity, Lyme disease and co-infections. Unfortunately, very few naturopathic doctors know how to properly treat Lyme disease. This condition is much more prevalent than people think. A lot of patients are misdiagnosed.”
Rather than a strict separation between conventional and naturopathic treatment, Dr. Chaumont ND finds that “the best treatment results come from a combination of antibiotics and botanical medicine with other additional tools from Naturopathic Medicine.” As naturopathic doctors do not have prescription rights in Alberta (and legislation varies by province), Dr. Chaumont ND decided to obtain dual licensure in Alberta and BC in order to provide full care to her patients. “I would consider the process of getting my dual licensure one of my biggest challenges, but also greatest accomplishments.”
“It is a huge frustration to not have prescription rights in Alberta. This means having to separate my practice among two different provinces. My main office is in Alberta and I travel to my BC office every second Friday. When an Albertan patient needs complementary antibiotic therapy, they have to travel all the way to my BC office, so that I can address that portion of the treatment there. It is a real challenge for the patient.”
A typical day in the life of Dr. Anouk Chaumont ND looks as follows: “I enjoy my morning coffee with puppy snuggles before leaving my house, then I typically see about 10-15 patients/day usually beginning with blood draws in the morning. I stay about 1-2 hours afterwards to finish any paperwork. Sometimes I stop by the gym for a training session after work and go for walks with my three dogs. My personal project currently is to get back into competitive shooting. I am redoing my certifications and like to take part in competitions through the IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). It is highly tactical, a social activity that I like to do with friends, and it is a good stress release.”
Dr. Eric Arrata, ND, Elite Sport Performance, Calgary
Dr. Eric Arrata completed an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary and worked at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal before moving to Seattle to study Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University.
“Since my early teens I knew that medicine was in my future and I’d be interested in maintaining health in the simplest ways possible. Most of this derives from the understanding that the body is self-correcting and connected to the larger natural world, though this understanding and awareness has largely been lost. A return to health then resides in our ability to remove the challenges to health that we’ve imposed, personally and societally. For the majority of people this is a simple, though not always easy, process. What we eat and drink, how we move and rest our bodies, our exposure to contaminants or toxins, and the health of our relationships all impact how vital and strong we are. So, at the end of the day, my clinical focus centers on lifestyle habits, emotional health, and identifying and removing known toxins or insults to the body.”
“My inspiration arises from being alive and becoming aware of the beauty and wisdom all around us. This may seem trivial or excessively dreamy, yet the truth is that things are always as they are and life isn’t complicated, just our understanding of it is. Knowing that we are all of nature and connected inspires me to aid others in being reminded of this. Then health can follow.”
For Dr. Arrata’s, the most rewarding aspect of his career as an ND is “having a patient arrive concerned about their pain, energy, digestion, mood or what have you, and then leave with a sense of how these symptoms relate to how they have lived their lives. This brings a smile to my face. I feel the saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” reflects what we do in our clinics daily. You provide people with a mirror and it’s up to them to accept the truth of the image or not.”
When it comes to work/life balance, Dr. Arrata feels that it is important as an ND to practice what you preach. “Teachings are most effective when they come from experience. One cannot know what it feels like to swim on a mountain stream until one has done so. So, in order to explore altering perspectives and changing one’s habits with patients, I should have had this experience myself. Early on in my career I discovered the things that support me and those that don’t, and I incorporated as many supporting factors as I could professionally and personally. These related to having a schedule that is never too busy, simplifying the various ways in which patients can reach me, maintaining boundaries around my cellphone and social media use, and remembering that family always comes first. I can’t really preach what I don’t practice.”
“Challenges are always plentiful in practice, yet the one that I most need to be aware of is not stretching my knowledge too thin. There are a great many areas of interest I have, that I often need to reel myself in to focus on a select few. I try to enhance those areas that are my “bread and butter” and leave topics that “stretch” the clinical envelope as smatterings, to keep things interesting. This has and likely always will be my greatest challenge since “connecting the dots” is a game I love.”
Dr. Arnel Beaubrun graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in 2003. He co-founded CCNM’s annual Men’s Health Awareness Week and Sports Medicine Speciality Clinic. He currently runs his own clinic, Integra Naturopathics, in Calgary where he treats both English and French speaking patients.
“I experienced firsthand the healing potential of Naturopathic Medicine in my life. I overcame a severe auto-immune disease in my early twenties with the help of naturopathy, after frustrating attempts with conventional treatment. It was a life-changing time for me that literally changed the trajectory of my future. My personal journey has greatly influenced my practice. While it continues to evolve as the years pass, it has always been rooted in my passion for endocrine and digestive health – the greatest factors in auto-immunity. My quest to discover the role of digestion in health allows me to help those with complex auto-immune disorders and learning spectrum disorders, through the healing power of food.”
Dr. Arnel Beaubrun feels deeply inspired by lifestyle medicine. “Raising our three children holistically fuels my desire to explore and expand my knowledge about how our habit life affects our wellness. We’ve chosen to educate our kids in the Waldorf school system, with a focus on low media (our kids don’t have iPads), creativity (art and music are a priority in their early years) and outdoor experience (there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing). As they grow older, we are witnessing firsthand the extraordinary influence lifestyle (from an early age) has on neurological and immune health. It’s been fascinating and has deeply changed how I deliver pediatric care to the young and preventative care to the rest of our clients.”
For Dr. Arnel Beaubrun, the most rewarding aspect of his career is that “Naturopathic Medicine has offered me the opportunity to expand beyond a fulfilling clinical practice. We’ve created and sold several successful companies – all of them woven together by natural health and wellness. We have been involved in the yoga industry, food industry (we created and founded Bruhe – a real food café) and now the supplement industry (Rumina Naturals). Natural medicine has been a fantastic stepping-stone for personal and professional growth. Having naturopathic knowledge is a huge advantage as an entrepreneur in the health and wellness space. I enjoy the diversity and challenges that come with the variety that I’ve created in my career. I have Naturopathic Medicine to thank.”
When it comes to maintaining a healthy work/life balance Dr. Beaubrun says: “This has required some creativity! As a busy father of three very active children, it’s become super important to immerse myself in their passions and interests – to stay present in their lives while keeping fit and finding some balance (not easy). I’ve learned to embrace climbing, mountain biking and parkour in the last few years – it’s a wild ride with them! Adaptability and flexibility don’t come naturally for me, but I’ve had to move beyond my comfort zones to allow room for new ways of maintaining life balance.”
Adapted from an email conversation on August 6th 2020 by Annick Meckes.
Dr. Patricia Wales ND graduated with the first class of the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine (which later became CCNM) when the profession was still in its infancy in Canada. She has been in practice for almost four decades throughout which she has served on the board of naturopathic associations both on the provincial level in Ontario and Alberta, as well as on the national level with the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND).
“I am most passionate about women’s health. There is such a broad scope and women are often the ones who have the greatest influence on the family unit. The most common reasons women come to me are for hormonal issues, digestive issues and food sensitivities, adrenal and thyroid problems, and for detoxification. Frequently when I treat women, we end up implementing strategies that can help the whole family. For example, when mom’s diet improves, often the whole family’s diet improves. You could say I have an interest in keeping families as a whole healthy through women.”
“Long before I became a naturopathic doctor, I worked as a research chemist at the Food and Drug Directorate in Ottawa developing methods for detecting pesticides in foods. I later realized, in my training as an ND, that while the regulatory system is focused on ‘what is the largest amount of a toxic substance one can tolerate and what is the minimum amount of nutrients one must have to survive’, naturopathic doctors focus on the exact opposite – how do we avoid toxins and optimize nutrient intake.”
“My journey to Naturopathic Medicine wasn’t as straightforward as it is for many students today, as there was no established naturopathic college in Canada at the time. I first trained as a chiropractor after observing the benefits that my father and many of his postal worker colleagues experienced through this treatment. However, by my second year I knew I wanted to do more. I began learning about Applied Kinesiology (AK), the theory behind which postulates a relationship between acupuncture meridians, muscles and organs. This opened my eyes to other methods of healing and, ultimately, to the world of Naturopathic Medicine.”
“I went on to teach AK and in-office lab testing at CCNM and for Professional Health Products, as well as to advocate for the naturopathic profession at a provincial and national level. In the late 1980s, I served as Chair of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and launched a campaign to ensure Naturopathic Medicine would remain a regulated profession. After I moved to Alberta in 1996, we went through the same process of obtaining legislation here, which finally resulted in NDs becoming regulated health professionals in 2012. I also served on the board and as Chair of the CAND where I worked to maintain and update regulation of natural health products.”
“I have seen this profession evolve and expand throughout the years, from 40 NDs in my graduating class in Ontario to 2,500 NDs across Canada today. I believe it is crucial for all NDs to be part of their respective provincial association. The associations are the ones driving the profession forward in new areas, promoting the medicine and advocating for NDs. They support each of us in our practice, in education and through camaraderie.”
“I recently heard an interview with David Suzuki saying that he and many of his contemporaries have missed the opportunity to really be with and engage with ageing parents – to learn of their lives and valuable experiences – memories that are gone when they leave us. This mirrors our naturopathic profession – being with and learning from the elders in our profession provides an invaluable source of professional history and of experiential treatment methods, especially hands-on therapies. I feel a strong need to encourage and facilitate intergenerational interaction to reinforce the basis of our medicine.”
“What inspires me as a doctor is the possibility of people having more options to look at in terms of staying healthy, preventing disease and treating illness. New drugs always focus on disease, but NDs seek to identify which functions in the body aren’t working as well as they should and how to support those functions. There also needs to be a greater push to identify important early signs such as endocrine & hormonal imbalances, prediabetes & metabolic syndrome, which are often overlooked by conventional medicine. It is not enough to just treat a diagnosed disease; we need to be looking at and changing what leads to these issues. As well, NDs are uniquely equipped to promote recovery after injury and surgery and need to be better integrated into our health care system to provide that service.”
“I believe NDs can bring our training, skills and methodology in promoting health and healthy choices to a wider audience by cultivating more avenues for promoting Naturopathic Medicine and by keeping traditional naturopathic methods alive and relevant.”