As a teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health provides health services to our community and hands-on clinical training to future doctors. If you have visited Bastyr Center, you know that student clinicians play a key role in your care.
A fifth-year student in the naturopathic medicine program at Bastyr University, Calvin Kwan has spent many hours working with patients. Now only a month away from earning his degree, he reflects on his time at Bastyr and his experience as a student clinician.
On how he chose a career in medicine
“I have always felt that I had a propensity for science and a strong desire to help others. Ever since AP biology in high school, I was fascinated with the complexity of the human body and the cells that comprise it. The decision to pursue a career in medicine was an easy one. The challenge, however, was discovering the type of medicine that resonated with me.”
On the path that led him to Bastyr University
“After my undergraduate degree, I volunteered in the surgical and geriatric units at a hospital. I thought I wanted to pursue a career in conventional medicine, but I was not as keen on how Western medicine was managing health care. I wanted to be in a health care profession that did little to no harm to the patient, while providing them the resources to treat their whole being. As fate should have it, I chanced upon the Bastyr table at a graduate fair. Here I learned of the therapeutic order and the principles of naturopathic medicine. It was love at first sight. The rest is history.”
On his clinical interests
“At Bastyr, I discovered a natural inclination toward the field of physical medicine. Amongst the vast number of therapeutic techniques, I fell immediately in love with naturopathic manipulation. In my time at Bastyr, I have not experienced a technique that could offer relief from pain or discomfort as immediately as a cervical manipulation can.
“I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Bastyr, but one story has always rung true to me: When Dr. Bastyr was asked, if all of his medical tools were taken away but one, which would he choose to keep, he responded by saying, “my hands.” It is this “physical medicine” or “laying on hands” that drives my passion. It never ceases to amaze me how one’s hands can bridge the gaps between patient health and relationship. It's a modality so often forgotten in medicine today.”
On his involvement with the Bastyr Sports Medicine Club
“The Sports Medicine Club’s sole purpose is to allow students and members to practice their physical medicine techniques, including assessment, taping, manipulation, stretching, craniosacral, etc. We adapt these techniques for athletes who can benefit the most from our therapies. Students learn to take charge of their assessments, all the while obtaining copious amounts of patient contacts and a great hands-on experience. The sheer amount of patient contacts alone makes events like the Seattle Marathon and Emerald City Classic Volleyball tournament invaluable experiences. At a busy event, some students may see upward of 20 to 30 patients a day; as many patients as they would see in one academic quarter on a physical medicine shift at Bastyr Center.”
On his clinical training experience
“I am proud and privileged to have been trained under the supervision of our clinical faculty. I could not be more impressed with the caliber and expertise of the staff and faculty of Bastyr Center. With a plethora of naturopathic modalities, Bastyr Center creates a controlled environment in which the students are allowed to hone their abilities. The clinic also provides a solid foundation for future physicians to move on and become successful and effective doctors wherever life should take them.”
On his plans for the future
“Currently, my career goals are centered on specializing in cardiovascular, diabetic and physical medicine. I believe that, as in conventional medicine, our naturopathic medical community should have specialists and leaders in their respective fields. My long-term dream is to create a naturopathic retreat for my cardiovascular and diabetic patients, where diet, lifestyle and sports medicine are infused into a safe environment to promote overall health and well-being.”