Simona Ciobanu's interest in medicine comes from her own personal experience. "When members of my family had health issues, I saw that conventional medicine really wasn't addressing the causes of each problem. Over time, my family started looking into alternative methods of healing like acupuncture and chiropractic, and I saw that those methods really worked."
Simona herself suffered whiplash in a car accident two years ago. "The only options that conventional medicine offered were steroids and painkillers. At that time, I decided to try a chiropractic physician instead and found it very beneficial."
Simona earned her BS in psychology at the University of Illinois, and worked in the mental health field for a few years at an employee assistance program call-in center. "It was a great experience in helping people, but I always felt I could do so much more. I'd always had an inclination toward medicine, so I started researching different medical fields. Then a friend recommended that I look into naturopathic medicine.
"I interviewed an ND physician, actually the mother of a friend of mine. She had such positive things to say about her profession and her career, that I was hooked! Meeting with her really sealed my decision to pursue an ND degree," says Simona.
"I looked at other schools, but National was the best in terms of what I believe. Naturopathy is really taught here as the healing power of nature. We're taught to treat holistically: body, mind and spirit. At National, we're not just learning how to treat a disease or a symptom, we are looking for ways to restore health and to help the body heal itself, to restore the healing process. That's a different perspective from many other medical programs. Lifestyle changes, nutritional counseling, getting to the root and cause of the problem, and treating it with natural methods is what naturopathy is all about."
What's Simona's inside scoop on classes at NUHS? "National's ND program is fantastic, but it's tough! This is no joke. This is medical school. It's grueling and intense at times, but that's what we're here for. I wouldn't expect it to be any easier."
"My favorite class right now is homeopathy. It's incredibly interesting and complex. At National, ND and DC (chiropractic) students study together in many overlapping classes during the first four trimesters, especially in the basic sciences like anatomy and pathology. I get to know a lot about chiropractic medicine, and they get to learn from us about naturopathic medicine. Since this is an integrative program, what better way than for us to be in class together and interact with each other?"
What's in Simona's future? "I would definitely like to have my own private practice. I could see myself having an integrative practice where I work with different professionals from different fields. Having relationships and connections with other medical professions is going to be key to really providing the right health care for patients," she says. "I'd like to specialize in homeopathy or perhaps pediatrics. I love that there are so many options for naturopathic physicians!"