My journey to becoming a naturopathic physician began taking shape at an early age, with a calling to help others and make the world a little brighter. It is the intrinsic motivation to be my best, authentic self and assist others in rising to find their true potential that has fuelled my desire to make positive change - my avenue is through naturopathy. In naturopathic medicine, our core belief is the body has an inherent ability to heal itself. As humans, we are all equipped with the tools to heal, although sometimes we "forget" how to be in a balanced state of wellness. This allows dis-ease to manifest, whether it be in the form of physical, mental or emotional ailments. My mission is to assist you in connecting with your highest self, where our deepest passions and purpose reside. These are the roots of true healing and allows for authentic expression and connection to be made.
My life has been fuelled by passion and determination, which has led to various opportunities for growth. Born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, I was nourished with a deep healing energy from the surrounding habitat. Nestled between the mountains and surrounded by the vitality of the ocean and river, this land has provided a sense of connection and stillness within my being (something which cannot be said for life in the city).
Equipped with relentless optimism, I set out to find my passions and purpose. Movement and artistic expression in sports were some of my first avenues to fuel my passion and determination - these fundamental qualities now reflect in my work as a naturopathic doctor. With blood, sweat and tears, I was given the opportunity to represent my country as a member of the U-19 Canadian Women's Rugby Team. My journey as an elite athlete taught me the importance of mental grit and resiliency - our mind has an uncanny ability to control our physical body, which can be both our greatest strength and weakness. Unfortunately, I was plagued with a shoulder injury (labral tear and glenohumoral dislocation) which was unresponsive to conventional treatments, including surgery. I attempted to keep up with the pace of an elite athlete, although fear began to creep in as my shoulder instability was hindering my performance on the field. My greatest weapon of fearlessness on the rugby field had been damaged, as were my ego, identity and self-worth. From a young age, I had identified myself as an athlete; it was my passion and an avenue for my overactive thoughts to move into kinetic energy. Little did I know this was all part of a greater journey that would eventually lead me into naturopathic medicine.
As my work ethic in sports was equally reflective in my academic setting, I grew up with an insatiable hunger for learning, fascinated by the way things work. From an early age I recall questioning the WHY, always looking one step further to uncover the truth and find the interconnectedness in all things. Life is not linear, it cannot be placed in a box and wrapped neatly in a bow - this concept parallels the Chaos Theory -
With this fundamental belief at the core of my being, it propelled me to seek a deeper understanding of the human body and how we interact with nature and our social environment. This led me to complete my undergraduate degree with distinction in biopsychology from the University of Victoria (UVic), including a 6 month exchange at Exeter University in England. During my undergraduate degree I became further fascinated with the human body, taking courses in both endocrinology (hormones) and neuropsychology (how the brain influences behaviour). The interconnectedness of the human body became apparent and the hormonal relationships between mind/body/spirit fit into my web-based thought patterns.
This eventually led me to naturopathic medicine, as the fundamental belief of naturopathy aligned with my values and fulfilled my deep-seated need to view the body as a whole and address the root cause. I received my post-graduate naturopathic medical training from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) in New Westminster, B.C. Here, I satisfied both my intellectual and creative desires, learning to blend the art and science of medicine by creating treatment plans tailored to the individual. I was also exposed to a whole new array of healing modalities, including various therapies to support sports injuries. During my early sporting career, I had not been aware of the options I had as a patient, believing I was destined to live with a shoulder injury for life. This personal experience has further solidified my role as a naturopathic doctor - to inform you of the various treatment options available and work as a team to create a plan best suited for you. I was not aware of my options and felt my body had failed me -this does not have to be your experience. We are always the drivers in our journey of life, although sometimes we need a reminder to keep us on course.
During my medical schooling at Boucher, I worked at a variety of intern clinics throughout Vancouver and Victoria, supporting low-income demographics, with patients ranging from pediatrics to the aging population. In turn, I volunteered with Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB), providing naturopathic care to individuals in Haiti and empowering the community to become self-sufficient and reclaim their relationship with the environment. At the end of my journey at Boucher, I was blessed with the following awards and recognition:
- Boucher ND16B graduating class valedictorian
- Academic Excellence Award
- awarded to individual with highest cumulative GPA in graduating cohort
- Clinical Excellence Award
- awarded to individual in cohort displaying outstanding clinical skills
In addition to working as a naturopathic doctor, I am a former instructor of herbal medicine at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver, B.C. Teaching has provided a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and share my love of herbal medicine to budding holistic nutritionists. In my spare time, my sister (Megan Waddy, medical herbalist) and I teach herbal medicine workshops, empowering individuals to take a hands-on-approach to their health.
Thank-you for listening to my story; I look forward to working with you on your journey to health and wellness.
Dr. Jenna, ND