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October 2005

Phil Wazny, a fourth-year student at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM), has encountered a multitude of rich and diverse experiences throwing him into the natural medicine arena. Phil graduated magna cum laude in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with a minor in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While there, he served as president for three years of the university's premedical Honor Society, Alpha Epsilon Delta; he also completed a research honor's thesis and contributed more than 1000 volunteer hours at a local emergency room.

Following graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and served for two years in Honduras, where he collaborated with midwives to assist in decreasing the infant/mother mortality rate. He also organized the completion of 17 water systems for elementary schools surrounding the village in which he lived. It in was in Honduras that Phil was first exposed to the power of botanical medicine.

"I remember working with patients at my village's health center," recalls Phil, "where we had little traditional medicines to offer. But we would walk with patients out into the pasture behind the health center to handpick any one of a hundred plants in order to treat whatever ailed them." It was here that Phil directly witnessed the power of the body's vital force while assisting in the delivery of a baby girl. "The new mom," says Phil, "after only 45 minutes of rest following the delivery felt ready to walk the five miles back to her home. I was truly amazed."

After returning to the States, Phil matriculated to SCNM and has continued his international work. During his third year here, he spent a month in Peru, where he helped treat almost 1,000 children. He has also traveled to Baja California in a number of medical outreach programs. "I have observed the ability of the different modalities of medicine we learn in school to not only help bring those who are ill back into balance, but also to help bridge the gaps that are present in cross-cultural differences." After graduation from SCNM, Wazny hopes to continue with this spirit of outreach while practicing medicine in Mesa, Arizona.

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