Class of 2017 grad on bringing naturopathic medicine to her community
When Ayla graced the cover of Mind|Body|Spirit last summer, she was newly graduated and looking forward to returning home to set up her practice, Oak Clinic. “Crazy” is how Ayla describes the last 12 months, but she doesn’t want it any other way.
“I couldn’t be happier with how things are going,” she says. “I’m privileged and blessed to be a part of such a supportive community and I’m looking forward to what the next year has to offer.”
Resettling in Dawson Creek
Ayla thought her hometown had remained exactly as she remembered it. But after almost a decade away from Dawson Creek, BC – including completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan and then the Doctor of Naturopathy degree from CCNM – she came back to discover that the sleepy town she knew had changed quite dramatically.
“I was anticipating still knowing the majority of the community and seeing familiar faces in my practice. This has not been the case,” she explains. “The community has changed significantly.”
Always willing to meet challenges head on, Ayla’s joyous and optimistic nature makes her see the opportunity in every less-thanideal situation. It’s a not a problem that it’s taken longer than she estimated to get her practice off the ground – being an ND more than makes up for it.
“Although I’m not seeing those familiar faces, many doors have opened to meet new people and I am encouraged by the way I have been embraced. I absolutely love working as a naturopathic doctor.”
Strong like an oak tree
Ayla named her practice, Oak Clinic, after herself. The meaning of her name, ‘strong like an oak tree,’ informs her own personal philosophy to life, wellness, and her patients’ health. Oak trees are a common symbol of fortitude, might, and strength, and yet stay rooted to the earth.
Ayla certainly personifies those characteristics. Oak Clinic opened in February after a three-month delay, brought on by changing regulations in BC and having to write an extra set of exams.
“In the grand scheme of things, this is insignificant; however, when you are in the thick of it all, post-NPLEX, it was quite an emotional, mental, and financial burden. The clinic itself was a much simpler process.”
Aided by her friends and family, she renovated an existing space – “from the floor boards to the rafters” – inside Dawson Creek Medical Clinic. The building is home to several other health-care professionals and is located about two blocks from Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway.
The constructions and repairs took two months, but Oak Clinic opened to much fanfare, interest, and a fully booked schedule
“The community has been incredibly supportive and many are very keen to learn more about naturopathic medicine and what it can do for their lives. It feels like the community has been waiting and stepping in has felt natural,” Ayla says.
For Ayla, Oak Clinic is just the beginning. She has been building a network with local businesses that are also passionate about health care and participating in numerous events, workshops, and talks in the area. She’s even thinking about increasing the size of her clinic by bringing other health-care professionals into her practice
More importantly, she and her partner Gordon are looking to buy a home and settle in Dawson Creek, for good.
“We’re excited to start our lives after years of instability and chaos. We have both been feeling at home in the Peace Region and look forward to many years in this welcoming and loving community.” *
This article was originally published in issue #22, Mind|Body|Spirit, summer 2018, page 4