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Looking beyond a naturopathy degree to research and teaching

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Sunday, 19 February 2023

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In her mid-twenties, Endeavour Curriculum Facilitator Cherie Caut was trying to start a family when she experienced a miscarriage. She took it hard. One of her colleagues suggested she see a naturopath, so Cherie sought one out.

“I was taken aback by what I didn’t know,” Cherie said. “I thought I was reasonably healthy, but I had no idea about preconception care. I had to make many changes to encourage a healthy pregnancy.”

With the naturopath’s guidance, Cherie went on to conceive and have a very healthy daughter, but the experience ignited a passion in her that remains to this day.

“I didn’t want others not to know,” she explained. “When my baby was five months old, I enrolled in one of the first intakes of the naturopathy degree. Studying while raising my daughter wasn't easy, but I had a clear plan and made it work.”

Before venturing into naturopathy, Cherie had worked in business management in skin care. “I had business skills and experience, so after graduating, I opened my clinic straight away. I assumed people would find me, but I soon realised I had to get out and introduce myself.”

“I started to visit infertility clinics and talked about what I was doing. I also started promoting myself on social media in fertility support, pregnancy planning and women’s health. It took me about a year to do the groundwork. Then word of mouth spread like fire, and I got busy quickly.”

Inspired to increase her knowledge about fertility, Cherie completed a Master of Reproductive Medicine at the University of New South Wales.

“It was a remarkable experience because I saw assisted reproductive therapy through the Western medicine lens. It bridged a gap for me. I understood and could walk my clients through the medical process. It also helped me build credibility with infertility specialists. Things have evolved, but we have a way to go to integrate natural medicine into the health care system.”

Clinically Cherie was getting great results, but it wasn’t enough. She decided to pursue research to fill a gap in evidence related to preconception care.

“I did an honours degree, looking at the dietary intake of people in fertility clinics versus the Australian Dietary Guidelines, and found we weren’t doing so great. Often, the importance of a healthy diet wasn’t spoken about to the women or men receiving fertility treatments,” Cherie said. “Then, I went into a PhD, the research projects of which I finished at the end of 2022.” - Read Cherie's thesis here.

“My thesis is about preconception care and its delivery in primary care in Australia. While researching, I spoke with groups of GPs, midwives and naturopaths about their perceptions and experiences of providing preconception care. My results will be published next year, but in summary, there is a role for all providers, and the evidence that we all know – like the importance of engaging men – isn’t generally translated into practice.”

During her Masters, Cherie started tutoring at Endeavour. The fire she felt at the beginning of her studies burns just as much for teaching. While she teaches the curriculum, Cherie also spends lots of time mentoring.

“I truly want our graduates to be field-ready and able to succeed. I want them to know how to harness their communication skills and understand what they can bring to the Australian health care system,” Cherie said. “I’m always encouraging them to look beyond their undergraduate degree.”

“I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. Work is my happy place. I love what I do, and I’m excited about the future of our profession.”

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Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers higher education Diplomas in Health Science and Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine.

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