About

About 2018-07-10T11:15:49+00:00

What To Expect

Patient Process

Aspire Natural Medicine has multiple naturopathic doctors and a medical doctor to make sure you receive the best care for your specific health concern. That means we are going to match you with the doctor that has the most experience and expertise in our clinic for your health problem. This tailored, individualized medicine is one of the main reasons for our high success rate with patients at Aspire Natural Medicine.

YOUR 1ST VISIT

(1 hour long)

Your Naturopathic Doctor will:

  • Take a comprehensive health/medical history from you
  • Perform any necessary physical exam
  • Receive copies of recent medical labs completed, and
  • Discuss any further necessary science based testing that needs to be done

Leaving your first visit you will:

  • Be Heard. All of your concerns will be carefully listened to and noted by your naturopathic doctor
  • You will feel like you now have someone on your team that is committed to finding the underlying reason you are not feeling well and doing everything possible to get your health back on track.

YOUR 2ND VISIT

(30 minutes long)

  • Check how you are doing with any therapies that were started on your first visit
  • Review any new lab results from your first visit

The process is now started and you will:

  • Have regular check in with your naturopathic doctor to ensure that your health is improving with the treatments in place
  • Allow for any necessary adjustments to be made to your plan

Get one of our naturopathic doctors on your health team and start Feeling Better….Faster!

Our Health Team

Dr. Shane Johnson, NDIntestinal Conditions

Dr. Shane Johnson, NDIntestinal Conditions

His First Patient… When He Was Just 6 Years Old

Born and raised in Red Deer, Dr. Johnson developed a passion for medicine at an early age. When he was 6 years old he helped care for his grandfather, who’s health was ailing due to mustard gas exposure after being in WWII. Dr. Johnson would help him in and out of bed, bring him food, and listen to his stories to keep him company. This experience of helping his grandfather and the bond they developed had a significant impact on Dr. Johnson personally and in his future career choice.

During his undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, Dr. Johnson jumped at the opportunity to job shadow a Medical Doctor. Walking into the clinic he was excited to take his first step into the world of medicine. Unfortunately, he left the experience feeling disillusioned; “How can you get a patient’s whole story in 8 to 10 minutes?” he thought. This was not what he envisioned medicine to look like and was very disappointed. At a crossroads as to what his future career was going to be, he began researching other medical professions.

Mother Knows Best

On the advice of his mother, Dr. Johnson decided to job shadow a Naturopathic Doctor (ND). The amount of time that the ND spent with her patients, hearing their story, and getting to the root cause of the patient’s issues, were the main things that drew Dr. Johnson to pursue a Naturopathic medical degree.

Dr. Johnson completed his Naturopathic medical program at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.

One Of The Few ND’s In Alberta

Dr. Johnson is one of very few ND’s in Alberta to be accepted into a competitive certified 1-year residency in family practice, which he completed at the Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center in Tempe, Arizona. He saw more patients in 1 year of residency than most ND’s see in their first 5 years of private practice.

During his residency, Dr. Johnson was able to work as a naturopathic doctor (ND) but with a similar scope to MD’s, as Arizona licenses naturopathic doctors as primary care providers. Thus, Dr. Johnson was able to prescribe medications, worked in hospitals and other community health centers, in addition to his Naturopathic training. This is where Dr. Johnson saw firsthand the value of MD’s and ND’s working on the same team, and where his vision of the “2 Doctor System” developed; which he would later bring to Canada.

Helping So Many People Who Didn’t Have Insurance

Dr. Johnson worked at a make shift community health clinic that was set up in a church one day per week in Phoenix, AZ. This clinic provided free medical care to individuals who had no health insurance. He will never forget his first day when he turned the corner 30 minutes before his shift started and there was already a lineup of at least 50 people around the church waiting for the doors to open. These patients often suffered from common conditions that had been left without medical care for too long, which was really unfortunate to see. This included individuals with years of uncontrolled diabetes, skin infections that were extremely infected and risked serious surgery or loss of limbs, to children who had never seen a doctor and needed basic medical support. Being able to help so many people who so badly needed it reconfirmed Dr. Johnson’s passion for helping others.

He Excels In Complicated Cases

Dr. Johnson is driven by helping people feel better, so they can live their best life possible. He loves finding the underlying cause of each patient’s disease and set of symptoms, and the investigative work that this brings on, especially in complicated health cases.

He is a member in good standing of both the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND).

Dr. Johnson integrates herbal medicine, nutrition, IV therapy and lifestyle counseling into his practice. As a result of working with a Gastroenterologist in Arizona as part of his residency, he developed a special interest in digestive issues such as IBS, Crohns, Colitis, GERD, Celiac disease and stomach ulcers. Due to this experience he has a very well rounded education and approach with both natural and conventional medical treatments for intestinal conditions.

High School Sweetheart

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Johnson spends his time with his two sons and his high school sweetheart, Dr. Jennie, a child and teen psychologist. They love spending time as a family outside on the lake, golfing, and playing hockey.

Add Dr. Johnson to your medical team today!

Dr. Jennifer Pilon, NDFertility & Diabetes

Dr. Jennifer Pilon, NDFertility & Diabetes

Hometown Kid

Dr. Jen Pilon grew up in Red Deer, and graduated from Notre Dame High School. As the child of a registered nurse and an x-ray technician, she was constantly exposed to medical talk and the ins and outs of the conventional healthcare system. She also recognized what a rewarding and meaningful calling it is to be able to help others who need healing, and always knew that she wanted to be involved in some type of health care profession. She was blessed with open-minded parents who regularly used alternative treatments like chiropractic and acupuncture, and from a young age observed the benefit of these treatments and how they could be combined with conventional medicine to achieve optimal outcomes – the best of both worlds!

Finding A Calling

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from Thompson Rivers University, Dr. Pilon set out to decide what to do next. She considered nursing, dietetics, and conventional medical school. It was then that her mom suggested “what about looking into being a naturopathic doctor”? After doing some research and reading about the principles of naturopathic medicine, especially those of Treating the Whole Person and Doctor as Teacher, Dr. Pilon knew that this was the job she was meant to do. Naturopathic medicine seemed like such an exciting opportunity to bridge the gap between conventional and alternative medicine!

A Great Orator

Dr. Pilon discovered and developed a passion for one-on-one teaching and group health education through tutoring in high school and medical school and working as a volunteer Diabetes Awareness Speaker with the Canadian Diabetes Association.. It was so rewarding to take concepts that people found challenging or boring and find ways to make them approachable and exciting. She remembers one time in particular when talking to a group of high school students about a healthy diet and how it could prevent type 2 diabetes.

Everyone was looking exceptionally bored…until she did a demonstration using sugar cubes to actually show them how much added sugar was in the pop and frozen carbonated drinks they loved so much. Most of the students were totally shocked, and one in particular even came up and told Dr. Pilon that she would be changing her habits now that she knew what was best for her body. It was so rewarding to be able to help someone incorporate healthier habits at a young age, when it can really make a difference in the long run!

Coaching A Homeless Person Get A Part Time Job

Prior to attending naturopathic medical school at Bastyr University in Seattle, Dr. Pilon worked for several years as a youth employment counselor. Her favorite part of this job was helping teenagers and young adults with “no experience” see that they really did have valuable skills and abilities, and to help them gain the confidence they needed to interview and find a job. She remembers vividly one student in particular who was experiencing homelessness. He was very motivated to get a job and change his situation, but was struggling to see how he could add anything valuable to a workplace.

Together, they sat down and came up with a list of the ways he had shown resilience and motivation in the challenges in his life up to this point. They were able to see together how his difficult circumstances had actually given him a lot of knowledge and skills that were unique and valuable. Dr. Pilon had never been so proud to see someone get a part time job at a fast food restaurant even though it may not seem like a dream job! The skills she learned as an employment counselor have been very valuable as a naturopathic doctor, in helping people to see that they really do have the resources and ability to heal and make sustainable health-promoting changes.

Residency And Shelters… Mental Health, STD’s And Addictions

Ultimately Dr. Pilon’s passion for education resulted in her being selected to participate in a competitive residency program at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic of Bastyr University. In this position she supervised naturopathic medicine students as they gained clinical experience providing primary care to patients from a variety of backgrounds. During her residency, she worked in a variety of low or no-cost offsite clinical rotations including a homeless shelter for women and families, a drop-in homeless clinic in Downtown Seattle and a variety of seniors’ centers in the area.

These experiences gave Dr. Pilon the experience of making naturopathic medicine affordable and accessible for people of all walks of life. In these clinics, she worked with individuals experiencing mental health challenges, sexually transmitted infections, diabetes, addictions, and joint and muscle pain. She was also able to see little ones ranging from a few days old to teenagers and help them and their families with everything from weight checks to lice to finding ways to stay healthy while living in close quarters with so many others.

Dr. Pilon has special clinical interest in women’s medicine (menstrual concerns, menopause, infertility, preconception and postpartum care, etc.), diabetes management, cardiovascular concerns (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc.), pediatrics and anxiety/depression. She uses many different types of treatments including counseling, clinical nutrition, supplements, herbal medicine, hands-on therapies and referrals for medications when necessary. She believes that the key to creating long-term changes in your health is to take small, sustainable steps.

Home At Last!

After 6 years in Seattle, WA, Dr. Pilon is excited to be back to her home town of Red Deer, but this time she’s bringing a husband and infant daughter along for the ride! She’s excited to be a part of the team at Aspire and to provide care to the people of Central Alberta, whether it’s an old friend or a new face. In her spare time, Dr. Pilon enjoys knitting up a storm, reading anything by C.S. Lewis, experimenting with new recipes (for food and herbal medicines!), and hanging out with her husband, daughter and her dog, a keeshond mix Jovie. She is committed follower of Jesus and strives to honor Him in everything she does.

Dr. Kristin Ruzicki, NDAutoimmune

Dr. Kristin Ruzicki, NDAutoimmune

Dr. Ruzicki grew up in Calgary, Alberta along with her parents and older sister. After losing a close loved one at a young age, Dr. Ruzicki’s passion for medicine began, wanting to understand the intricate balance between illness and health.

Core Values Resonate With Her

While in her first year of university, studying Science and Kinesiology, she saw a posting for an information session from a naturopathic medical school. She decided to attend. She remembers the presenter describing the core values of naturopathic medicine, one of which was treating the cause of the illness, not just treating the symptoms. This really resonated with her.

Around this time, she began to notice some of her own digestive concerns, and the answers from her doctors were that it was stress related, and to take medicine to help reduce the symptoms. Realizing that this didn’t make sense to her, she began reaching out for other options, finally visiting an ND for the first time. Within a few months, her concerns resolved, which otherwise would have been considered life long by her physicians. This created the drive for her to learn more about Natural Medicine.

Becoming A Doctor

She decided to move to the United States and embark on the multi-year journey in becoming a Naturopathic Doctor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. Arizona was a location that offered one of the widest scopes of practice for naturopathic doctors, which was very appealing to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible.

Hooked On Volunteering

While attending SCNM, Dr. Ruzicki became heavily involved with Naturopaths Without Borders, a non-profit organization providing care for underserved communities, most commonly in Rocky Point, Mexico, a fishing city close to the Arizona border. She volunteered on the very first trip offered and after that was hooked and continued to be involved throughout the rest of the four year program.

They would often see around 40-50 patients a day, most who would line up just after sunrise. Since resources were limited, manual therapies such as acupuncture or adjustments were often a main focus of treatment. She remembers one time where a woman came in with so much pain throughout her body that she could barely walk. After the group of doctors treated her with an acupuncture session, she was able to walk on her own to the market for veggies, which she hadn’t been able to do for weeks. Seeing these kinds of changes, as well as the appreciation from the patients solidified Dr. Ruzicki’s desire to help people, especially while utilizing natural medicine.

Dr. Ruzicki values integrative medicine and being able to encourage her patients to gain the best of both worlds, conventional and naturopathic medicine. She enjoys treating the whole family with special interest in digestive health, hormonal concerns, fatigue, chronic infections, autoimmunity, and environmental medicine. She uses a variety of approaches to care for her patients including nutrition, botanical medicine, IV therapy, ozone therapy, and lifestyle management.

Avoid Hitting Trees In Untouched Powder!

When Dr. Ruzicki is not at the clinic, you can often find her in the mountains in the winter and at the lakeside in the summer. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, yoga, snowboarding and hiking.

She recently had the opportunity to go catskiing (a type of backcountry skiing where Snowcats, big-tracked snow machines, get you up steep grades and access much more terrain for more powder) in Revelstoke. Snow piles up in steep chutes, spreads over wide-open mountain faces and fills powder bowls up to the brim. Despite getting a little stuck in deep powder in a few areas, the rest of the time was full of skiing untouched conditions, winding in and out of trees. Seeing the view of the entire mountain region while skiing some of the best conditions was awe-Inspiring.

Best 10 Second Ride Ever… Despite The Sharks!

Dr. Ruzicki loves to travel. One of her most memorable trips was to Costa Rica as part of a surfing camp. It was a 13-day camp where she toured down the coast of Costa Rica visiting different surf towns. Dr. Ruzicki remembers her very first day of the camp, which took place in the town of Tamarindo. They practiced standing up on the sand first, and then went out to the water. Trying to push her fear of sharks of out her mind as she waited for a wave, she remembers being too nervous to actually push herself up the first few waves that went by. All of a sudden she felt a shift from nervousness to excitement, and began paddling as the next wave approached. As the wave connected with her board, she quickly stood up and for the next 10 seconds had the most incredible time riding the wave into the beach.

Dr. Ruzicki is a member and in good standing with both the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND).

Our Support Staff

LaceyMedical Office Assistant

LaceyMedical Office Assistant

Lacey Graduated from the Academy of Learning in March 2014, obtaining her Diploma in Medical Office Assistant with Veterinary Speciality. Realizing the passion she had for helping people and animals, she went on to work at a Medical Clinic for 3.5 years. Realizing there was a more natural side to medicine, she transitioned over the Naturopathic medicine which had always fascinated her.

Born and raised in Red Deer, Lacey enjoys travelling to some of her favorite places including Jasper, Banff, Las Vegas and anywhere where you can be outdoors. Hiking, camping, photography, movies, going to the beach, open water and horseback riding are some of her passions outside of her job. Lacey also has a love for animals, and spending time with her niece’s, nephew, family, Dog and Bunny.

What Our Patients Are Saying

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