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The depth of a doctor’s journey

By Staff | Aug 29, 2013

Dr. Beverly Castillo with her parents, Peter and Leonora Castillo, taken at her graduation ceremony in Chandler, Arizona, on July 6.

LAHAINA – Dr. Beverly Castillo, NMD, BA, grew up in Maui and attended King Kamehameha III Elementary School and Lahaina Intermediate School. She graduated from Lahainaluna High School with honors.

After graduating high school, she went on to pursue her undergraduate degree. She was the recipient of the National Pepsi-Cola College Scholarship, Hawaii Omori Scholarship and Trustee Scholarship, and earned a place on the National Dean’s List.

She attained her undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado: a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Human Biology and Chemistry.

After her undergraduate studies, she decided to do field research in Minnesota to see whether or not to do a graduate fellowship. Her path took an interesting twist when a good friend in Wisconsin, Dr. Randie Ota, pharmacist at Kahului Costco, convinced her to go to pharmacy school. Dr. Ota helped move her back to Colorado to attend pharmacy school at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) in Denver.

During her time in pharmacy school, she was awarded the American Drug Store Minority Scholarship, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Chancellor’s Diversity Scholarship, and UCHSC School of Pharmacy Scholarship, which funded her entire pharmacy education.

She served as secretary for Phi Lambda Sigma (exclusive pharmacy leadership chapter by nomination), treasurer for Phi Delta Chi, and a member of the Colorado Student Society of Health-System Pharmacist and American Pharmacists Association.

Dr. Castillo served as an admissions liaison for the school, serving prospective students on weekends, while also working at Kaiser Permanente as a pharmacist intern.

In her first summer of pharmacy school, she was one of ten interns chosen to the Albertson’s summer internship program. In the second summer, she was an intern at Maui Memorial Medical Center, to gain experience and to serve the local residents.

Prior to her third year, she again applied for another internship – this time with the government: The Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program. Her internship placement was at Indian Health Services at the Indian reservations in Tuba City, Arizona.

As she continued working at the pharmacy, she realized she had a desire to do more for her patients. She began looking into medical school.

Her journey took another turn; this time, she took “the road less traveled,” and it turned out to be a light at the end of the tunnel, she said.

She began naturopathic medical school in 2009 and completed it in March 2013 with a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM) in Tempe, Arizona.

While attending SCNM, she completed approximately 1,400 hours of clinical rotations in the areas of general medicine, minor surgery, homeopathy, physical medicine, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, environmental medicine, botanical medicine, IV therapy, and nutrition supplementation.

She served as a physician intern at the Southwest College Medical Center, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Hamilton Elementary Family Medicine, Arizona Pathways and The River Source substance abuse rehabilitation centers, Mission of Mercy for the uninsured and indigent population, Sojourner Center (women’s shelter), and at the World Addiction and Health Institute for substance abuse rehabilitation.

While a student, she served as the admissions liaison helping with Discovery Day and Interview Day, assisting physicians to speak and interview prospective students. She also volunteered at different clinics on the weekends (women’s and men’s wellness, minor surgery and acupuncture).

To Dr. Castillo, “every patient that walks into a doctor’s office is looking for a solution to some problem that they cannot solve on his or her own.” She said that becoming a physician is the best decision she has ever made.

Many say to become a doctor is a calling. Dr. Castillo explained that going to medical school is not an easy task to surmount – it is a very rigorous program.

Some change careers to study medicine; some move across the country to attend medical school; and some don’t make it to the end and receive their doctorate degree.

If an individual is in it for the right reasons – encompassing the desire to help others, determination to work hard and passion for lifelong learning – he or she will be successful, she said.

Her hope is to reach out to as many individuals as she is able, conduct community outreach education, and to continue learning from other physicians in other facets and disciplines of medicine, to integrate conventional and naturopathic medicine for the welfare of her patients.

Her medical school education would not have been possible without the Tolle Totum Scholarship from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship from Mesa Community College.

She feels “blessed and grateful that the Father God has provided and guided” her with invaluable funds, tools and knowledge throughout her journey of becoming a physician.

She is affiliated with The American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association, Hawaii Society of Naturopathic Physicians, American Pharmacists Association, Phi Lambda Sigma, Phi Delta Chi, and Entrepreneurs’ Small Business.

She is an active member of Union Espiritista de Christiana Christian Fellowship and Living Word Bible Church. She serves as a mentor for the Girls Rule Foundation in Arizona, helping to develop and “be the invincible figure” for girls in the under-served population. Dr. Castillo is also involved in many organizations and volunteers throughout Arizona.

In her spare time, she is an “outdoor junkie,” doing whitewater rafting (Class IV), going to water parks and doing “Fourteeners Hikes” (her past hike was Mt. Bierstadt). She also enjoys doing Bikram yoga, running, working out, traveling and spending time with her family.

Although she is now at the hierarchy of the professional ladder, one thing will never change. She is an island girl and from a modest background.

Her parents, Leonora and Peter Castillo, were farmers who emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. They passed their humanitarian values on to Dr. Castillo and her sister, Nellani.

These values are instilled in her and her “driving force,” helping shape her to become the physician she is today. This was coupled with the assistance of a selfless and exceptional uncle, the late Reynaldo Lopes Clarion, a member of the third wave of Sakadas responsible in getting the Domingo family to the U.S.

She said her life experiences “are examples that you do not have to be born privileged to make a contribution to a better world.” From experience, Dr. Castillo said that “to be great, one needs to be willing to sacrifice, be up for challenges and welcome scrutiny.”

With abundant values from her island roots, Dr. Castillo is determined to enrich lives, one patient at a time, with the aloha spirit.