2024/2025 Board of Directors Student Representative Election

We are extremely excited to introduce our Candidates for the Student Representative position on the WANP Board of Directors for the 2024/2025 term. This year, we have three (3) students running for our single Student Representative position. The Student Representative is elected to a one-year term, beginning September 1, 2024, and ending August 31, 2025. The elected Student Representative serves as a full voting member of the WANP Board of Directors and is the primary liaison between our organization and the current student body.

Our organizational bylaws allow for all current Student Members of the WANP to have a say in identifying their Representative on our Board of Directors through participating in a designated election for the Student Rep position. All current student members who are eligible to vote will receive their ballots via email on Monday, June 24, 2024. **Note: We will use the email address under which your membership is active, so please log into our website and take note of the email address we have on file for your login (or go to "My Account -> Account Details" and note the email address there). If you have not received a ballot and believe you should have, please ensure your student membership is current, that you are looking in the email inbox associated with your membership, and that our message is not in your spam folder, and - if all is as it should be - contact us at info@wanp.org.** Per WANP bylaws, the election will be open for 3 weeks. Ballots received after Monday, July 15, 2024, will not be counted.

If you are not a current student member of the WANP, you can join today and participate in this election to ensure you have a voice in the next Board of Directors. We will send your ballot as soon as you join.

Without further ado, here are the Candidates for your next Student Representative to the Board of Directors of the WANP (presented in order received):

Veronica Gayoso, MPH | Bastyr University - Kenmore

ND expected 2027

Veronica is just finishing her first year as a naturopathic medical student at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. She moved to Washington last September from Florida, where she grew up. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Chemistry (2020) and a Master of Public Health (2022) from Florida State University. She is an extremely passionate student who is eager to advance the naturopathic medical profession in Washington, as well as throughout the country.

Veronica has been a student member of the WANP for almost the entire time she has been at Bastyr, and she currently sits on the Legislative Affairs Committee. She also belongs to the Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA).

With some experience in fundraising, legislative and political advocacy, and marketing, Veronica would also bring the following skills to the WANP: strong connections with the student community to maximize connection between WANP and current ND students, strong organizational skills with a priority on structure, reliability, and an ability to bring valuable student insights into the conversation.

In her own words: "Although I am a soon-to-be second year student with much to learn, I am an excellent team member and will always show up for my community. I look forward to evolving into the great naturopathic physician I will be one day become alongside the support of the WANP."

Veronica is interested in continuing her work on the Legislative Affairs Committee, and she is also interested in developing the relationship between students and professionals, perhaps through work on the Membership Committee, and enhancing collaboration and connection within our community and with other medical communities. Given her background in public health and passion for advancing naturopathic scope of practice through policy, she would love to contribute her time and skills to advocacy and grassroots initiatives.

Elise Drapeau | Bastyr University - Kenmore

ND expected 2026

Elise is finishing her second year as a naturopathic medical student at Bastyr University, and is excited to start NMS3 classes and clinic this summer. She has been passionate about Naturopathic medicine for many years, having grown up with a mother who is an herbalist. She decided to become a naturopathic physician over 10 years ago when she was finishing high school. Conventional medical school was never something she considered, because she wanted to align her work with her own philosophy of health that she chooses to live by. Elise believes she connects with other ND students on this point: for Elise and her peers, this is more than a chosen profession; it is a way of life that permeates every aspect of their identities. Her hope is to imbue this kind of empowerment to each patient by sharing ways in which the tools she has gathered can also become a part of their lives. To Elise, Naturopathic Medicine isn’t about the modalities NDs use but rather about the philosophy by which they choose to implement those modalities.

Elise's personal journey has been additionally shaped by her work with nonprofit organizations after college. She worked serving the refugee community in the New York City area, and while there learned about what it means to build welcoming communities through grassroots mobilization of local resources and neighbors. While working this position, she also took on a role as a social therapy assistant at a residential community for adults with developmental challenges where she learned how much supporting an individual to find purpose and passion can provide dignity and freedom. When she moved to Seattle, before starting at Bastyr, she worked as a behavioral health counselor for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This was one of the most challenging and strengthening positions in all the knowledge she took in and all that she gave.

Elise is a brand new member of the WANP. She is also a member of the Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA).

With some experience in diversity/equity/inclusion/antiracism, fundraising, governance, grassroots engagement, legislative and political advocacy, and marketing, Elise would also bring the following skills to the WANP: extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations, experience building and managing websites and social media content, donor relations, consultant communications, and grant research.

In her own words: "I’m independently driven but love working in a collaborative team environment. I am extremely dedicated and hard working and put my all into everything I work towards. My hope is to provide a space for communication between the students and those who tirelessly work to spearhead and advocate for our profession. I am driven by my desire to expand our scope and bring focus and awareness to our profession. I would like to find ways to integrate the messaging about the critical need for expansion and awareness of our medicine to students at Bastyr, as it’s difficult to encourage students to recognize how important this work is while they are busy trying to complete the program."

Elise is interested in the Legislative Affairs (LA) Committee, but is open to exploring different committees and projects to determine where she could be most useful.

Sunil Sudigala | Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine - Toronto

ND expected 2025

Sunil is a foreign medical graduate, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a full time student at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) - Toronto. He has worked at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and has also worked closely with the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Sunil has been a WANP member for the past 6 months. He is also an active member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) - the Society of Federal Health Professionals, and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), as well as of the Maryland Naturopathic Doctors Association (MNDA).

 With some experience in diversity/equity/inclusion/antiracism, governance, and legislative and political advocacy, Sunil would bring the following skills to the WANP: experience advocating for improved policy around Telehealth and virtual consultations in Maryland.

Sunil is interested in the Continuing Education (CE) Committee, the Governance Committee, and the Legislative Affairs Committee, and he is also interested in advocacy relating to Veterans Affairs - in particular to help NDs provide care in Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and VA hospitals.