Rachel Bullen says she "loves how life leads us in such unexpected directions". Only a few years ago she was a Design and Marketing graduate living in Vancouver and working in the fine art industry. During her time in Canada she had the opportunity to learn about the traditional medicine of North and South America. Through those experiences it inspired her to enrolled in a Triple Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy, Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicine upon her return to Melbourne.
I knew I was on the right path, learning a holistic and integrated form of healthcare with the ultimate goal of helping create a healthy and empowered community by promoting the body’s innate healing ability with natural and sustainable approaches.
In 2014, she jumped at the opportunity to apply for the inaugural BioCeuticals Internship Program. She was thrilled to be selected from an Australia-wide pool of applicants as a finalist for the internship program. So she headed from Melbourne Sydney for eight weeks for what would become an experience that has helped shape her professional path as a natural health care practitioner.
My long held mantra “you’ve got to be in it to win it” motivated me to submit an application.
The internship itself is a completely unique program for the industry. It's centred around teaching the skills of product development and the regulatory side of the industry. Interns, placed into teams, are required to draft a product concept. They needed therefore, to first, identify a market need and then follow a very intensive process of locating evidence that demonstrated that the synergistic combination of ingredients proposed would be safe and effective in the treatment of a particular health condition or symptom.
Rachel describes how the teams undertook extensive research to locate and evaluate the evidence presented in the scientific literature. She also said they were strongly encouraged to ‘read between the lines’ of all the research papers, particularly those that were the outcome of privately funded trials and studies to ensure they were accessing the best quality evidence.
As a result of my experience as an intern, I was able to observe the rigour required to adhere to the protocols of evidence-based medicine and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australian products.
As a BioCeuticals intern, I met many inspirational people, gained invaluable insight into the neutraceutical industry, and had the opportunity to develop my skills as a researcher, writer and product-innovator.
Another key benefit Rachel has found as a result of the program, is that it's opened up other doors. For example, it gave her the opportunity to hone her writing skills at a professional level and as a result, she has since had her writing published. The program helped her to understand more about what she was good at and, equally what she enjoyed as well as what she prefered not to do. Rachel says that "although the internship is not a paid one, it certainly provided a wealth of experience."
Following the internship, the prospect of working as a Naturopath in the complementary health industry felt more attainable. I now know that my skills and expertise will serve me in many environments beyond the consultation room, and I have a better appreciation of how my past training and professional experiences will continue to serve me into the future.
Hear Rachel's interview with FX Medicine following her time in the BioCeuticals Internship Program: