Return to TEDx Terry Talks, Nov 5 – Ratib Islam, Alternative Medicine: Challenging the Language of Insulation


My name is Ratib Islam and I’m a 6th year B.Sc. student, majoring in biochemistry with a minor in philosophy. I came to an interest in alternative medicine in 2009 when naturopaths were recognized as physicians and doctors, capable of prescribing drugs previously restricted to physicians with MDs. As a result, I co-founded a club, with two medical students and a medical graduate student, called UBC Students for Science Based Medicine to educate the public about alternative medicine from a critical approach. My Terry Talk, “Alternative Medicine: Challenging the Language of Insulation” is largely an outgrowth of activities my club is focused on. Our presentations take many forms, such as pointing out that herbal products can be pharmacologically active (they have drugs in them) and may interfere with one’s current medication, i.e. “Herbs are drugs,” to summarizing the current state of research on a particular therapy, such as acupuncture. Our aim is not to debunk or offer medical advice, but to educate and empower consumers by translating otherwise inaccessible information and obscure concepts. We’ve chosen alternative medicine because of the risks of relying on unsubstantiated therapies and the lack of people engaged in this kind of service. Club website: http:/ Contact: