Monday, December 20, 2010

Remembering Daniel Leek

By Christine Girard, ND
AANP 2010 Physician of the Year

Daniel Leek, SCNM second year medical student. Photo courtesy of SCNM.
The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine mourns the loss of Daniel Leek, a second year medical student, in a tragic car crash that occurred Thanksgiving morning.

Dan grew up in Rockford, IL, and attended Southern Illinois University – Carbondale where he received three Bachelor’s of Arts Degrees: in psychology, physiology and biochemistry. He started his professional life as a senior research associate at the University of Chicago, conducting research in muscle physiology and molecular biology.

Dan started SCNM in the fall 2008 and made an immediate impression with his exuberance for experiential learning and his passion for research. Dan worked closely with Drs. Langland and Waters on research projects both at SCNM and at the ASU Biodesign Institute. He is an author on a recently submitted article, “Quantitative evaluation of the broad-spectrum anti-microbial activity of colloidal silver.”

In August 2010, Dan had the opportunity to speak before researchers and clinicians at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference. He presented “The Regulation of Inflammatory Gene Expression by Immunostimulatory Botanicals” – and won the student research award which was presented at the formal awards ceremony that concludes the conference. He also presented research findings at the September 2010 SCNM Board of Trustees meeting – and wowed the Board members. Dr. Schwalm, the president of the Board, when informed of Dan’s passing extended his and the Board’s deepest sympathies for the loss our community has sustained.

Dan’s ultimate goal was to pursue a career in research, through an NIH post-doctoral fellowship, to expand knowledge in the area of naturopathic medicine.

Those who knew Dan, knew that he was a spiritual guy – and a guy with a big brain for big teachings whether the Bible, the Upanishads, Ram Dass, or quantum mechanics. Many of the stories about Dan involve hours-long conversations. He loved to talk about where we might go with a topic, be it spiritual or scientific.

Dan paraphrased Ram Dass by saying, “Moments of suffering in life are the fuel for bliss if interpreted spiritually.” Dan would want everyone to remember that.

Dan is well respected and well loved. He remains with us as an integral part of the fabric of the SCNM community. Memory Eternal!

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