Bastyr University – School Spotlight

At Bastyr University, students, faculty and staff continue to transform the health of the human community, advance natural health research and aspire to great things in 2021. 

What’s Next? 

A common anxiety among all students is: what comes next after graduation? A group of ND students at the San Diego campus started a new organization, with the goal of supporting students as they answer this question. So far, they have hosted several guest speakers on a range of topics including “What’s Next for Creating Your Dream Practice,” a Q&A with two graduates who have just opened their own practice and most recently, “Using Non-Violent Communication to Enhance Patient Care.” This level of student support is crucial to feeling supported through the rigorous ND program. Follow this ND student group on Instagram or view their webpage for more information. 

An Ancient Plant with a Modern Treatment Opportunity 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) affects  one million people in the United States. Patients with Parkinson’s often take a pharmaceutical medication called Levodopa/Carbidopa, which contains an amino acid called L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-Dopa). This amino acid elevates dopamine levels, thereby reducing symptoms such as the tremors that many PD patients suffer from. ND student Tanya Denne has been studying a legume called mucuna puriens since 2010, which has the highest level of L-Dopa naturally of any documented plant in the world. Together with a team from Oregon Health & Science University, Denne recently completed a series of trials on mice with promising results. Read the full story here.  

Research: Students Provide Health Coaching Services to San Diego Veterans 

Many combat veterans in America unfortunately suffer from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Inspired by their service, many organizations want to improve access to the care these veterans need. Four of these organizations (EpigeneticsRxNeuroGenCammies & Canines and Bastyr University) concluded a research study this year that measured the impact of a nutritional-based treatment protocol, directed by a medical-grade genetic test and microcurrent neurofeedback sessions. Veterans completed the test and received a unique 90-day treatment plan based on their results. 

From there, ND students at the Bastyr University San Diego campus provided multiple health coaching appointments, checking in on their symptoms, ensuring that each veteran understood their results of the test and were taking the proper nutritional supplements. The results of the program demonstrated promising results: Among all participants, four measurements started below average (stress, productivity, sleep and focus). After finishing the treatment protocol, the rate of improvement among all these categories was strong and ranged from 28% to 49%. The data demonstrates why personalized care is critical to treating veterans, and “one size fits all” approaches to post traumatic stress treatment may not be as effective as targeted treatment programs. Learn more from one of the students who participated, Monicka Fosnocht.  

Virginia Mason and Bastyr University Providers Begin Ongoing Health Series 

Exciting news! Bastyr University and Virginia Mason Franciscan have collaborated to create a monthly, educational Integrative Case Conference Series addressing key topics on a wide range of primary care issues. Relationship building between providers of different disciplines creates a more integrative healthcare system. Each talk will feature one speaker from each institution, with virtual lecture and case presentations, on the third Thursday of the month. The next series will take place on April 15 at noon PST and will be discussing Musculoskeletal Issues in Primary Care. Tune in here and read more about the Bastyr University Faculty member presenting.  

Dean of Naturopathic Medicine to Step Down – Committee Hired to Find Replacement 

Bastyr’s beloved Dean of Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Arianna Staruch is retiring, effective this July. Dr. Staruch came to Bastyr in January 2011 with fourteen years of experience as a naturopathic physician.  She began her career at Bastyr as an associate professor teaching in the classroom and at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. She accepted the interim dean position in 2017, staying on as Dean permanently  thereafter. During her time in this role, she and the ND faculty accomplished a comprehensive self-study process and a successful Council on Naturopathic Medical Education site visit in 2019.  

Eight committee members will be interviewing candidates beginning this month, with interviews expected to be completed and an offer made to the finalist in May. Detailed job description here. 


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