Adapting to a new reality
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has changed the way we teach, learn and interact with others. In March, the Doctor of Naturopathy degree program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) transitioned online, for all but the clinical training and the practicums, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future, until a safe return to full-time, in-person classes is possible. In the meantime, staff and faculty have done their utmost to keep supporting students and providing them with the best in naturopathic medical education.
Expanding our reach to the west coast of North America
On November 17, CCNM announced some very exciting news that will truly transform the landscape of naturopathic medical education in Canada and beyond – we’ve set out our intention to merge with the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM), located in New Westminster, in the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Our combined institutions will be known as CCNM, and we’ll continue to deliver naturopathic education from our Toronto location and from our Boucher campus on the west coast as well.
By coming together in this way, we’ll be opening up a world of possibilities for current and future CCNM students, which in turn enhances the profession overall and cements the College as a global leader in naturopathic education, research and health-care training. There will be more news to share in the coming months, so stay tuned!
Building the student community – online
Normally, in their first week of school, our first-year students are treated to Unity Summit (hosted by the Naturopathic Students’ Association) and New Student Orientation, multi-day events filled with fun activities and a lot of team building. To encourage and nurture the same kind of camaraderie, we moved these experiences online for the newest crop of students beginning CCNM in September.
In October, another of our popular events shifted entirely online as well. The annual Career Fair, now in its third year, connects health-care clinics, natural health companies and other naturopathic professionals with fourth-year students and recent graduates. Instead of in-person meet-and-greets and interviews, participants could visit with their potential future employer via Zoom breakout rooms. In addition, the opening and closing sessions focused on an area which is gaining increasing attention and importance: practice management in the era of virtual care.
Over the course of the academic year students can also take part in our Thriving Together series, which is an initiative designed to support and encourage conversations about health, resiliency and community. So far, we’ve hosted sessions offering yoga, guided meditations and tips to optimize online learning.
Although most of the academic program is now being offered online, students in second year, third year and the international medical graduate bridge stream were invited to take part in two-week practicum sessions at the College. The students alternated throughout September and October to minimize social and physical contact. The results were a resounding success – students were able to get vital training in acupuncture and physical medicine while keeping themselves and their classmates safe.
Patient visits at the RSNC
Tele-health care at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic (RSNC), CCNM’s teaching clinic, has brought some unexpected benefits. Not only do patients appreciate seeing their clinic intern from the comfort of their own home, they’re still able to receive the naturopathic health care they expect from the RSNC. For interns, exposure to a tele-health platform ensures they hit the ground running once it’s time to set up their own practice. Finally, since in-person travel to the RSNC is no longer a barrier, we’ve seen an increase in patient visits from people all over Ontario. Currently there is a mix of approximately 50% between in-person and tele-health visits.
Connect with CCNM
To keep updated with all CCNM news and happenings, make sure to follow us @myccnm on social media and visit our website for more information.