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The naturopathic medicine degree program at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) in Chicago, Illinois recently earned re-accreditation for a six-year period from the Council on Naturopathic Medicine Education (CNME). This is the longest period of accreditation the program has ever received.

The milestone comes alongside the program’s 10-year anniversary this year. “The program, which was always delivering excellent education, has really come into its own in many respects,” said Dr. Fraser Smith, who helped launch the program and now serves as assistant dean. “Since the program’s beginnings, we have become well known throughout the naturopathic community. We have also graduated many cohorts. Some of our early students are now teaching here.”

CNME, the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency for programs leading to the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND), lauded National University’s ND program’s emphasis on naturopathic principles and engaged faculty. They also highlighted National University’s unique interdisciplinary environment and its Learning Resource Center among its strengths.

Since 2006, the ND program has continued to evolve, with more emphasis on endocrinology, women’s health, emergency procedures, additional hours in pharmacology, and physical medicine, while retaining a strong emphasis on naturopathic principles and clinical theory throughout the program.

New MD added to clinic team

As part of ongoing efforts to provide a wider variety of patients, disease types, and complexities for ND and other program interns, Asad Zaman, MD, recently joined the medical team at the university’s on-campus clinic, the Whole Health Center in Lombard. Dr. Zaman will provide patient care and will have the added responsibility of teaching clinic students while allowing them to observe his patient care interactions.

In the spirit of interprofessional education, ND clinic interns will be integrated into this teaching dynamic first with other disciplines to follow. For those interested in starting their own practice, Dr. Zaman, who has experience building a new practice from the ground up, will also teach students the business side of medicine.

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A new Hydrotherapy Suite

Another significant addition to National University’s ND program is the on-campus Hydrotherapy Suite. Hydrotherapy is a naturopathic health tradition that utilizes the therapeutic benefits of water at various temperatures and is meant to soothe or stimulate various systems in the body.

Once construction is completed, it will be integrated into the Whole Health Center’s service offerings in early 2017. The suite will specifically offer constitutional treatments, Russian steams baths, and peat immersion baths. These treatments will be used with other natural treatments such as botanical medicine, nutritional improvements, or lifestyle changes.

More clinical opportunities

In addition to a full year of clinical internship at our on-campus Whole Health Center, NUHS offers clinic experience off-campus as well. As part of the program, ND students complete a three-week rotation at the Salvation Army clinic facility in Chicago helping

the medically underserved. Some interns, in the final phase of their clinical training, complete a six- to eight-week rotation at the private practice of an adjunct faculty member in our Clinical Clerkship Program. Students also have the opportunity to apply for residency programs at well-known facilities like the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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Various dual degree options

At National University, students have the unique advantage of earning several health care degrees all on one campus: Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND), Master of Science in Acupuncture (MSAc), Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM), and Massage Therapy (MT). Students earning dual degrees at NUHS can save both time and money, as opposed to pursuing the degrees at separate times, or at separate institutions. In pre-licensed states, NDs with a dual DC degree can more easily practice under their DC license. ND students at NUHS getting a dual degree in acupuncture can also apply their training under the LAc scope of practice.

In order to provide students with the best education possible, the university’s work to improve and grow the ND program is always ongoing. “Our insight into how to deliver the best clinical education has grown and it is an exciting time to be an ND intern at NUHS,” said Smith. “We are on the threshold of new growth and many new achievements in teaching, patient care, scholarship, and research in the next 10 years.”