Dr. Kelly Baltazar's positive impact on the Naturopathic Clinic
here at NUHS was immense. That was evident from the blog entry last
week, as well as comments from all of our interns currently in
clinic, including those who have graduated.
The outpouring of support and best wishes on her new journey was
so great over the past two weeks that I am sharing comments from
Dr. Baltazar on her journey as part of the founding team for the
Naturopathic Clinic here at NUHS and her transition to Cancer
Treatment Centers of America.
Dr. Baltazar and I were able to sit down together and talk about
her experiences here at NUHS as well as her plans for the future.
These are quotes from the conversation we had, in Dr. Baltazar's
Dr. Coe and her ubiquitous camera with Dr. Baltazar at her
What was it like to start up the Naturopathic Clinic at
"A lot of excitement, a challenge, a sense of a 'huge task in
front of us' to not only get it started but to develop a quality
What were the greatest challenges?
"The basic tasks of creating forms, handouts, patient
scheduling, and how to fit it within the existing NUHS clinic. How
will we create the structure of the clinic? The most challenging
part of the process has been managing all the behind the scenes
work to ensure that both the day-to-day and the big picture remain
Can you compare the first cohort with today's processes,
workflow and patient interactions and the path to accreditation in
such a short timeframe?
"Throughout the years, much refining of the process, with a lot
of strategic decisions needing to be made and refining the details
as we went. When the news came in October (2012) that we had gained
accreditation, a sense of true accomplishment."
How did you feel at that moment with regard to your role
here at the NUHS Naturopathic Clinic?
"After that moment [accreditation], I felt like my task was
complete and then time to think about a new endeavor for my
professional and personal growth. I have set and maintained high
expectations and clinical standards and the culture is in place and
that is one thing that I am very thankful for."
"I will be pursuing other professional interests and avenues
that will provide professional growth for me. Moving back to
patient care in a direct role rather than a teaching/mentor role as
a naturopathic oncology provider at Cancer Treatment Centers of
America. Time for personal life for a little bit. I will be getting
married and hope to continue to run in marathons and
half-marathons, cycling with my fiancé and gardening!"
What would you like for your legacy to be?
"Accreditation and helping with the process as well as building
a clinical program to meet the standards of
What was rewarding to you in your role as Chief
"Those 'aha' moments when you can see a student truly capture a
'concept' was rewarding! However, the most rewarding aspect of my
job has been seeing graduates become successful naturopathic
Thank you for doing the "grunt" work of forming, building and
improving our Naturopathic Clinic to the point of accreditation.
Thank you for answering the same questions from multitudes of
interns day-in and day-out. Thank you for keeping a smile on your
face and calm in the flurry of Student Clinic. Thank you for being
a helping hand, a guide, mentor and leader.
We will miss you, Dr. Baltazar.
This week's blog is bittersweet. This week I will say goodbye to
our Chief of Naturopathic Clinics, Dr. Kelly Baltazar. While I (and
many classmates and staff) are very sad that Dr. Baltazar is
leaving NUHS, we are overjoyed for her and her new opportunity in
A bit of info about Dr. Baltazar. Dr. Baltazar earned her
naturopathic medicine doctorate from Bastyr University and
subsequently completed her chiropractic medicine doctorate from
National University of Health Sciences. She stepped into the role
of Chief of Naturopathic Clinics upon the inception of the clinical
portion of the naturopathic medicine program here at NUHS. Dr.
Baltazar, along with others, built our naturopathic clinical
program from the ground up. She worked as part of the team to
develop the forms for the paperwork, procedural manuals, visit
protocols, scheduling, and assessments for all
Beginning with only a handful of students and growing the
program to over 100 naturopathic students currently enrolled, Dr.
Baltazar has mentored, guided, nudged, reined-in, and congratulated
every naturopathic Intern upon graduation from the first student
through the most recent graduates.
Dr. Baltazar's legacy earning CNME accreditation for an upstart
naturopathic medical school in an unlicensed state for NDs within
seven years, which is an amazing feat! While she didn't do
this alone, the responsibility for the clinical portion of the
program fell upon her shoulders entirely and she excelled at
building a thriving naturopathic clinic!
With a heavy heart and big smile for her new adventures, we all
wish Dr. Baltazar much success and happiness in her new endeavors
with Cancer Treatment Centers of America! She will be an excellent
ambassador for our profession and for our university!
Dr. Baltazar is standing front row center, to the right
Dr. Fraser Smith, Assistant Dean of Naturopathic
Some student comments for Dr. Baltazar...
"Dr. Baltazar, may your journey be filled with joy, success,
abundance, and love for what you do and those around
-- All of us
"The moral of the story is that it takes seven people to
make one of you."
-- An intern to Dr. Baltazar at her going away party
"She simply rocks!"
-- A 9th Trimester Intern
"Probably the best teacher I've ever had, including
elementary, high school and undergraduate! She knew how to break
down information into easily understandable terms."
-- A 9th Trimester Intern
"She was the rock in a chaotic river in clinic!"
-- A 10th Trimester Intern
This past week we were introduced to two of the more interesting
classes I have taken here at NUHS over the past three years. These
classes are Minor Surgical Techniques and Environmental
Minor Surgical Techniques is perhaps our best
example of medicine's greatest force of intervention, while also
following one of the Naturopathic principles of "do no harm." The
task of bringing injured tissues together (so that they can heal
more completely without complication) while piercing that tissue
with a needle and suturing material (some tissue damage in order to
help the whole person heal) can help prevent local infection
building and possibly invading the circulatory system, where it can
infect the person's entire body.
While many of us will never use the procedures taught in minor
surgery, some of our licensed states require that the naturopathic
physicians in that state be able to perform all procedures that a
primary care doctor would perform in their normal duties.
Environmental Medicine is a review of the
"total load" of today's environment upon the human body. We look at
all sources of toxins from our food supply, items of everyday
living, air, water and electronic sources. We measure the impact of
these sources upon the human body, both in the short term as well
as over a lifetime. We research ways of detoxifying the human body
from these influences and ways of helping the human body, mind and
spirit recover from an overload of toxins.
These classes roll up many of the concepts we learned in the
basic sciences portion of our curriculum from anatomy, inflammatory
process, tissue injury and healing, our bodies' built-in filtration
systems and just about every process we learned. Now, as I have
said before, the concepts are being applied on a daily basis, both
in our classes as well as when we see our patients at the Student
Finally, on this Memorial Day weekend, I'm taking the bully
pulpit of this blog to honor two of the veterans who have given
their lives for our country, our freedoms, our people--not just for
their generation, yet for those who follow, both born here and who
immigrate here for a better life. These men are my uncles: U.S.
Army Private First Class Edward Ammons, who was killed in action in
1945 on Luzon Island in the Philippines during the waning months of
World War II after having fought much of the Pacific Campaign; and
U.S. Army Private First Class Otto Ammons, who was killed in action
in early 1952 near the 38th Parallel during the
Korean War. Our family has never forgotten them and I will do my
best to ensure that none of our veterans who have given their lives
willingly for our country and innate liberties, regardless of the
war, action or operation are forgotten.
The first official week of Student Clinic is in the books and it
was a full one! I was able to see five patients the first week and
the time flew! Of course, it seemed as much time was spent with
paperwork as with the patients, yet this is a necessary part of the
patient visit to ensure that those who see a patient after me know
exactly what I talked about with the patient.
First a little background on student clinic here at NUHS. During
8th trimester, ND students are interns in Student
Clinic. In other words, we only see students and their families
during 8th trimester. This is to prepare us for
seeing the general public in 9th and
10th trimesters. We are allowed and even
encouraged to recruit our patients from the student population here
on campus, as recruiting patients is part of building a practice
once we graduate. When a patient doesn't request a specific intern,
the patient is assigned based upon an objective alphabetical
rotation. In other words, we have plenty of patients to see and
help in Student Clinic even with minimal recruiting
The week kicked off with a new patient visit, which typically is
supposed to take about 90 minutes. Of course, a brand new intern
with a new patient, new file, fresh paperwork and a steep learning
curve means that 90 minutes is an attainable goal, yet often is one
that is not met with a first visit. Take that first visit and
follow it immediately with a patient who is returning for a
follow-up visit and you have the recipe for a full day! Now, since
our Student Clinic hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from
1pm to 7pm, multiply that by 3 and add all patient file paperwork
that must be completed before leaving at the end of the day! Whoa!
Thank goodness, our ND clinicians are around to give us a
helping hand, guidance and solid suggestions when we "err off
course" just a bit! Without their short bits of advice and a finger
pointed in the proper direction, I'm certain 10 interns would have
been scurrying in all directions. :) A quick shout out to our
clinicians in the ND clinic and their patience, guidance and sense
The rubber is meeting the road and it's time to apply everything
that has been learned (or absorbed) for the previous three years.
I'm honored and grateful that others trust their well being to me
in Student Clinic at NUHS. I'm grateful that we have the strong
clinicians to guide us during our internship!
Hi, everyone! All of us here at NUHS are back from break and
getting into the rhythm of classes or clinic schedules. In my case,
I have finally started the final lap here at NUHS and have entered
But first a little about this past break and my trip back home
to the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. I've included
a pic from one of my favorite hilltops behind the "homestead" back
During my trip back home I was able to catch up with my family
and friends, spend some quality time together and relax just a bit.
I hiked a few miles on the Appalachian Trail that is very near my
home at Sam's Gap in North Carolina and the views were spectacular!
I caught a few odd looks from those who had been on the trail for
awhile (guess they were wondering where my gear was), but all in
all had a nice chat with one hiker as they descended from the trail
to get a few supplies at a little store nearby the trail. Amazing
how we traipsed all over the woods as kids never worrying about
supplies, hiking poles, packs, etc., yet as an adult, I was
concerned about hiking a few ridges that I had covered many times
as a kid. All in all, a great trip and I'm thankful for my family
and friends back home, catching up while seemingly not missing a
beat, and leaving with a sense of love and fulfillment.
Now, back to school. I'm entering Student Clinic this trimester
as an intern who will be working with students currently attending
NUHS and their families. The cohort entering Student Clinic this
trimester is, I believe, the largest cohort yet for our
naturopathic medical school and the groups following are even
larger! This first week is going to kick off with a bang, as my
appointment schedule is booked for the week with students
completing their "freshmen physicals." A freshman physical is a
complete head-to-toe physical and naturopathic intake that
typically takes about two hours, after some practice. I believe
most of us will take somewhere between two and three hours for our
first couple of intakes until we get our time management skills
Well, with that I suppose it's time to get the shirts pressed,
the slacks creased, the intern's white coat spotless, and step into
the role of the student healer. A big welcome to all of our first
trimester students in the professional programs and our
undergraduate students! Until I graduate, I'll do my best to share
life in the clinic over the coming year--stories of my time there
as well as insight into other interns' journeys here at
Talk to you next week!
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
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