Archive for tag: accreditation

Farewell Dr. Baltazar - Part 2

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 words.

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Dr. Coe and her ubiquitous camera with Dr. Baltazar at her going-away party

What was it like to start up the Naturopathic Clinic at NUHS?

"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 clinical experience."

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 solid." 

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." 

What next?

"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 accreditation." 

What was rewarding to you in your role as Chief Naturopathic Clinician?

"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 physicians."

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.

ND Program Accreditation

What a week everyone! 

I thought the highlight of this week's story would be the Trimester Games (or Tri Games). Instead we received word on Saturday that NUHS has just earned full accreditation with the CNME (Council on Naturopathic Medical Education)!

But first, I will share a bit about Tri Games as this was the first appearance of 'Cyggy the Cygnet' (our school mascot is a baby swan), who will be representing our school along with our students at Chiro Games. (Chiro Games is an annual Olympics-style competition among all the chiropractic schools. NUHS' naturopathic students are invited to compete for our school alongside our chiropractic student colleagues. Yet another reason why I love this school is the camaraderie between our programs and sense of inclusion of all students on our campus!

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Pictured (L-R) are Janet, Cyggy 'Joseph Vazquez', me (kneeling) Megan and Lauren.

Now for the big news!

Since NUHS re-started the naturopathic program in 2006, we have been working with the CNME to attain full accreditation. What do I mean by re-started? Well, National was the last of the old naturopathic schools to close its doors (so to speak) by removing the naturopathic medicine program in the early 1950s. Just about every doctor who graduated from National prior to that time was considered an ND and DC by earning both a naturopathic and a chiropractic degree. 

A bit about the current program and how we achieved this incredible milestone in only a few years! Our university president, James Winterstein, DC, worked tirelessly for a number of years to convince the NUHS' board of directors, alumni and faculty that restarting the naturopathic medicine program was the proper direction to take given the increasing demand for natural medicine. Once the program was given the green light, Dr. Winterstein recruited Fraser Smith, ND, as assistant dean of naturopathic medicine, to establish, build and lead the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Program at NUHS. Dr. Smith then proceeded to recruit faculty, build the curriculum, gather up the first small group of students, and start on the accreditation process.

Dr. Smith insisted upon including a strong philosophical basis for the naturopathic medicine program at NUHS. The philosophy would focus on the history (or roots) of naturopathic medicine, the determinants of health, the naturopathic principles, and how all fit into the practice model and method of cure for our medicine.

As someone who has been in the business world, been a part of huge projects that could 'make or break' a career, I have tremendous respect for the courage that Dr. Winterstein displayed in convincing board members of a chiropractic college and a host of chiropractic alumni that evolving into a health sciences university and allocating resources to a new naturopathic medicine program (as well as an acupuncture and oriental medicine program) was the right course for our school. Along the same lines, Dr. Smith's acceptance of the challenge to come to Lombard, Illinois, while already successfully practicing and leading at CCNM (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine) is an example of courage that few, in my experience, would attempt. I think both of these men knew that failure was not an option for the new naturopathic program here. Failure would most likely have been a huge career setback for both. In spite of the challenges, through the leadership of these two men and countless efforts from many members of the administration and faculty at NUHS, we stand as an accredited school a mere SIX YEARS from the inception of our program!

I remember reading Rachel's and Miravone's blogs (the first ND Bloggers for NUHS) when I was deciding upon a naturopathic school. Their open and fair assessment of the program's infancy, the strides being made despite the lessons learned, and growing pains of a new enterprise helped me to see that all persons concerned were fully committed to the success of our program! Now, a few years later, I am honored to share with each of you that our school, NUHS, has met and passed a significant milestone! I wish I could express the joy that was shared within and without our student and faculty family here! Facebook was lit up like the Griswold's at Christmastime ("Christmas Vacation")! 

With joy for our school, our students and our faculty, this week I'm grateful for the sacrifice, efforts and persistence of our leadership to help NUHS' Naturopathic Medicine Program reach accreditation!