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.
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!
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
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
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
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
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