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
Hi, everybody! The "First Tri Mixer" is the first social event
of each trimester where currently enrolled students of the
professional programs officially welcome the new students who are
in their first trimester, so the name "Tri-Mixer."
I had a great time and had the opportunity to meet four of our
new students outside the classrooms and busy schedules we each
endure. Talking with each other about our journey that led to
medical school, our choice of discipline, and the changes and
sacrifices each made to pursue a medical degree helped me to
reflect on my personal reasons for entering naturopathic medical
school - both on a personal and professional level.
Now the funny part: I guess I'm past my clubbin' years as I
arrived at the club around 9:30 p.m., texted a few classmates, and
they informed me they would arrive around 11:00 p.m.! At that
point, I realized my mistake of asking my colleagues in their
mid-20s "when" they would get to the club. My responses ranged from
"Come on over to the apartment, we won't leave for a while," to
"Wow! You're early. Save me a seat in the reserved section," to
"It's past your bedtime Grandpa, why are you still up?" :) Fun
Once my classmates started trickling into the club, I was
overjoyed to share laughs, hugs and smiles with students from just
about every trimester, including the new students and our Trimester
10 interns just a few weeks away from graduation (I'm going to miss
them!). After I sang/rapped "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ
Rock (thus revealing my "era" and also while trying to dance,
ahem), a couple of my classmates tried to get me onto the dance
floor but I'm not much of a public dancer. Ironically, as outgoing
as I am in everyday life, I'm a bit of a wallflower when it comes
to dancing. Maybe I need a few lessons and I can get over my
self-effacing approach to dancing. (Hoh! Yeh!...It takes two to
make a thing go right…it takes two to make it outta sight!)
Naturopathic Student Gathering Update
The Tri Mixer wasn't the only thing going on this week. You
remember before that I mentioned some news about the Naturopathic
Student Gathering coming up in November? Well, the Opening/Closing
Ceremonies Team has gotten a lot of work accomplished! We have the
structure for the stage built, props for the stage, lobby to the
auditorium, a display for the bookstore window, our choreography
for something special (to be revealed later).
I have included a pic of the structure for the stage. Disregard
the messy workshop; despite appearances a method exists to the
madness in the background! This structure was built without nails
or manmade connectors. It is free standing and pretty solid! We
used wood gathered from streams, ponds and fallen limbs after
storms in order to do our best to use what Nature provided us for
our conference. This is just the framework as we intend to use
Willow, Pine and Ivy boughs as accents for the
I'll keep you updated on the "goings-on" of the Gathering Teams
as we each prepare to host our student solleagues from the six
other schools in North America. I had a blast last year and made
many new friends! I, and many other students at NUHS, look
forward to seeing our colleagues once again this year!
That being said, and I've said this before, I am fully grateful
for my classmates here at NUHS. I never imagined that I would be at
a club on a Friday night having a blast! Thanks to all of you for
getting me out of my "Friday night rut" of movie, pizza and bed by
10:00 p.m. Maybe next time, I'll hit the dance floor, who knows?
Until next week, in the meantime, while I'm loading my iPod with
new club tunes, don't be afraid to dance a bit and sing out
Well, I'm sitting here in the middle of Week 3 of
7th Trimester wondering where the first two weeks
went! This trimester, I believe is solely to test whether we can
arrive at class on time, with homework completed and dressed
appropriately, whether for simulated patients, clinic observation
or simply remembering to clothe ourselves before leaving the house
for school! :)
The intensity of the information being delivered, the tasks
being performed in class, lab and clinic along with the homework
cycle is a strong rival to the "Terrible Triad" of classes from
Trimester Two! The Terrible Triad is otherwise known as Head and
Neck Gross Anatomy Lab, Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy. These
classes more than any other, have convinced many students here at
NUHS (including yours truly) that the insanity track, or the track
that will complete the program in only 10 trimesters, is sometimes
a bit much if other factors are involved in one's life such as a
longer commute, family or even a part-time job.
One's preferred schedule here at NUHS can be as individually
tailored as the person taking the classes. As with any endeavor in
life, the choices boil down to the factors of time and money. How
much time can you devote to your classes, both individually and
throughout the program as a whole? Also, how much money do you have
to be either employed part-time while attending classes on a
lighter schedule (though still difficult, just fewer classes per
trimester) or "self employed" as a Naturopathic Medical
Speaking of time and money, an old dear friend (back in my Joe
Six Pack days) used to lecture me on spending money on being
healthy now by exercising and eating properly or spending money
later on maintaining health with prescriptions, surgeries, etc.
Let's just say I was driving hell-bent on the road to either a
stroke or a heart attack in my mid 30's.
I did a pretty good job of getting healthier through learning,
utilizing and pursuing a career in Naturopathic Medicine. Once I
entered med school, however, my schedule became super full. I was
poor at managing personal and school time separately, and health
slowly began to waver, then wane--not terribly, but enough to cause
concern to me through a tightening waist on my pants and a truly
striking lack of energy on a daily basis.
(L-R) Steve Occhetti, David Popovic and the Panther
Enter Trimester 7, a renewed focus on balance between school,
health and Vitamin R (one of the Determinants of Health...rest,
relaxation, rejuvenation). Combine the new focus with Steve
Occhetti and Dave Popovic, who are true motivators! These guys,
nearly 20 years my junior, and both of whom are excellent athletes,
invited the "wily veteran" to join them with their workouts. Now
then, any person who is halfway motivated to improve their health,
increase energy and enjoy some laughs and groans at the jokes
shared could not pass up this opportunity!
So, you guessed it, I made time in my schedule despite this load
of classes, patient simulations, clinic observation and homework
(and exams...yarrrr) to ensure that I give my physiological person
the same opportunity to grow that I have given my intellectual
person (I use that term loosely) while here at med school. Only one
facet left--my spiritual person through personal reflection,
centering and calming. I'm still working on that one a bit, yet I
guess we all are to one degree or another.
I'll be sure to keep all of you updated on the happenings of the
Naturopathic Student Gathering as well as my efforts at improvement
in my personal triad (intellectual, physical and spiritual...or
mind, body, spirit) as well!
Now, time for some homework, then the Tri Mixer this coming
Friday where we "seasoned" students welcome our new colleagues to
NUHS over food, drinks and great stories! I'm grateful that our
student population is open and welcoming to our new students each
trimester despite their hectic schedules. I feel that is but one of
the facets that make our student population incredible!
See you next week!
Hi Everybody! The wheels are starting to churn this trimester!
We had two cases due, another midterm in Physical Diagnosis class,
as well as helping to make some Chinese Angelica (Angelica
sinensis) salve in our botanicals class this week. The week was
capped off with Tri Games and my trimester, Trimester 6, finished
in second place out of 8 teams. More about that in a moment,
I'll highlight Physical Diagnosis this week. Physical Diagnosis
is the culmination of evaluation classes beginning in Trimester 2
all the way up through Trimester 5. In the evaluation classes, we
combine patient intake skills such as taking vitals, heart and lung
exams and neurology exams with physical medicine. The physical
medicine part includes musculoskeletal adjustment and soft tissue
work. When we reach Trimester 6, we put all of the pieces together
in one huge class that is 8 credit hours. We spend 10 hours per
week (6 in the classroom, 4 in the lab) rehashing each system of
the body along with how to inspect, evaluate and determine if
something is going wrong. We apply pathologies that can impact that
system or group of systems as we go. To top everything off, we
spend time learning these systems through 'hands on' training.
This is a vast amount of time and information, so we have
alternating written exams and lab practicals every 5 weeks. These
combined exams will culminate in finals week with an hour-long lab
practical and two-hour written comprehensive exam. Needless to say,
I have been spending quite a bit of time on 'Phys DX'! This is a
fun class with many of our clinical professors lending a hand on
various subjects. In my opinion, it's a great way to learn from
each subject matter expert as we learn of their specialty!
Now! About Tri Games! Tri Games is a competition held
three times a year at the Lombard campus. Each of the trimesters (1
through 7, and 8,9,10 combined) competes with each other in a team
sport. This spring, co-ed flag football was the game!
After classes last Friday, everyone packed up a cool beverage,
donned their trimester's color (Tri 6 was red) and readied
themselves to defend their trimester's honor on the gridiron--well,
the field in front of Lincoln apartments. The favorite is usually
the clinic team (students from trimesters 8, 9, and 10) as they
have the opportunity to combine forces.
Although Trimester 6 (ahem) put up a great fight after battling
through the ranks to make the Championship Game, the "Mighty Swans"
of trimesters 8, 9, and 10 were able to barely "squeak by" with a
30-point victory. Even though we were a little bummed at coming in
second, we joined our classmates after the game and listened to
some tunes from the DJ on the basketball court. A great time! Plus,
we'll take the win at the next Tri Games this fall when we are
This week I'm thankful that my classmates/teammates would let
the "wily veteran" come out of retirement to join them on the
field! What a great feeling to be welcomed by one's classmates on
the sports field, even though a "step may have been lost" somewhere
in the past 15 years. The inclusive nature of the student body of
NUHS is defined in young, recently graduated college athletes
turned naturopathic/chiropractic med students welcoming a
middle-aged naturopathic med student to represent our trimester in
an athletic competition! Time to hit the practice field and be
ready for kickball in the fall!
Until next week!
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
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