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!
Just a quick note this week to wish all of you a very Happy
Thanksgiving! I'll share a bit of what I am thankful for this
I am thankful for my family. My parents, each with no more than
an eighth grade education, ensured that I was reading before I
entered kindergarten and I'll always have fond memories of sitting
with Mom or Dad reading Little Golden Books. Both instilled a
lifelong love of reading and my library is backlogged with books to
read after my fill of medical school books over the past three
years. I am thankful for my three sisters who put up with my antics
as we grew up and moved away from home. I am thankful for all of my
nieces and nephews, who carry on the family name and tradition of
gathering on Thanksgiving at my folks' home. That's a lot of people
in a 900-square-foot home, but the love expands the walls
immeasurably when everyone is present!
The Gathering Banquet Table: (L-R) Tim, Danielle, Jenna, and
I am thankful for each of my classmates. I have said that before
and I reiterate again today. The group of classmates I have are
individually wonderfully people. They are some of the finest, most
cooperative over-achievers one could meet. Regardless of the
challenge, this group comes together for each other, charitable
causes and communication. I am proud to be a part of the class of
December 2013 and have made life-long friendships during my times
I am thankful for my friends back home. We have been through
"thick and thin" together. Births, deaths, layoffs, downsizing,
promotions, marriage and divorce; each of my little group back home
is ever present to lend a hand, an ear, a shoulder or a back when
work needs to be done. These are the folks who didn't say I was
crazy for leaving a good job to become a naturopathic doc at 40
years old. These are the folks who ask every four months, "Are you
coming home Ammons?" Friends who want to catch up and are eager to
keep in touch are truly a thing to be thankful for.
I hope you are with the ones you care about this holiday. That
you have experienced a year of abundance in health, love and
happiness and that your dreams, plans and experiences have
contributed to your betterment and the betterment of all!
See you next week!
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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