During the clinical internship, naturopathic medicine students at National University of Health Sciences serve a three-week rotation seeing patients in a Chicago Salvation Army facility. There, they work under a primary care physician and alongside NUHS interns from the chiropractic medicine program. They see a wide variety of patients who are often homeless, drug-addicted or who have recently suffered tragedy in their lives.
Erin Quinlan, DC, has served as a clinician for the program for over four years. "ND interns participate in taking complete physicals for new men coming into the facility's clinic. As part of each patient's treatment plan, the interns recommend nutritional supplements, as well as botanical and homeopathic medicine appropriate for each patient's history and medical condition. ND interns also consult with the chiropractic interns on recommended musculoskeletal treatment and acupuncture.
The Salvation Army rotation occurs in the tenth trimester. "Many people think they have to travel to other countries to gain experience helping the medically disadvantaged," says ND student intern T.J. Phelps. "However we're helping homeless and drug-addicted men right here in Chicago."
"Since I've been there, we've seen many musculoskeletal conditions, including a broken ankle and broken leg. There are also many cardiovascular conditions," says T.J. "Sometimes the patients are refused care by hospitals, or they can't afford their medication, so their condition has become more complex."
Dr. Quinlan says it's been especially valuable for the clinic to be able to offer homeopathic treatment through the ND interns' expertise. "We see a lot of digestive issues and sleep issues as well as allergies and dermatologic problems. The homeopathic remedies that the ND interns recommend are showing great results in these cases."
The Salvation Army clinic rotation is another way National University offers real world experience in integrative medicine. "Working together, I've learned more about physical rehabilitation techniques from the DC interns, and I'm able to share my expertise in botanical medicine, as our naturopathic classes go into more detail on rare botanicals," says T.J. Phelps.
Both Dr. Quinlan and T.J. say that the experience at the Salvation Army is uniquely rewarding, especially because the patients are so appreciative. "The students really get to see the direct impact of how their care improves these patients' lives."