Fraser Smith, ND, Assistant Dean of the NUHS naturopathic medicine program, received the Vis Award from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) last month at its convention in Phoenix.
“I was speechless, which is, if you ask my students, a very rare occurrence,” Dr. Smith said. “I was thrilled.”
In honor of the life and work of Dr. William A. Mitchell, N.D. (1947-2007),the Vis Award acknowledges persons who represent the Vis, the Healing Power of Nature, as demonstrated through their work, life, and community service.
“The fine people who serve the AANP organization have many, many naturopathic physicians to nominate that do amazing things for the profession every day. To be recognized by the AANP in this way is very important,” he said. “Those who received the award before me are people I look up to, some of whom I aspired to follow in their footsteps when I was still a student!”
Dr. Smith helped NUHS launch the naturopathic medicine program in 2006. In addition to teaching botanical medicine and naturopathic history, philosophy and principles at NUHS, he is the author of a naturopathic medicine textbook and two other books, “Keep Your Brain Young,” and “The pH Balance Health & Diet Guide for GERD, IBS and IBD. He is also an editorial board member of the Natural Medicine Journal.
Like others in the academic community, Dr. Smith faced the challenge of transitioning in-person teaching to online during the pandemic. One lesson he came away with is that learning is a social activity.
“It doesn’t mean we have to be in the classroom all the time. Online courses, if they have a lot of feedback and connections can work very well,” he said. “We’ve gotten better at online delivery of education but also learned that human connection, communication, and relationships are as or more important than ever.”
Dr. Smith added that the VIS award is about service but also the commitment to naturopathic medicine and an approach to healthcare.
“I believe that our naturopathic medicine program at National exemplifies these values, knowledge, and practices; I’m very proud to be a part of this university,” Dr. Smith said.