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NUHS grad to kickstart inpatient acupuncture treatment program at Elmhurst Hospital

Salvador Nooshig

As a medical doctor and recent NUHS acupuncture graduate, Nooshig Salvador, MD, MSOM, HMDC, FACP, LAc, Diplomate OM, works at one of many hospital systems that have begun offering integrative medicine treatments for their patients.

Within the Palliative Care Program of Elmhurst-Edward Health, Dr. Salvador has been using acupuncture predominately to treat the pain of those with chronic illnesses.

"I consider it to be a pure blessing to have the skills to help patients with symptoms like pain, dyspnea, headache, anxiety and stress," said Dr. Salvador, who serves administrative and clinical roles at both Elmhurst and Edward Hospitals as System Medical Director for the Palliative Care Program. "When patients are motivated enough to try these treatments, we have the ability to reduce polypharmacy along with avoiding potential adverse effects and interactions between multiple medications."

By the end of September, Dr. Salvador will start an inpatient acupuncture program that will allow her to provide acupuncture and other holistic services like nutritional advice to acutely ill hospitalized patients at Elmhurst Hospital right at their bedside. Dr. Salvador also plans to track how helpful acupuncture is in reducing polypharmacy and hopefully even opioid requirements for chronic pain.

Initially, she plans to work mainly with patients in the Palliative Care Program, but as the program moves forward, she will also be taking requests from other doctors at Elmhurst Hospital who have patients interested in acupuncture. Depending on demand, the program has the potential to expand.

"The hospital administrators have been very supportive," Dr. Salvador said.

Dr. Salvador was once skeptical of acupuncture herself. But after she received acupuncture treatment that cleared a viral upper respiratory and sinus infection, she was amazed. "The more I learned about acupuncture, the more I became interested in it as a treatment modality," she said.

Once enrolled at NUHS, she was pleasantly surprised to see how much the NUHS Health Center clinic ran like her training as a medical student.

"I had excellent teachers who were experts in their specialty," she said.

During her time in the program, a fellow NUHS student helped convince her to expand her studies in acupuncture by also getting her Master's in Oriental Medicine, which includes the study of Chinese herbal medicine.

Since graduating from NUHS in 2018, Dr. Salvador is also set to graduate from Dr. Andrew Weil's Integrative Medicine Fellowship Program, which involves the study of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda among other treatment modalities, in September. With the start of the inpatient acupuncture program at Elmhurst Hospital, she's looking forward to utilizing some of the new modalities she's learned.

"Using a multi-disciplinary integrative approach to help heal our patients' ailments, it's not just the future but also the here and now," she said.

 

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