ND Program Accreditation

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 chiropractic degree. 

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 medicine.

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 accreditation!