Archive for tag: campus life

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!

My First Tri Mixer

Hi, everybody! The "First Tri Mixer" is the first social event of each trimester where currently enrolled students of the professional programs officially welcome the new students who are in their first trimester, so the name "Tri-Mixer."

I had a great time and had the opportunity to meet four of our new students outside the classrooms and busy schedules we each endure. Talking with each other about our journey that led to medical school, our choice of discipline, and the changes and sacrifices each made to pursue a medical degree helped me to reflect on my personal reasons for entering naturopathic medical school - both on a personal and professional level. 

Now the funny part: I guess I'm past my clubbin' years as I arrived at the club around 9:30 p.m., texted a few classmates, and they informed me they would arrive around 11:00 p.m.! At that point, I realized my mistake of asking my colleagues in their mid-20s "when" they would get to the club. My responses ranged from "Come on over to the apartment, we won't leave for a while," to "Wow! You're early. Save me a seat in the reserved section," to "It's past your bedtime Grandpa, why are you still up?" :) Fun times! 

Once my classmates started trickling into the club, I was overjoyed to share laughs, hugs and smiles with students from just about every trimester, including the new students and our Trimester 10 interns just a few weeks away from graduation (I'm going to miss them!). After I sang/rapped "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock (thus revealing my "era" and also while trying to dance, ahem), a couple of my classmates tried to get me onto the dance floor but I'm not much of a public dancer. Ironically, as outgoing as I am in everyday life, I'm a bit of a wallflower when it comes to dancing. Maybe I need a few lessons and I can get over my self-effacing approach to dancing. (Hoh! Yeh!...It takes two to make a thing go right…it takes two to make it outta sight!)

Naturopathic Student Gathering Update

The Tri Mixer wasn't the only thing going on this week. You remember before that I mentioned some news about the Naturopathic Student Gathering coming up in November? Well, the Opening/Closing Ceremonies Team has gotten a lot of work accomplished! We have the structure for the stage built, props for the stage, lobby to the auditorium, a display for the bookstore window, our choreography for something special (to be revealed later). 


I have included a pic of the structure for the stage. Disregard the messy workshop; despite appearances a method exists to the madness in the background! This structure was built without nails or manmade connectors. It is free standing and pretty solid! We used wood gathered from streams, ponds and fallen limbs after storms in order to do our best to use what Nature provided us for our conference. This is just the framework as we intend to use Willow, Pine and Ivy boughs as accents for the conference. 

I'll keep you updated on the "goings-on" of the Gathering Teams as we each prepare to host our student solleagues from the six other schools in North America. I had a blast last year and made many new friends!  I, and many other students at NUHS, look forward to seeing our colleagues once again this year!

That being said, and I've said this before, I am fully grateful for my classmates here at NUHS. I never imagined that I would be at a club on a Friday night having a blast! Thanks to all of you for getting me out of my "Friday night rut" of movie, pizza and bed by 10:00 p.m. Maybe next time, I'll hit the dance floor, who knows? :) 

Until next week, in the meantime, while I'm loading my iPod with new club tunes, don't be afraid to dance a bit and sing out loud!

What a Schedule

Well, I'm sitting here in the middle of Week 3 of 7th Trimester wondering where the first two weeks went! This trimester, I believe is solely to test whether we can arrive at class on time, with homework completed and dressed appropriately, whether for simulated patients, clinic observation or simply remembering to clothe ourselves before leaving the house for school! :) 

The intensity of the information being delivered, the tasks being performed in class, lab and clinic along with the homework cycle is a strong rival to the "Terrible Triad" of classes from Trimester Two! The Terrible Triad is otherwise known as Head and Neck Gross Anatomy Lab, Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy. These classes more than any other, have convinced many students here at NUHS (including yours truly) that the insanity track, or the track that will complete the program in only 10 trimesters, is sometimes a bit much if other factors are involved in one's life such as a longer commute, family or even a part-time job. 

One's preferred schedule here at NUHS can be as individually tailored as the person taking the classes. As with any endeavor in life, the choices boil down to the factors of time and money. How much time can you devote to your classes, both individually and throughout the program as a whole? Also, how much money do you have to be either employed part-time while attending classes on a lighter schedule (though still difficult, just fewer classes per trimester) or "self employed" as a Naturopathic Medical Student. 

Speaking of time and money, an old dear friend (back in my Joe Six Pack days) used to lecture me on spending money on being healthy now by exercising and eating properly or spending money later on maintaining health with prescriptions, surgeries, etc. Let's just say I was driving hell-bent on the road to either a stroke or a heart attack in my mid 30's.  

I did a pretty good job of getting healthier through learning, utilizing and pursuing a career in Naturopathic Medicine. Once I entered med school, however, my schedule became super full. I was poor at managing personal and school time separately, and health slowly began to waver, then wane--not terribly, but enough to cause concern to me through a tightening waist on my pants and a truly striking lack of energy on a daily basis.

(L-R) Steve Occhetti, David Popovic and the Panther Fan

Enter Trimester 7, a renewed focus on balance between school, health and Vitamin R (one of the Determinants of, relaxation, rejuvenation). Combine the new focus with Steve Occhetti and Dave Popovic, who are true motivators! These guys, nearly 20 years my junior, and both of whom are excellent athletes, invited the "wily veteran" to join them with their workouts. Now then, any person who is halfway motivated to improve their health, increase energy and enjoy some laughs and groans at the jokes shared could not pass up this opportunity! 

So, you guessed it, I made time in my schedule despite this load of classes, patient simulations, clinic observation and homework (and exams...yarrrr) to ensure that I give my physiological person the same opportunity to grow that I have given my intellectual person (I use that term loosely) while here at med school. Only one facet left--my spiritual person through personal reflection, centering and calming. I'm still working on that one a bit, yet I guess we all are to one degree or another. 

I'll be sure to keep all of you updated on the happenings of the Naturopathic Student Gathering as well as my efforts at improvement in my personal triad (intellectual, physical and spiritual...or mind, body, spirit) as well! 

Now, time for some homework, then the Tri Mixer this coming Friday where we "seasoned" students welcome our new colleagues to NUHS over food, drinks and great stories! I'm grateful that our student population is open and welcoming to our new students each trimester despite their hectic schedules. I feel that is but one of the facets that make our student population incredible! 

See you next week!

Physical Diagnosis and Tri Games

Hi Everybody! The wheels are starting to churn this trimester! We had two cases due, another midterm in Physical Diagnosis class, as well as helping to make some Chinese Angelica (Angelica sinensis) salve in our botanicals class this week. The week was capped off with Tri Games and my trimester, Trimester 6, finished in second place out of 8 teams. More about that in a moment, though. 

I'll highlight Physical Diagnosis this week. Physical Diagnosis is the culmination of evaluation classes beginning in Trimester 2 all the way up through Trimester 5. In the evaluation classes, we combine patient intake skills such as taking vitals, heart and lung exams and neurology exams with physical medicine. The physical medicine part includes musculoskeletal adjustment and soft tissue work. When we reach Trimester 6, we put all of the pieces together in one huge class that is 8 credit hours. We spend 10 hours per week (6 in the classroom, 4 in the lab) rehashing each system of the body along with how to inspect, evaluate and determine if something is going wrong. We apply pathologies that can impact that system or group of systems as we go. To top everything off, we spend time learning these systems through 'hands on' training.

This is a vast amount of time and information, so we have alternating written exams and lab practicals every 5 weeks. These combined exams will culminate in finals week with an hour-long lab practical and two-hour written comprehensive exam. Needless to say, I have been spending quite a bit of time on 'Phys DX'! This is a fun class with many of our clinical professors lending a hand on various subjects. In my opinion, it's a great way to learn from each subject matter expert as we learn of their specialty!

Tri Games 

Now!  About Tri Games! Tri Games is a competition held three times a year at the Lombard campus. Each of the trimesters (1 through 7, and 8,9,10 combined) competes with each other in a team sport. This spring, co-ed flag football was the game!


After classes last Friday, everyone packed up a cool beverage, donned their trimester's color (Tri 6 was red) and readied themselves to defend their trimester's honor on the gridiron--well, the field in front of Lincoln apartments. The favorite is usually the clinic team (students from trimesters 8, 9, and 10) as they have the opportunity to combine forces.

Although Trimester 6 (ahem) put up a great fight after battling through the ranks to make the Championship Game, the "Mighty Swans" of trimesters 8, 9, and 10 were able to barely "squeak by" with a 30-point victory. Even though we were a little bummed at coming in second, we joined our classmates after the game and listened to some tunes from the DJ on the basketball court. A great time! Plus, we'll take the win at the next Tri Games this fall when we are Trimester 7!

This week I'm thankful that my classmates/teammates would let the "wily veteran" come out of retirement to join them on the field! What a great feeling to be welcomed by one's classmates on the sports field, even though a "step may have been lost" somewhere in the past 15 years. The inclusive nature of the student body of NUHS is defined in young, recently graduated college athletes turned naturopathic/chiropractic med students welcoming a middle-aged naturopathic med student to represent our trimester in an athletic competition! Time to hit the practice field and be ready for kickball in the fall!

Until next week!