PORTLAND, Ore. (July 29, 2013) —National College of Natural Medicine today announced the appointment of Regina Dehen, ND, LAc, as chief medical officer (CMO) of its clinical operations at NCNM Clinic and its 17 community teaching clinics throughout the Portland metro area. As the college’s leading medical authority, Dehen will ensure NCNM’s clinical compliance with all state and federal medical policies, regulations and clinical performance standards, as well as the standards and requirements issued by national and regional accrediting bodies.
Before joining NCNM, Dehen had been chair of clinical education at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). As a clinician, a medical educator and researcher, Dehen has long been dedicated to improving clinical outcomes for patients. In April, Dehen was appointed to the Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Options Advisory Panel of the national Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, authorized by Congress to develop and improve the science and methods of patient-centered outcomes research.
Previously at NCNM, the role of chief medical officer was jointly held by two faculty members in the naturopathic and the Chinese medicine programs, each sharing oversight for their respective fields of medicine in separate facilities near the campus. NCNM Clinic consolidated both naturopathic and Chinese medicine into one campus facility in 2009.
NCNM Dean of Clinical Operations, Dr. Jill Sanders, believes that Dehen’s experience will be a valuable asset to NCNM clinics. “Dr. Dehen is very experienced in setting and assessing standards of care. The fact that she is licensed in both naturopathic and Chinese medicine will greatly streamline the peer review of practitioners in our integrative clinics. I’m confident in her ability to oversee our clinical settings to ensure safety standards and high-quality health care outcomes for our patients,” Sanders said.
Sanders notes that due to the shortage of conventional primary care physicians and the high-cost of healthcare, many patients now wait until they’re chronically ill before they seek care. At the same time, she adds, many more Oregonians are discovering that naturopathic doctors are trained and licensed as primary care physicians—and are turning to natural medicine clinics, like NCNM’s, for help.
“In the past several years, we’ve seen a growing number of patients who arrive in our clinic requiring care for very serious conditions. Many of these patients simply didn’t have access to a primary care physician until they came to our clinics,” Sanders explains.
Sanders notes that the increase of more seriously ill patients places a higher burden of risk on clinic administrators to ensure patient safety and the chief medical officer’s leadership is a critical component to any clinic’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Dehen returns to NCNM, where she graduated in 1996 with a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree. She completed a naturopathic residency at the Portland Naturopathic Clinic and the Natural Childbirth and Family Clinic. She earned a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree in 1995 from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). In 1987, Dehen was awarded a National Institutes of Health research fellowship grant, which led to an appointment as a research associate at the Oregon Health & Science University.
Founded in Portland in 1956, NCNM is the oldest naturopathic medical school in North America and an educational leader in classical Chinese medicine and CAM research. NCNM offers three accredited four-year graduate medical degree programs in naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, as well as a Master of Science degree in Integrative Medicine Research and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition. Its community clinics provide low-cost medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area. In addition to the campus-based NCNM Clinic, NCNM practitioners attend to approximately 40,000 patient visits per year. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. The name change reflects the diversity of the college’s programmatic degree offerings.