News Briefs: University Status, New Chinese Medicine Doctorate, $3 Million in NIH Grants

Students: Where do they come from? Top four states.

With NCNM continuing to grow on every front, the news has been fast and furious the last few months. This spring, the college awarded degrees to 167 students, its largest class ever. Enrollment is also its highest ever, at 635 students. Also, in October NCNM received approval from accreditors to become a university. Much remains to be done before the school makes that transition, including settling on a new name. The announcement came on the heels of approval and formation of a new School of Undergraduate & Part-Time Studies earlier this year, with classes to begin in fall 2016.

The Big News in the School of Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) was approval of a different sort: After several years of diligent work, Dean Laurie Regan heard in April that a new four-year Doctor of Science in Oriental Medicine program had been approved. The new program, which began this fall, continues the scholar-practitioner model with a focus on the roots of ancient Chinese medicine, the hallmark of the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program. Doctoral students will dive deeper into the ancient texts as the basis of training in acupuncture and herbal medicine, but with additional focus on integration with modern biomedicine. Speaking of China, faculty members Brenda Hood, PhD, LAc; Brandt Stickley, LAc; and nine students visited Shanghai in August for 15 days of classes in acupuncture, herbal medicine and pulse-taking at the clinic of Dr. Li Xin, the noted Chinese medicine practitioner, consultant and teacher. Dr. Li visited NCNM earlier in the year as part of CCM’s continuing effort to forge ties with Chinese medical practitioners and teachers.

Evidence-Based Research is always a hot topic in natural medicine, with funding historically tight. NCNM’s School of Research & Graduate Studies and its Helfgott Research Institute are certainly paving the way to attract support for our students. Ongoing studies of diabetes, cancer, gastrointestinal issues, pain and nutrition, to name a few, are underway. Work at the school got a huge boost in June with the award of more than $3 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. The two five-year complementary and integrative health grants will support studies involving mindfulness-based stress reduction for people with multiple sclerosis, and clinical research training for naturopathic doctors and Chinese medicine practitioners, as well as training in naturopathic and Chinese medicine modalities for conventional medicine researchers. ncnm-helfgott.ncnm.edu/ study-participation-opportunities

Sara Gillham, ND (’11)

Zoom+ Stocks up on NCNM Grads: The fall 2013 issue of NEXUS reported that alumna Sara Gillham, ND (’11), had become the first naturopathic physician hired by the growing storefront urgent care company. Dr. Gillham has since been promoted to product development manager, and the company, which changed its name to Zoom+, has hired 11 NCNM graduates in the last year to bolster its natural medicine offerings.

AANP Awards: NCNM President David Schleich, PhD, was named “AANP 2015 Champion of Naturopathic Medicine,” at the recent American Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference for “changing the landscape of health care through his championship of naturopathic medicine.” In addition, Tabatha Parker, ND (’04), cofounder of Natural Doctors International, was named “2015 AANP Physician of the Year,” for her leadership and individual achievement during the course of her career.

Willamette Week’s recent readers’ poll “Best of Portland,” recognized a group of NCNM grads. Suzanne Scopes, ND (’85), was voted the “Best Naturopath” in Portland, citing her volunteer work at Outside In. Runner-up was NCNM Adjunct Satya Ambrose, ND (’89), of Bloom Natural Healthcare, with Bloom practitioners Ashley Haywood, ND, MSOM (’06), and Molly O’Neill, ND, MSOM (’06), both receiving Honorable Mentions. Melissa Berry, ND (’08), owner of Missionary Chocolates, received an honorable mention for “Best Chocolatier in Portland.”

Lawsuit Demands Parity: Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a clause that outlaws discrimination against natural medicine primary care providers and other state-licensed “alternative” care providers, some insurance companies have been slow to comply. Fed up with the delay, the American Chiropractic Association is suing major carriers. Meanwhile, in July, the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OANP) filed a class action lawsuit against Health Net and its health plan administrator, American Specialty Health Group Inc., alleging insurance discrimination against naturopathic patients. The OANP was also instrumental in passage of a state anti-discrimination measure by the Oregon Legislature, the first by any state. The new law codifies the concept that all licensed primary care providers in Oregon should be treated and reimbursed equally. The legislation is intended to protect natural medicine primary care providers in the event the ACA is watered down or repealed.

Orange is for MSOM: Each year, the NCNM Library accepts and files student theses from the graduating class. Among the ever-accumulating natural medicine scholarship are this year’s Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) theses, designated by a bright orange cover. Students print out their work, which is bound by the Trappist Abbey Book Bindery in Carlton, Oregon. In addition to the physical availability, NCNM librarians create a record for each thesis on WorldCat, a worldwide online library resource.