A Loss to the NCNM Community: Dr. David Howard

PORTLAND, Ore (March 2, 2016)–It is with profound sadness that we share the news of the sudden passing of David Howard, PhD, a member of the faculty of the School of Research & Graduate Studies, an empathetic and beloved student mentor, a wise teacher, an inveterate aficionado of the arts, a practitioner of loving kindness, a caring friend and father.

We learned Tuesday morning that David died in his sleep Monday night or Tuesday morning. He made significant contributions in his short tenure at NCNM; he joined the SORGS faculty in 2014. In addition to his teaching and mentoring, David had most recently been working on the development of a potential Master of Science in Expressive Arts degree. He had been in discussions with the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Multnomah College regarding the curriculum design and implementation of, respectively, art therapy and music therapy.

This term David taught two classes in the Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research program: mind/body medicine and journal club. With just a week left of the term, Morgan Shafer, chair of the MSiMR program, will step in to help David’s students complete their studies. David had been looking forward to teaching “Intro to Recreational Therapy” course in spring term, his specialty. That course will now be rolled out later this year.

David served as a mentor for several SORGS students, a role for which he was especially suited due to his empathetic nature and consideration. He was especially thoughtful in helping address each student’s individual needs. Dr. Andy Erlandsen, chair of the MScN program, will now assist David’s current mentoring students.

But David also believed in team building, whether the team consisted of his students or his colleagues. The SORGS faculty all looked forward to David’s monthly Happy Hour excursions. It was a time for us to wind down together, share laughter and stories.

David came to NCNM from Charleston, West Virginia, where he taught at West Virginia State University and practiced social work at Charlestown Area Medical Center. His clinical experience included work in mental health and substance abuse, in both prisons and hospitals. He loved natural and integrative medicine and had been involved with it prior to NCNM. In Portland, he founded and helped advance the Portland Healing Arts Collaborative, and was a volunteer for Union Gospel Mission. He also loved the arts scene in Portland. He told us that that the entire month of February offered him no end of delight because he could watch film screenings every day during the international film festival.

David leaves behind a family, including two daughters and four sons, and many friends, students, and associates who will miss him. Counseling services are available for students; please call 503.552.1780. We will share information about a memorial for in the coming week, as plans develop.