Message From the President
A Rotating Column From the Presidents of Naturopathic Medical Colleges
Daniel K. Church, PhD
Bastyr University President
In the past 35 years, the world of natural medicine has undergone a positive transformation, escaping relative anonymity, save for a few early converts and emerging into the mainstream as a viable source of healing. While it may have felt like a long time in coming for some, the changes we have seen in our field have actually happened relatively quickly. The same can be said about Bastyr University’s expansion the past three and a half decades. As we celebrate our institution’s 35th anniversary, I look in wonder at all we have achieved, in such a short amount of time. However, it is where we are headed that has me most enthusiastic.
A Global View on Natural Health
As the world becomes smaller and communities diversify, it is clear that today’s licensed healthcare practitioners must be prepared to provide culturally appropriate care to patients. Bastyr University’s clinical training model is designed to help students deliver culturally competent clinical care. Yet in this increasingly globalized world, we also recognize the inherent value of many healing traditions from around the world. Today’s providers should be open to drawing from a wide array of proven practices to provide patients with truly effective whole-person healthcare. That is why Bastyr University has decided to establish a new School of Traditional World Medicines.
Initially, the School of Traditional World Medicines will be home to Bastyr University’s Department of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a new Master of Science in Ayurvedic Sciences program that will begin in Fall 2013. As different world medicines gain in popularity in America, Bastyr University is uniquely poised to teach a variety of respected, time-honored healing traditions. This first-of-its-kind school is the latest example of Bastyr University taking a bold and historic step toward advancing natural medicine, a landmark creation that will help expand our notions of how to attain wellness and prepare our students to deliver truly comprehensive health care.
Groundbreaking Ayurvedic Program
Bastyr’s Master of Science in Ayurvedic Sciences is the first accredited program of its kind in the United States and is geared toward currently practicing health professionals. Based on the 5,000-year-old medical traditions of India, Ayurveda (“the science of life”) is quickly gaining popularity in the United States and the need for skillful practitioners trained at accredited institutions is on the rise. The unique evening and weekend class format offers naturopathic physicians, allopathic physicians, and other licensed healthcare providers an opportunity to expand the tools in their therapeutic toolkit.
This new school and degree offering are just the latest trails Bastyr University is blazing. As I look at our friends, colleagues, and partners in the natural medicine community, I see that our institution’s growth parallels that of the field as a whole. We are all moving forward at a rapid pace, playing an increasingly important role in the health of our nation.
As such, we hope to be able to add more academic programs from diverse healing traditions in the future and relish the opportunity to be the pioneer in the next generation of natural medicine, just as we have been for the past 35 years.