National College of Natural Medicine

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National College of Natural Medicine
Former names
National College of Naturopathic Medicine
Motto The profession's college since 1956
Established 1956
President David J. Schleich
Provost Andrea Smith
Dean ND: Melanie Henriksen; CCM: Laurie Regan; Research: Heather Zwickey
Students 553
Location Portland, Oregon, United States
45°30′06″N 122°40′36″W / 45.5016°N 122.6767°W / 45.5016; -122.6767
Nickname National, NCNM
Mascot Phoenix
Affiliations American Association of Naturopathic Physicians; Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges

National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) is a school of naturopathic medicine and Classical Chinese medicine located in Portland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1956, it is the oldest programmatically of the seven Council on Naturopathic Medical Education accredited naturopathic programs in North America. Until July 1, 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. The school has approximately 553 students.[1]

NCNM's programs are controversial for teaching subjects that are considered pseudoscience and quackery by the scientific and medical communities.[2][3]

Academic programs[edit]

Students on campus

NCNM has three schools: The School of Naturopathic Medicine, the School of Classical Chinese medicine and the School of Research and Graduate Studies. It offers four professional graduate degree programs: The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND), Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research (MSiMR), Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM), and Master of Acupuncture (MAc). These programs include preparation and clinical practice in Holism.[4][5]

The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine is a four-year program that trains students to become primary care physicians with an expertise in natural medicine, while preparing graduates to sit for board examinations in states and provinces that license naturopathic physicians.[citation needed][dubious ]

The School of Research and Graduate Studies offers a two-year Master of Science in Integrative Medical Research (MSiMR), a program for students interested in complementary and alternative medicine. The Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) program is a four-year program in the classical foundations of Chinese medicine. Students receive training in herbalism, acupuncture, moxibustion, Asian bodywork, qigong and nutrition. The Master of Acupuncture (MAc) is a three-year program focusing on classical acupuncture and moxibustion, and providing a shorter course of study, with less theory and herbal instruction. Beginning in summer 2014, the School of Research and graduate Studies will also offer a one-year Master of Science in Nutrition (MScN), a program that will focus on diets based on whole, unprocessed foods, offering training in cooking, teaching and nutrition counseling.

NCNM is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education and the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

NCNM Clinic[edit]

The NCNM Clinic (pictured in 2009) is the primary teaching clinic of National College of Natural Medicine.

The NCNM Clinic is a teaching clinic where licensed naturopathic doctors and acupuncturists work with and train students. It is owned and managed by the college. The clinic features a medicinary, private offices, conference rooms and a state-licensed laboratory.

The college also has a community clinic, in conjunction with other agencies and as a member of the Coalition of Community Clinics,[6] which offers low-cost naturopathic care and acupuncture in the Portland metropolitan area.[7] In 2013, the NCNM Community Clinics provided services to more than 40,000 patients.[8]


Students on campus

National College of Natural Medicine is the oldest programmatically accredited naturopathic medical school in North America. NCNM began in the early 1950s, in response to the termination of the naturopathic program at Western States Chiropractic College. Members of the profession from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia planned the founding of the College and in May 1956, Charles Stone, W. Martin Bleything and Frank Spaulding executed the Articles of Incorporation of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

NCNM opened other satellite campus locations in Seattle and Kansas. NCNM's board of trustees and college administration (including John Bastyr, Joe Boucher, Robert Fleming, Gerald Farnsworth, Joe Pizzorno and Bruce Canvasser) decided to unify all of its campus locations in Portland. The first physical location owned by the college was the Market Street campus in southeast Portland.

By 1995, the college began negotiations to purchase its current location in downtown Portland. Classes were relocated to this campus in September 1996 and clinical education was housed in two clinics (Natural Health Center and the Pettygrove Clinic). The historic building that has served as NCNM's main campus since 1996 was built in 1912 as an elementary school named Failing School (in honor of former mayor Josiah Failing) and from 1961 until the 1990s was a Portland Community College campus.[9] In 2009, these clinics were consolidated into one location on campus, the NCNM Clinic.

In July 2006, NCNM changed its name to National College of Natural Medicine.

In the fall of 1992, the college began plans for the development of a curriculum for Oriental medicine. Permission to offer a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) degree was granted in June 1998, and the first MSOM class graduated that month. Permission to offer the Master of Acupuncture degree was granted in 2008, and the first class started in fall 2008.

The college has more than 2,500 alumni. Approximately 50% of the licensed naturopathic physicians practicing in the United States are graduates of NCNM.[citation needed]

History of the building[edit]

Failing School sign still in place on the roofline of NCNM's main building

NCNM's main building was constructed in 1912 as an elementary school in the Portland Public Schools system, named Failing School, for former mayor Josiah Failing. It was a replacement for an 1883-built wooden school building with that name, located about two blocks away,[10] which was torn down in 1922.[9] The NCNM building was designed by Whitehouse & Fouilhoux,[11] the architectural firm of Morris H. Whitehouse and Jacques Fouilhoux. A distinctive feature is the sundial, instead of a traditional clock, adorning the south façade near the roof.[12]

Failing School closed in spring 1959,[10] and the building was used by Portland public schools for a vocational training program for graduates beginning in fall 1959. In 1961, this program was renamed Portland Community College and the building was renamed the Adult Education Center.[13] The building was extensively renovated in 1964 for expansion of PCC's vocational programs.[12] In 1971, the building was sold to Portland Community College,[14] and it was later renamed the Ross Island Center.[9]

In June 1996, Bill Naito's company, H. Naito Corporation, purchased the building, with tentative plans to convert it into condominiums. Bill Naito said that part of his motivation was to save the historic structure.[14] Naito died suddenly in May 1996, and the plans to convert the building were dropped. A few months later, in September 1996, the Naito Corp. sold the building to the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.[14]


Further information: Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Pseudoscience

The naturopathic curriculum has been criticized for teaching pseudoscience and quackery, as courses in homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, and other alternative treatments without a solid evidence basis are taught as "primary care medicine."[3][2] Research conducted at NCNM has been called a waste of limited research funds, as taxpayer dollars granted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are used to support research on treatments that have little to no promise of producing positive results, like homeopathy, magnetism, and moxibustion.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frank, Ryan (October 1, 2008). "Natural medicine school expands Portland campus". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  2. ^ a b Atwood, Kimball C., IV (2003). "Naturopathy: A critical appraisal". Medscape General Medicine 5 (4): 39. PMID 14745386. (registration required)
  3. ^ a b Barrett, Stephen (November 26, 2013). "A close look at naturopathy". QuackWatch. Retrieved 2015-03-21. 
  4. ^ ACAOM - Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Professionals . . . Print ver
  5. ^ Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
  6. ^ National College of Natural Medicine Community Clinics - Coalition of Community Health Clinics
  7. ^ The Coalition of Community Health Clinics - Portland, Oregon
  8. ^ Portland Business Journal - Natural Medical School Expansion
  9. ^ a b c Terry, John (September 16, 2007). "Oregon's Trails: J. Failing was a force in success of schools". The Sunday Oregonian. p. B4. 
  10. ^ a b "Closure Due Failing School Because of Enrollment Loss, Isolation". The Oregonian. May 28, 1959. Section 2, p. 7. 
  11. ^ "Fine School Rises: New Failing Grammar Schoolhouse to Be Modern in All Details". The Oregonian. July 28, 1912. Section 4, p. 8. 
  12. ^ a b Guernsey, John (September 6, 1964). "Portland Community College Nearly Ready For Opener: Shattuck, Failing Reconditioned". The Sunday Oregonian. p. F3. 
  13. ^ Wentworth, Eric (April 17, 1961). "Engineer Aide Plan Seen As Forerunner To New College". The Oregonian. p. 12. 
  14. ^ a b c Mayes, Steve (October 4, 1996). "Bill Naito's last deal ends up being money-maker for heirs". The Oregonian. p. C1. 
  15. ^ Mielczarek, Eugenie V.; Engler, Brian D. (2014). "Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer 38.3. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 

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