I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from a prospective Naturopathic student who had found my website through a colleague. I was then contacted by another prospective CCNM student with more questions. Then I thought…. why not post my answers for others to read just by chance that they too are interested in making Naturopathic Medicine a future career.
So here are the questions and my responses.:
One question that I have is what modalities would you say CCNM does the best at teaching?
CCNM has some of the best Naturopathic professors/ practitioners, especially in Asian Med (Dr. Kassam), Homeopathy (Dr. Bakir), Psychology (Dr. Creech), Botanical Medicine (Dr. Saunders and Dr. Godfrey) and Nutrition (Dr. Rouchatos and Dr. Prousky).
What modalities do students there feel most competent in?
In terms of modalities, you will never know enough or ever stop learning. CCNM gives a very thorough understanding of how to use all the licenced Naturopathic modalities, but I personally feel the more important aspect is the primary care interactions with your patients. I feel our Primary Care Practicals really are where you learn to effectively extract relevant information and build rapport with the patient so that they are open to disclose all important information in order to properly diagnose the patient’s condition.
But to specifically answer your question, I would say Asian Medicine, Homeopathy, Psychology, Nutrition plus Botanical Medicine. However, each student has their own preferences. Typically, CCNM students do exceptionally well on the NPLEX board exams for the Traditional Chinese Medicine portion (5 element theory and acupuncture).
What has your overall experience been like?
I truly love CCNM and I believe your school experience will be what you put into it (where ever you go). I am very involved with the school being on the school counsel (NSA social rep), started and involved in various clubs, taking extra curricular classes that interest me and being involved with school events. These are the things outside of the classroom that keep me loving CCNM and ‘sane’. The school is definitely challenging and I think it is so valuable to get involved with other activities and maintain your enthusiasm.
What are your thoughts on the culture of the school and profs?
Let me start by saying that all schools/teachers have their biases in how they teach and which aspects they find important to highlight. Knowing this, there will be things about any school that you love and also things that you disagree with. It’s a process/ journey to get your doctorate. Overall, CCNM has incredible school moral (thanks to the student initiated NSA team). Being the social rep, I see all the hard work that fellow classmates take on voluntarily to create a positive and cohesive environment. I must say that all the profs are open and willing to listen to suggestions (given that they are constructive). The school really goes out of their way to implement the students’ feedback. That being said, it is YOUR experience. You can’t expect the profs or other classmates to start movements because you wrote a suggestion on a survey. For example, my classmates and I feel that we don’t receive a thorough education on Geriatric Health and so we started the CCNM Geri Care Club to bring information to fellow students and enroll them to get involved as leaders as well.
I have heard that CCNM’s philosophy is closer to ‘green allopathy’ rather than traditional naturopathy. I was just wondering what your thoughts are on this. Is it a valid statement? Is there a focus on nutraceuticals? Do you feel that it is reflected in how classes are taught? Is there a holistic approach of treating the whole person, or looking at symptoms/treating disease?I would say that our school is heavily based on science and research (including neutraceuticals). I think for any accredited medical school it has to be. That being said, we have amazing profs and TAs who do more traditional and energetic work in their lectures. Most of the classes use the traditional methods combined with current research to ensure the patient is getting the best treatment. It is also important that we, as doctors, can explain to our patients in modern english what and why we are choosing our treatments and unfortunately we live in a time where research is the gold standard. This is where ND’s can bridge the Eastern and Western philosophies.Please don’t misunderstand however, we are very much holistic and look at the whole person while diagnosing and treating. Every student will have their personal style and it is really up to you to decide how you want to practice. If you are more into crystals, body scans, Ayurveda, cranio-sacral, etc. you won’t get taught it in class, but you will be able to access it. Don’t think of Naturopathic School as the only place to learn. It is a base line to develop from and to have consistency among naturopaths (and also for board examinations. So, you will be taught the same information at any licensed ND school)It is also a place to get comfortable with emergent cases, where you will need to act as a ‘green allopath’ because it is what is best for the patient in the moment. That is not to say that you won’t follow up with other holistic treatment, but we are primary care doctors first and foremost! It would be negligent to disregard red flag symptoms and cause the patient further harm even if it isn’t the ‘root cause’.
I hope you took something away from my answers. If you also have questions I would love to help answer them or direct you to someone who can. Being a part-time, third year student and on the CCNM Naturopathic Students’ Association (NSA) I have a privileged perspective that not all students have while attending CCNM. Please contact me at AlisonChen.ND@gmail.com