National College of Natural Medicine to Break Ground for New Clinic

R&H Construction Gets Contract for Campus Expansion in North Macadam Area

Marilynn Considine

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 24, 2009)—National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) announced today that it has signed R&H Construction for a proposed renovation of property the college purchased for its new integrated medical clinic. Work on the new clinic site is slated to begin immediately.

NCNM is located near the South Waterfront in an urban renewal area that the Portland Development Commission refers to as “the Educational Triangle,” between OHSU and Portland State University. The campus expansion will consolidate the school’s naturopathic and Chinese medicine teaching clinics, presently located some distance from the campus. Property demolition and reconstruction are estimated to be completed in August 2009. Both clinics are anticipated to be relocated and fully operational by early September.

R&H Construction’s award-winning portfolio includes non-profit and medical facilities, among them: Dove Lewis Animal Hospital; the Oregon Ballet Theater; the Rose Quarter’s Rebound Sports Medicine Clinic; and the Rebuilding Center.

“We’re delighted to have R&H partner with us on this exciting new project. R&H is widely respected for its innovative design and its sustainability and green-building practices,” said Dr. David J. Schleich, NCNM president. “As North America’s premiere college of natural medicine, NCNM teaches preventive health care through healthy living. Having a teaching clinic that embodies ecological design concepts is the perfect symmetry of form and function,” Schleich added.

Schleich said that while the national economic downturn initially slowed the project’s progress, decreasing building material prices allow the non-profit medical school to self-finance the project. “The one upside to the declining economy is that we’re realizing cost savings that otherwise would not have been available. This unexpected benefit allows us to relocate both of our teaching clinics a few weeks apart rather than in stages as originally planned and with much less disruption for our interns, staff and patients,” Schleich said.

Schleich said that there is a rising need for the kind of care provided in NCNM’s clinic. The health care safety net is being stretched to accommodate increasing numbers of uninsured adults and children. “The need for low-cost medical treatment is increasing,” he added. “NCNM continues to step into the breech to meet the rising health care needs of our community by providing high-quality, low-cost, medical care.”

Noting the improvements the new space will bring to the clinic experience, Dr. Schleich said, “The new clinic will provide easier access and convenience for faculty and students who now commute to our two teaching clinics, which are the core of the NCNM educational experience. Our patients will enjoy a much more spacious and comfortable environment with ample parking and access to mass transit.”

In addition to the new clinic, the newly acquired properties will be home to the proposed Min Zidell healing garden, and the college has plans to provide community seminar space and more in the next few years. Schleich notes that NCNM wants the expanded campus with its new clinic to become a neighborhood community resource. “We’re thrilled, too, that our neighborhood association is welcoming the new clinic,” he said. “They have recommended many community-based health projects that we believe can easily be developed within our new facility.”

Schleich noted that the new clinic is the first part of a multi-phased growth plan for the school. “Current and future growth projections address space and facility requirements for an ever-increasing numbers of patients, students, faculty and administrative staff. NCNM has seen a robust period of growth and expansion since 1996, when we began to establish our footprint in this area with the move of our main campus and with last year’s purchase of our administration and research building on Naito Parkway,” Schleich said.

Schleich noted that NCNM, a private, nonprofit educational institution, has launched “Right Time. Right Place,” a vigorous fundraising campaign to help raise money for the necessary expansion. “We continue to be extremely grateful to our supportive program partners and donors, without whose help none of this would be possible,” he said. “They understand that natural medicine is increasingly seen as an essential element within the wider national health reform movement under way and can help address the challenges posed by a dearth of family practitioners and primary care professionals in the U.S. in the coming years.”

ABOUT NCNM: Founded in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America. A nonprofit college of natural medicine, NCNM offers four-year graduate medical degree programs in Naturopathic Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine. Its teaching clinics offer free and low-cost medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area and treat more than 40,000 patients per year. NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute is a nonprofit research institute that conducts rigorous independent research to advance the science of natural medicine in order to improve clinical practice. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.