Student Physicians Learn How to Become Part of U.S. Health Care Solution During Back-to-School Week

National College of Natural Medicine and The CHP Group send naturopathic students to Portland community centers to learn about affordable, accessible health care services.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 2, 2009)—As America struggles to reform its health care system, future physicians attending National College of Natural Medicine will start their first year of medical school by learning how they can become part of the solution as they visit several local nonprofit resource centers that provide critical community services. This day of community outreach is the focus of the third annual “Medicine on the Move” event to be held in Portland on Wednesday, Sept. 9, announced today by The National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) and event sponsor, The CHP Group, which provides high quality complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products, programs, and administrative support to ensure seamless access to appropriate care.

“I’m excited that NCNM students have the opportunity to visit these local community centers where we learn first-hand how we can make a difference as future naturopathic physicians and Chinese medicine practitioners,” said Sasha Margitic, a second-year student of classical Chinese medicine who is helping coordinate the event. “By helping introduce future natural health care practitioners to a more comprehensive approach to illness prevention and patient treatment, I feel I’ll be making a contribution toward the health care solution more Americans need.”

During back-to-school week, NCNM’s graduating class of 2013 will be commissioned with exploring the racial and socioeconomic inequalities within the health care system, and establishing relationships to find long-term volunteer opportunities within the Portland community. The Portland nonprofit resource centers the students will visit include Cascade AIDS, Dignity Village, Doernbecher Children’s Safety Center, Hooper Detox Center, Legacy Hopewell House Hospice, Mercy and Wisdom Healing Center, Oregon Food Bank and Yellow Brick Road Street Outreach.

“NCNM’s goal is to educate and clinically train generations of physicians and classical Chinese medicine practitioners who will help provide affordable, accessible health care services within their local communities,” said NCNM President Dr. David J. Schleich, PhD. “We’re very pleased to have The CHP Group as the sole sponsor for this important first step in our students’ education. I look forward to seeing more companies that work within the insurance industry follow The CHP Group’s lead by lending their resources toward the training of future naturopathic physicians.”

Naturopathic physicians from accredited medical schools like NCNM are qualified to act as primary care physicians under U.S. health care regulations, enabling them to help fill the critical shortage of primary care physicians, as more and more conventional doctors leaving medical school turn to medical specialties in order to repay steep student loans. One of the key issues the U.S. government faces as it seeks to find a solution to the health care crisis is how to revitalize primary care.

“Naturopathic physicians can and should play an important role in contributing toward a better U.S. health care system,” said Pamella J. Marchand, CEO of The CHP Group. “As the only provider-founded and provider-focused CAM network, we are committed to supporting a more integrated system that embraces complementary health care options in a more inclusive manner. NCNM contributes significantly toward that goal as it trains future naturopathic physicians and classical Chinese practitioners.”

At an April town hall meeting in Arnold, Missouri, President Barack Obama expressed his openness to including CAM modalities in a U.S. health care system. According to a number of studies, CAM is growing in popularity: The World Health Organization estimates that between 65 to 80 percent of the world’s population (about 3 billion people) rely on holistic medicine as their primary form of health care. Approximately 38 percent of US adults use some form of CAM for health and wellness, or to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, according to data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. Americans spent almost $40 billion out-of-pocket on CAM in 2008, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Founded in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America and a leader in natural medicine. NCNM offers four-year graduate medical degree programs in Naturopathic Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine. NCNM Clinic and its associated community-area clinics offer free and low-cost medical care throughout the Portland area, treating more than 40,000 patients annually. NCNM’s nonprofit Helfgott Research Institute 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.

Since 1989 The CHP Group has been a complementary and alternative health care partner to health plans, employers, and providers. Based in Beaverton, Ore., the company designs, implements and manages flexible, cost-effective complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products and programs with a level of clinical knowledge and business expertise that creates seamless access to high quality, effective, and affordable care. The CHP Group’s growing network of fully credentialed CAM providers includes: chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopathic physicians, and massage therapists. For more information:

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