NUNM President David Schleich Announces Plans to Retire

PORTLAND, Oregon (Sept. 6, 2018) — National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) President David J. Schleich, PhD, has announced his plans to retire July 1, 2019. During his tenure, NUNM has undergone a period of growth and transformational change, becoming one of the nation’s foremost leaders in integrative natural medicine education, clinical care and research.

The NUNM Board of Directors announced that a search is underway for his successor. It is anticipated that Schleich will assist the new president through the transition.

Appointed president of the institution in April 2007, Schleich took the helm of what was then National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), a medical school that offered two accredited postgraduate degrees—its flagship programs of naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine. Since then, he has presided over the roll-out of nine more degree programs—including three new undergraduate offerings that have created increased enrollment, while the school has achieved a worldwide reputation for excellence in natural medicine education and research. During Schleich’s tenure, NUNM’s Helfgott Research Institute has received more than $3.35 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

It was also under Schleich’s watch that the institution launched a campus master plan, built the school’s first on-campus health clinic, and opened a number of health clinics throughout the Portland metro area. Schleich also helped usher in NUNM’s first major donations for capital campaigns and other campus improvements, including those from locally known philanthropists Bob and Charlee Moore of Bob’s Red Mill, the Zidell family, and philanthropic foundations such as the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust and Meyer Memorial Trust.

In 2016, Schleich supervised the institution’s rebranding as National University of Natural Medicine to reflect its university status.

“David has been instrumental in guiding NUNM to prominence,” said NUNM Board of Directors Chair Willow Moore, DC, ND. “He was the perfect leader to propel our institution forward. He has a unique combination of skills and a deep breadth of knowledge that one can only hope to find in its academic leader—he is both an innovator and a scholar. But above all, David is a visionary. And he has been unrelenting in bringing his vision of a world-class university to fruition during his tenure. We will remain forever grateful for his unflagging dedication to NUNM, to the integration of the profession of natural medicine into the broader context of health care, and especially to the continuing success of our students and graduates.”

Moore noted that Schleich stepped into his role as president at a particularly tenuous time in the school’s history. “The legacy David will leave behind is particularly impressive when we remember that the school had just recently emerged from an extended period of difficulty prior to his appointment as president,” she said. The history of NUNM dates back to its founding in 1956 as National College of Naturopathic Medicine—a time when allopathic medicine assumed a primary role in the lives of Americans, supported by the increasing development of pharmaceutical medicine and innovations in healthcare technology. The decline of the naturopathic medicine profession had brought it teetering on the brink of extinction as naturopathic medical schools closed their doors throughout the country. NCNM was the sole hold-out. From its beginning, NCNM had a dedicated cadre of administrators and faculty who were gifted physicians, clinicians and teachers, but inexperienced as college administrators. NCNM had a tumultuous history marked by monetary mismanagement and hardship until the early 2000s when a seasoned college administrator, President Emeritus William J. Keppler, PhD, stabilized NCNM financially and began to turn the tide of fortune in NCNM’s favor. The small, private school was still largely unknown. When Keppler retired as NCNM president, he tapped the Canadian-born and bred Schleich as his successor.

A nationally recognized expert in the professional formation of natural medicine, Schleich joined the school after a distinguished career in higher education. Prior to joining NUNM, Schleich was president of Truestar Health in Toronto. Before that, he served as president and CEO of Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto. Prior to CCNM, he held a series of increasingly significant academic positions: academic vice president of Niagra College (Ontario); administrative and faculty positions at St. Lawrence College (Ontario), Swinburne University (Melbourne, Australia), and the University of Alberta (Canada). His academic career spans more than 40 years in elementary, secondary, college and university settings.

Schleich earned his PhD from the University of Toronto and a master’s from the University of Alberta. His doctoral studies focused on higher education, with a special interest in the regulatory and public policy frameworks that affect medical education.


  • Rebranded National College of Natural Medicine to National University of Natural Medicine
  • Increased program offerings from two post-graduate degrees to a total of 11, including three undergraduate degrees
  • Increased revenues from $14,900,877 in 2008 to $22,440,853 in 2017
  • Increased enrollment by 23%, from 507 in 2007 to 623 in 2017
  • Helfgott Research Institute has received a total of $3,092,898 in National Institutes of Health grants for evidence-based research in natural medicine since 2015, a record amount among natural medicine universities and colleges
  • NUNM has two state-credentialed Tier 4 Patient-Centered Primary Care Home clinics (Lair Hill Health Center and Beaverton Health Center) and eight community clinics; supervising physicians and their students provide care for roughly 30,0000 patient visits per year
  • In 2011, the City of Portland approved NUNM’s 2012-2022 Master Plan, a five-acre campus with five facilities and other properties
  • Purchased the institution’s administrative office building
  • Built the school’s first on-campus natural medicine teaching clinic, the Lair Hill Health Center
  • Opened the school’s second natural medicine clinic, the Beaverton Health Center
  • Secured funding to create a dedicated lab and office space for Helfgott Research Institute, along with a teaching kitchen for nutrition students
  • Purchased an on-campus facility, Spaulding House, to house the university’s institutes for community-based education
  • Purchased Radelet Hall, a large lecture facility, on the northern-most edge of the campus
  • Created two teaching gardens on campus: Min Zidell Healing Garden and Min Chau Garden with donations from Portland’s Zidell family and Michael and Simone Chilton
  • NUNM has two state-credentialed Tier 4 Patient-Centered Primary Care Home clinics (Lair Hill Health Center and Beaverton Health Center) and eight community clinics; supervising physicians and their students provide care for roughly 30,0000 patient visits per year
  • Created NUNM Press in 2013 to publish literature dedicated to natural medicine and sustainability; the Press currently has 16 titles
  • Increased the school’s student endowment from $354,343 to $1,338,653
  • Increased the amount and number of student scholarships from $23,000 in 2010 to $315,500 in 2018.
  • A tireless advocate of licensure efforts throughout the United States, Schleich has appeared often before legislative bodies to give testimony in support of naturopathic education. Today, 20 states and three districts and U.S. territories have approved licensure for naturopathic physicians.

For information about the presidential search, please visit

About NUNM

Founded in 1956, NUNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America and the leader in natural medicine education and research. In addition to undergraduate degrees in health sciences, NUNM offers a number of doctoral and master’s degree programs in naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, nutrition, research, mental health, global health and Ayurveda. NUNM Institutes provide community education seminars, workshops and conferences; and NUNM Health Centers, the SIBO Center for Digestive Health, and NUNM’s affiliated Portland metro community clinics provide healthcare services to thousands of patients each year. Visit for more information.