Yesterday, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) awarded four “Scholars for a Healthy Oregon-Naturopathic Physicians Opportunities” (SHONPO) scholarships at a reception held for NUNM student award winners. Congratulations to naturopathic doctoral students Kelsey Barnett, Drea Bustamante, Maya Rios, and LaKota Scott. This year the OHA is providing educational funding of $112,000 to be split among the four students in return for their commitment to provide primary care services to Oregon’s underserved communities after graduation. On hand to celebrate their outstanding achievement were NUNM board members Patti Kramer and Anupam Narayan; NUNM President David Schleich; Provost Glenn Smith; Dr. Carrie Baldwin-Sayre, associate dean of clinical education (and president of the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians), and senior officials from the Oregon Health Authority.
Hosting the event was Director of Career Services, Tafflyn Williams-Thomas, who toasted the four students by noting that there were a number of outstanding applications for this first round of SHONPO scholarships, so selection of the finalists was difficult. “But the four inaugural SHONPO recipients were remarkable in their vision and commitment to providing naturopathic medicine to underserved communities.”
In his remarks, Dr. Schleich observed how far naturopathic medicine has progressed just in the past 10 years due to the efforts of many people, particularly due to the efforts of the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians. He said that the SHONPO scholarships and the increasing level of recognition by the State of Oregon for naturopathic medicine, “couldn’t have happened without the powerful collaboration created by many people—all for the benefit of the patients who will have improved access to care.” OHA’s Director of Oregon’s Primary Care Office, Marc Overbeck, agreed, saying, “We’ve heard from many naturopathic doctors – how hard they have fought for inclusion over the years. For us at the Oregon Health Authority…naturopathic doctors should be included. Victor Hugo once said, ‘There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.’ Now we have a graduate of NUNM, Dr. Jeff Clark, who is the chair of OHA’s Healthcare Workforce Committee. This is an idea whose time has come. This is the year for naturopathic doctors to take their rightful place in serving the patients who need them. Thank you to the four awardees for blazing the trail for future naturopathic doctors in Oregon.”