About NUNM

History of NUNM

National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) is the oldest programmatically accredited naturopathic medical school in North America. NUNM had its beginnings in the early 1950s, in response to the termination of the naturopathic program at Western States Chiropractic College. Members of the profession from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia planned the founding of the university and in May 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Drs. Charles Stone, W. Martin Bleything and Frank Spaulding executed the Articles of Incorporation of National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

NUNM was founded as a college of naturopathic medicine, which draws from the healing wisdom of many cultures. Since its founding, NUNM has sought to preserve and convey the classical modalities of naturopathy and honor the principles that guide naturopathic care:

  • The healing power of nature
  • Treat the whole person
  • First do no harm
  • Identify and treat the cause
  • Prevention is the best cure
  • Doctor as teacher

In the fall of 1992, the university began plans for the development of a curriculum that would emphasize the holistic spirit of the classical teachings of Oriental medicine. Permission to offer a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) degree was granted in June of 1998, and the first MSOM class was graduated that month. Permission to offer a Master of Acupuncture degree was granted in 2008, and the first class started in fall 2008.

During its earlier years, NUNM went through several location changes in the Northwest until the late 1970s, when Portland was selected as its permanent home. The first physical location owned by the university was the Market Street campus in southeast Portland, housing both clinical and academic education.

By 1995, the university had outgrown the Market Street campus and had begun negotiations to purchase the current location near downtown Portland, at the west end of the Ross Island Bridge. Academic education was relocated to this campus (the Academic Building is the former Josiah Failing Elementary School building) in September 1996, and clinical education was housed in two clinics (Natural Health Center and the Pettygrove Clinic) several minutes from the main campus. In 2009, these clinics were consolidated into one location on campus, and named NUNM Health Centers. Our Lair Hill Health Center is a Tier 4 Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH)―a top-level certification from the state of Oregon in recognition of clinical excellence in care. Our robust network of community clinics includes more than 10 locations in the Portland metro area.

NUNM’s faculty include some of the nation’s most respected authors and spokespersons in the fields of naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine. NUNM consistently appears in peer-reviewed journals, other notable publications, and at national and international conferences.

The university is alma mater to more than 2,400 alumni who practice in nearly every state and Canadian province, as well as in many foreign countries. Over 50 percent of the licensed naturopathic physicians practicing in the United States are graduates of NUNM.

In July 2006, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, NUNM announced a change in name from National College of Naturopathic Medicine to National College of Natural Medicine; honoring its two core programs in naturopathic and Chinese medicine and to be inclusive of any future offerings. In June 2016, the institution changed its status and name to National University of Natural Medicine to reflect its new academic status as a university with the addition of undergraduate degree programs.