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 the 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 the university’s 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 began negotiations to purchase the current location in downtown Portland. Academic education was relocated to 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, the NUNM Health Centers. Our tier 4 patient-centered primary care home program (PCPCH) status Health Centers are now even more robust, with 11 locations through the Portland metroplex 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 over 2,300 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 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, to be reflective of its two core programs and inclusive of any future offerings. In 2016, NUNM announced a change to university status and a new name: National University of Natural Medicine.
In 2017, NUNM’s Helfgott Research Institute was the recipient of the largest amount of funding given to a natural medicine school in the state of Oregon by the National Institutes of Health Grants (NIH).
The university now offers 11 programs including naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, nutrition, integrative medicine research, global health, Ayurveda, integrative mental health, integrative health sciences, and integrative therapeutics.