College of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport is Strong and Growing

In 2011, the Connecticut-based College of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport (UBCNM) will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first graduating class.

By Alexis Lynn

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In 2011, the Connecticut-based College of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport (UBCNM) will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first graduating class. In the past decade, the school has seen its faculty and enrollment increase, and it continues to be a strong and growing natural medicine teaching facility.

Over the past 10 years the school has remained steadfast in the philosophy that guides its teaching and clinical training.

Over the past 10 years the school has remained steadfast in the philosophy that guides its teaching and clinical training. The philosophy, Vis Medicatrix Naturae, means “the healing power of nature.” Naturopathic medical training at UBCNM includes the study of ancient and modern healing principles and technologies. Students study modern biomedical science and diagnosis, as well as philosophies and healing modalities whose effectiveness has been proven for centuries. UBCNM takes on the challenge of blending old and new ideas to make natural medicine practical for today’s everchanging medical climate.

UBCNM continues the Vis Medicatrix Naturae tradition by offering a program of professional education to prepare naturopathic physicians to provide compassionate healthcare that addresses the cause of disease. “In our clinic we really emphasize nature cure: lifestyle, diet, botanical medicine. I like to think that the roots of naturopathic medicine really shine in our program,” says Beth Pimentel, ND, associate dean for academic affairs at UBCNM. The school recognizes that human beings exist on many levels, and so do our illnesses. Therefore, at UBCNM, naturopathic physicians are trained to assess the individual and the environment in which he or she lives to determine the best course of treatment for current health problems and to prevent illness in the future. “Students come out of our clinic really understanding how naturopathic medicine works and trusting the medicine to work as well,” states Pimentel. UBCNM trains naturopathic physicians who practice medicine in a way that supports the inherent healing wisdom of nature and facilitates health and optimal wellbeing. At the same time, their training prepares them to become leaders in natural healthcare delivery, research, and education.

One of the benefits for students and faculty at UBCNM is the school’s small size. With class sizes around 30, a high student-to-faculty ratio makes learning very personal. Pimentel notes, “Our small size really lends itself well to a more intimate class setting. The faculty really know our students, and our students really know our faculty. Because of that, I think there’s a lot of mentoring that happens in the process of a student’s education.” In addition to personalized mentoring, Pimentel notes that collaboration at UBCNM is helpful to students, as well. “One of the benefits of being at our school is that our health sciences division is really fleshing out. All of these practitioners are training in the same clinic building, so there’s a lot of interaction between students of various programs,” she says. A chiropractic school, an acupuncture institute, and a dental hygiene school are already part of the landscape at UBCNM. A physician assistant school will begin classes in January.

Although UBCNM is a relatively small school, there are several benefits that come with being part of the larger Bridgeport University, says Pimentel. “We have access to a diverse array of health sciences programs, facilities, and services,” including dining services, residence halls, and recreational facilities, she points out. In addition, the university has a state-of-the art library with “smart rooms” and presentation facilities. “The library offers tremendous resources for the health sciences with online access to numerous databases and journals, as well as more than 60,000 electronic textbooks,” says Pimentel. One of the ways in which UBCNM continues to grow is with the addition of new faculty, such as Peter D’Adamo, ND, MIFHI. Recently joining the didactic clinic faculty as an adjunct, D’Adamo is spearheading the Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine at UBCNM. The Center, which is opening in phases, will encompass clinical and didactic education, research, and post-graduation training. Currently, two phases of the Center have launched, including the clinical piece, in which D’Adamo oversees shifts in personalized medicine. Personalized medicine promotes natural healing techniques and genetically tailored dietary treatments to help patients receive individualized care. D’Adamo also currently teaches a series of courses that explore biochemical individuality, epigenetics, phenotypic expression and variation, and the implications for naturopathic practice, which is part of the didactic aspect of the Center of Excellence. The final two phases of the Center include the research arm and postgraduate training, which are being rolled out in phases. “We are excited to be working with Dr. D’Adamo and collaborating in the merging of cutting-edge medicine with the roots of naturopathic medicine,” Pimentel says.

In addition to launching the Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine, UBCNM has recently taken on the challenges of implementing electronic medical records, incorporating case-based learning into the biomedical sciences curricula, and expanding opportunities for students in integrative healthcare settings.

For more information about UBCNM, visit www.bridgeport.edu/academics/graduate/naturo.

Learning at UBCNM

We encourage and support the development of students to become competent, compassionate, and successful naturopathic physicians who engage in collaboration with other healthcare practitioners to fully address the healthcare needs of their patients. Students are also encouraged to become honorable and dedicated professionals, committed to serve their communities and the naturopathic profession.

“Students come out of our clinic really understanding how naturopathic medicine works and trusting the medicine to work as well.”

–Beth Pimentel ND, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at UBCNM

About the Author

Alexis Lynn is an editorial assistant with Natural Medicine Journal. She has worked as a report writer and research analyst for several market research firms in Colorado. Alexis holds a master's degree in mass communications and journalism from the University of Denver.