“Health is not a commodity that you buy from your doctor; it’s a responsibility that every mature human being accepts, embraces, and promises to live out,” says Bastyr University President Daniel K. Church.
Changing our understanding of wellness and what it means to be healthy is one of this university's primary ambitions.
Changing our understanding of wellness and what it means to be healthy is one of this university’s primary ambitions.
Located north of Seattle in Kenmore, Wash., Bastyr is the largest university for natural health arts and sciences in the United States. The 32-year-old accredited institution is internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural medicine, melding science and art in a multidisciplinary curriculum with leading-edge research and clinical training. A nonprofit, private university, Bastyr promotes a curriculum founded in science-based natural medicine.
Providing degrees in a variety of curricula, Bastyr offers a range of graduate and undergraduate programs, including naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, midwifery, nutrition, health psychology, exercise science, and herbal sciences. With an emphasis on the intrinsic relationship between mind, body, spirit, and nature, Bastyr’s mission is to educate future influencers in the natural health arts and sciences using a model that integrates education, research, and clinical service. “Our people should be leaders when they graduate—not just technically competent professionals, but people who have the ancillary skills necessary to provide leadership in their fields,” Church says.
In addition to educating future practitioners, Bastyr envisions itself as the world’s preeminent academic center for advancing and integrating knowledge in the natural health arts and sciences, in order to transform the health and well-being of the human community. Church highlights the idea of transformation, noting, “We’re not looking for incremental change, for people to be slightly less sick than they used to be. We’re looking for a major transformation, not just a change in health status, but a change in the appreciation of what health really is.”
Clinic Director and Clinic Medical Director at Bastyr, Jamey Wallace, ND, echoes Church’s vision of health transformation. Wallace points out that currently one of the biggest health challenges in the United States is the management of chronic disease. Evaluating lifestyle, diet, stress, and other contributing factors of chronic disease is key to not only treating but also preventing chronic disease. “Imagine a system where we have people coming in on a regular basis to stay healthy and then when something bad happens they can take advantage of the technology. We wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars a month on some kind of new pill or tens of thousands on surgical procedures; we’d be spending hundreds of dollars on maintaining wellness,” suggests Wallace.
Wallace says that his vision involves students and faculty “bridging the gaps with conventional medicine so that they’re working together on a more regular basis.
“We’re looking to train people to be collaborative,” states Wallace. Noting that the origin of the word doctor comes from the Latin verb “docere,” meaning “to teach,” Wallace underscores the importance of education and collaboration at Bastyr. “We’re really focused on educating our patients and other providers about what we do and how we can complement each other, all for the benefit of our patients.”
Meeting the demand for naturopathic medical schools, Bastyr is planning to open a California campus. Because naturopathic doctors in California are licensed to practice as primary care doctors, the campus expansion will help address the shortage of primary care doctors in the state. The new campus will offer Bastyr University’s Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree program, which includes access to an international faculty, diverse curriculum, and a clinical training environment. With the campus expansion comes increased accessibility to Bastyr’s science-based natural medicine program.
In both facilities, Church insists that integrating both science and art in the science-based program will be imperative. “Health is not all about science, and if we presume to say that we look at health holistically, then we have to recognize there’s an awful lot of heart in it,” he says. “We are introducing curricula into the campus, and way beyond curricula we’re introducing conversations at every level with students, faculty, and stakeholders in the community about those things that wouldn’t traditionally be thought of as science, but which in fact contribute to health.
“Arts and sciences, as opposed to just sciences, is a hallmark of the current integration of Bastyr and I believe what will be representative of our future going forward,” states Church.
For more information about Bastyr University, please visit www.bastyr.edu.
"Health is not all about science, and if we presume to say that we look at health holistically, then we have to recognize there's an awful lot of heart in it."
--Daniel K. Church, PhD, Bastyr University President