Monday, June 13, 2011

Bastyr Updating the Naturopathic Medicine Curriculum

Bastyr University's naturopathic program is world-renowned, but even the best can get better. Bastyr's faculty and administrators are improving the organization and delivery of the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) curriculum.

girl reaching into jar of herbs
The study of herbs is a part of the naturopathic medicine curriculum

In fall quarter 2012, the University will incorporate new teaching methods, further integrate scientific concepts with clinical applications, and give students more opportunities to actively engage with the subject matter.

"We wondered if we couldn't make the curriculum hang together in a way that made it easier for students to synthesize the information and reduce the number of class hours," says Deborah Lantz, ND, associate dean for the School of Naturopathic Medicine. "Although the curriculum is fine the way it is, we hope these changes make it easier in some ways for students to connect the information presented to them. Right now they put it together on their own, and most people do it really well, but this just provides a little more help with that."

For instance, Dr. Lantz explains that in the new model two different faculty members — such as a basic scientist and a clinician — might work as a faculty team with small groups of students to help students integrate and understand the concepts from both the scientific and clinical standpoints.

Dr. Lynelle Golden, PhD, chair of the Department of Basic Sciences, added that the new organization will allow students to apply foundational science concepts immediately to clinical situations through the increased use of case studies. The new curriculum should also help students apply scientific concepts while doing clinical rotations.

What are some other proposed changes?

  • The curriculum will foster active participation rather than passive learning.
  • Clinical training will begin in the first quarter of a student’s first year.
  • Alternative instruction methods will be used more widely, and may include webinars or voiceover PowerPoint presentations, with fewer traditional lectures.

"We're basically doing a complete revision of the curriculum so students will have more time to develop and practice clinical skills," says Dr. Lantz. "We'll move some of the clinical training earlier and move some of the basic sciences concepts to later in their schooling."

Bastyr University is not the school first to make these changes. Many other allopathic and naturopathic medical schools are adjusting their curricula to help improve student learning while avoiding burn-out.

For more information on Bastyr's naturopathic medicine program, please contact the Office of Admissions at (425) 602-3330.

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