Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Visiting Elder's Series Program at CCNM

By Michael Traub, ND, FABNO, DHANP

Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Photo by Jeff Kubina via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License

I admit it is a dubious distinction to be invited to participate in CCNM’s Visiting Elder’s Series program. At the age of 57, an elder to me is someone in their 70s or 80s or older. However, as you may know, the naturopathic profession has a missing generation, and there are very few NDs who are 70 years old or older.

The previous time I had visited CCNM was about 10 years ago, as AANP President. When I spoke to their faculty and student body, I cried. I was trying to convey to how, but for a few brave, committed souls, the profession of naturopathic medicine had almost died out, and that we owed a huge debt of gratitude to those who kept the flame alive. As I said this, I was overcome by emotion. Tears streamed down my face and I got choked up.

Ten years later, and the naturopathic profession is thriving and I was happy to share this earlier experience with those who came to hear me speak this time at CCNM, full of the confidence that our profession continues to make great advances.

CCNM’s Visiting Elders Series program is sponsored by Metagenics, and I am told it is one of the many good things that David Schleich instituted while he was President at CCNM. My visit was coordinated by Aeryn Twidle and Jasmine Carino, ND, Associate Dean of the Curriculum and Residency Program. They kept me very busy, from 11 am to 8 pm on Day 1 and 10 am to 9:30 pm on Day 2. Perhaps this had something with me coming all the way from Hawaii. And as I was in Toronto in early February, my body was shocked when I stepped outside the airport terminal to catch a cab in minus 10 degrees centigrade weather!

My lectures included practice management, commitment to the naturopathic profession, homeopathy, oncology case presentations with residents, Hawaiian Diet, current research I am conducting on vitamin D and elderberry syrup for flu prevention, and continuing education in dermatology, as well as working for four hours in the teaching clinic with students and supervisors.

Having taught at most of the naturopathic colleges over the past 30 years, I am struck by the variability in the quality of students. Sometimes I am very impressed, sometimes underwhelmed. At CCNM I was very glad to see the aptitude and high level of knowledge of all the students I encountered. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my time on campus, and felt very welcomed and well-cared for. I particularly wish to thank Aeryn, Jasmine, Nick Degroot, Nadya Bakir, Alex Hall, Rena Zambri, and Sasha for the generosity and kindness they extended to me during my visit.

As a bonus, I will be hosting 4 CCNM students this summer who have decided for some odd reason that they want to come all the way to Hawaii to preceptor with me.

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