Community Health

– President’s Blog –

August 10, 2022 

SCNM’s Community Health program, providing healthcare in communities that are underserved for the past 26 years, turns the conventional wisdom on its head that that only wealthy and privileged individuals can access and benefit from naturopathic and holistic healthcare. Thanks to generous support from donors, local foundations, and the natural products industry, College of Naturopathic Medicine doctors and medical students have provided free visits, supplements, and in many cases prescriptions and lab tests to tens of thousands of patients. Turns out, naturopathic healthcare is effective regardless of a person’s socioeconomic status or life circumstances.

Patients treated at the five Community Health sites include:

  • Women and children sheltering from domestic violence at Sojourner Center (since 2004)
  • Children and their families in the Murphy School District (est. 2002)
  • Children and their families in the Roosevelt School District (est. 2017)
  • People living with HIV/AIDS at the Southwest Center (est. 2002)
  • Women overcoming substance use disorder and/or experiencing homelessness at Changing Lives (est. 2015)

Community Health serves multiple purposes, starting with the provision of quality healthcare to patients in need. It also plays three important roles in training the next generation of naturopathic doctors: First, providing a mixture of acute and chronic clinical presentations; and, second, by increasing the diversity of patients encountered by students which will serve them throughout their careers.

There is another reason that Community Health is so important for, and popular with, our naturopathic medical students. Community Health is an expression of Sonoran University’s Core Values – We Love, We do the Right Thing, We are Resilient, We Shape the Future. Helping another person overcome health challenges that are complicated by limited resources, socioeconomic hardship, or abuse, nourishes medical students’ hearts as much as it informs their minds. That’s why we established the Sage Foundation for Health as a dedicated fundraising entity to support and grow Community Health. It was also the impetus for creating a Community Health Honors Track to provide additional training and experience for medical students who plan to work in communities that are underserved and under-resourced – it is the most popular of the program’s three Honors Tracks.

So, what will stay the same and what will change once SCNM becomes Sonoran University of Health Sciences?

The Same: Sonoran University’s commitment to providing quality care in communities that are underserved and under-resourced.

Different: Sage Foundation will return to the original foundation name, Sage Foundation for Health. We will expand clinical services for Community Health patients with the addition of the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition and future healthcare degrees. Another Community Health enhancement will grow academic and non-profit collaborations to more holistically address the social determinants of health underlying so many health conditions today. Watch for exciting announcements soon about  upcoming Community Health partnerships.

Whether, as a service to community, a clinical training program for the next generation of healthcare professionals, or the experience of gratitude and giving, Community Health has been an integral part of the College of Naturopathic Medicine experience. As SCNM transitions to Sonoran University of Health Sciences, Community Health will play an even more prominent role in our identity.


Dr. Paul Mittman's Signature