SCNM is now Sonoran University of Health Sciences. As you explore our new website, the SCNM name may still be in documents and images.

Sonoran University's History

Our Roots

In addition to the medicine and health sciences we teach and practice, it’s important to know about our long history in the Valley of the Sun providing education and care for those looking for an integrative approach. From our inception, we’ve blended new ways of learning and teaching with timeless principles of naturopathic and conventional medicine and healthcare.

Originally incorporated as Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences (SCNM) in 1992, we welcomed our inaugural class of future naturopathic doctors in 1993. When our founder, Dr. Michael Cronin, first convened his co-founders Kyle Hawk Cronin, Hugh Hawk, Conrad Kail, Dana Keaton, and Deborah Mainville-Knight, the number of licensed naturopathic physicians in Arizona numbered less than 40. Today, 800 licensed Naturopathic Physicians practice in Arizona.

We quickly outgrew our first home and moved to the current Tempe campus in 1996. The campus tripled in size, starting with the purchase of the Medical Center building in 2010. In 2015, the LEED-Platinum Lim Commons, established a campus hub that includes a café, Medicinary, library, teaching kitchen, classrooms, and the Neil Riordan Center for Regenerative Medicine (offering a patient-centered non-opioid approach to chronic pain).

Our Community Health program began in 1995 and together with our partners, our student clinicians and physicians have provided free care to tens of thousands of women, men, and children.  Patients include children in impoverished school districts, domestic violence survivors, women and children recovering from homelessness and trauma, individuals coping with HIV/AIDS and patients recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Sonoran University has a rich history of research. A grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2001 in collaboration with Gaia Herbs fueled a passion for botanical research spanning the following two decades. Gaia founder, Ric Scalzo, invested in this passion with a transformational gift funding a state-of-the-art Biosafety Level 2 laboratory on Sonoran University’s campus that opened in 2021.

In 2019, Sonoran University’s Academic Programs added the College of Nutrition and subsequently launched two Master of Science programs: MS Clinical Nutrition and MS Nutrition Business Leadership. Paving the way for the future of higher education, both Masters programs were built to be taught 100% online for a best-of-class learning experience.

Anyone who has visited the campus will tell you that Sonoran University is much more than a bricks and mortar academic institution… It’s a place where passionate, like-minded students, faculty and staff come together to make a difference in people’s lives. And, that feeling of a deeper commitment is tangible on campus.

Throughout the decades, our student body grew from its inaugural class of 42 to its current size. To this day, we remain committed to our founders’ vision of being a force for change to help transform healthcare. Welcome to Sonoran University of Health Sciences.

 

Key Dates

1992

Incorporation as Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences (SCNM)

1993

First class begins studies

1996

First community clinic offered in our Community Health program

1996

First Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine graduation

1996

First offering of our residency program

1999

Accreditation received from the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education

2001

Received NIH grant in collaboration with Gaia Herbs

2002

Founded Sage Foundation for Health to support Community Health program

2004

Received institutional accreditation from Higher Learning Commission

2006

Regenerative medicine techniques (Prolotherapy, Stem Cell, Platelet Rich Plasma) added to curriculum

2010

Medical Center relocated to Tempe campus

2015

Lim Commons (originally Community Commons) built as the first building our institution envisioned and built from the ground up.

2016

Sage Foundation for Health qualifies for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit

2018

Neil Riordan Center for Regenerative Medicine established thanks to transformational philanthropy

2019

Transformational philanthropy propels the institution forward with a gift that establishes the Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research

2020

School of Nutrition is established and the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition program launches

2020

Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research, in collaboration with Arizona State University, conducts research on botanicals that may be effective in combating Covid-19

2021

Master of Science in Nutrition Business Leadership program launches

2021

First Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition graduation

2022

SCNM becomes Sonoran University of Health Sciences