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For more than 20 years, SCNM has been on the forefront of advancing the naturopathic medical profession. SCNMa€™s unique curriculum features include a body-systems approach based on the principles of adult learning theory, clinical student experience from day one, team-based learning and a field observation program for students to shadow practicing NDs.
SCNM has pioneered naturopathic programs in environmental medicine, womena€™s health and pediatrics. SCNMa€™s campus is located in Tempe, part of the Phoenix metropolitan which is one of the top 10 largest metro areas in the US. The first naturopathic medical school to complete and implement a cutting-edge curriculum, SCNM prepares NDs with the broadest education and the most clinical experience.
Established in 1978, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) is Canada's premier institute for education and research in naturopathic medicine and is the only naturopathic program in Canada approved to grant degrees. CCNM's Department of Research is a world-wide leader in advancing our understanding of complementary and naturopathic medicine as a viable, sustainable health-care system. Admissions applications are accepted on a rolling basis through the Naturopathic Doctor Centralized Application Service (NDCAS). Length of Program: Intensive four-year program that includes more than 1,200 hours of clinical experience and involves more than 3,000 hours of classroom training.
About a month and a half ago, I became aware of the case of Ezekiel Stephan, a 19-month-old Canadian toddler living in Alberta who in 2012 developed bacterial meningitis. Naturopaths are allowed to call themselves doctors in Ontario, placing them alongside Physicians, Dentists, Psychologists, Optometrists, and (regrettably) Chiropractors as a statutorily-legitimized and protected class of healthcare provider. When someone is given the right to call themselves a doctor, we expect a very high level of medical training and expertise. The program itself is also clearly modelled after Canadian MD programs — two years of academic study, two years of clinical practice, and a two-part certifying exam. Coursework in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, immunology and clinical pathology seems promising.
I’m less inclined to grant such leeway to the courses in environmental & public health, given that so many ND’s come out of these programs anti-vaccination, and that alternative medicine has been found to be significantly associated with reduced adherence to vaccine schedules. Similarly, the decoupling of courses in pharmacology from those in pharmacognosy (study of natural medicines) is perhaps not surprising, but nonetheless troubling. Take-away: while there’s likely much science being taught in the biomedical portion of the CCNM program, there are also areas that are likely laced with pseudoscience. Homeopathic Medicine – Homeopathy is an elaborate placebo system with no basis in science. Botanical Medicine – as discussed above, treating botanical medicines as different from other medicines is an artificial distinction that only serves the naturalistic fallacy. Clinical Nutrition – includes “prescriptive therapeutic strategies” like detoxification (bollocks), supplementation (bollocks), and orthomolecular therapy (bollocks). Health Psychology and Lifestyle Counselling – not much to say here, other than presumably the counseling includes guidance in applying the other 5 modalities.


Take Away: any good done by the science courses in the biomedical track is completely undone by training in naturopathic modalities.
Even if we accept the basic notion that natural treatments are somehow better than other medical treatments, the presence of homeopathy, detoxification, and energy therapies in the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine’s curriculum is a healthcare travesty. I come here infrequently to check out the articles and this is the first time I’ve posted.
It’s funny that my doctor, who is just a plain old regular MD, has suggested on many visits that I lose weight, eat healthier and exercise more in order to help reduce my blood pressure and cholesterol more than just my medication does alone.
Erik is a technology professional based in Toronto, focused on the intersection of the internet and the traditional media and telecommunications sectors. The SCNM Medical Center features classrooms equipped with room-to-room video and wireless internet, and also houses Arizonaa€™s largest natural pharmacy. Adjacent to SCNM, is Arizona State University, the largest university in the country, which brings a rich college atmosphere and an abundance of affordable housing.
The progressive SCNM model is interactive and built upon proven, effective methods such as team-based learning, a body-systems approach for teaching basic science and early clinical experiences. CCNM faculty members include NDs, MDs, RNs, RMTs and DCs, as well as MBAs and lawyers teaching business courses. CCNM research has appeared in many peer-reviewed publications including Canada's premier medical journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). From arts, sports, nature trails, social scenes to street festivals, Toronto has something for everyone.
Our program covers three major areas of study: biomedical sciences, clinical sciences and naturopathic therapeutics. Unfortunately for Ezekiel, his parents, David and Collet Stephan, were believers in alternative medicine.
But for the lack of MCAT scores, this is not dissimilar to the minimum requirements for entry into an MD program, though due to competition, pre-med does tend to be much more rigorous than those minimum requirements. The main difference seems to be the lack of a residency requirement, but it’s nonetheless hard to fault ND’s for not putting in the time.
There are three primary areas of study: Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, and the Art and Practice of Naturopathic Medicine.
While we can’t be certain of what’s taught in these courses, let’s give CCNM the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re the same as they would be in an MD program, and that they provide a firm grounding in life sciences. Yes, there could be self-selection confounding both of these findings, but if this were the case, a science-based curriculum should disabuse students of these biases, and it clearly isn’t.
When it’s all presented as if it’s “of a piece”, it’s reasonable to be concerned about ND’s ability to tell fact from fiction. That it forms a fundamental part of the naturopath’s curriculum is shameful, and further indication of the casual way in which science is blended with pseudoscience in the curriculum.
Nature of course produces many useful compounds, but unfortunately they’re only occasionally safe enough and effective enough to be useful in their native form.


Though CCNM’s ND program is structurally modeled after Canadian MD programs, its substance is so divorced from reality as to render its graduates incapable of science-based practice. Perhaps, in the courses mentioned, there should be a greater emphasis on things that would highlight the flaws in alt-med.
Could be quite rigorous for all I know, but as those clinics practice naturopathic nonsense, it hardly matters. A reluctant blogger, he was inspired by the great work Skeptic North has done to combat misinformation and shoddy science reporting in the Canadian media, and in the public at large. CCNMa€™s core curriculum includes Traditional Chinese Medicine and practical instruction in acupuncture. CCNM offers North Americaa€™s largest naturopathic teaching clinic, the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, as well as the only naturopathic teaching clinic in a hospital setting in North America at Brampton Civic Hospital. About 2.5 years ago, John did just that, looking at the curriculum of the Boucher Institute in Westminster, BC and finding it riddled with pseudoscience.
I won’t cover Clinical Sciences, as it’s mostly about application of the other two, but here’s a breakdown of the rest of the curriculum. Acupuncture in particular has been extremely well studied, and consistently shows no benefit beyond a placebo in the highest quality trials. That they’re allowed to call themselves doctors is a testament to a flawed regulatory structure, not the training standards of the profession.
Erik has a particular interest in critical reasoning, and in understanding why there’s so little of it in the public discourse. Known as the most customer-service driven school, SCNM offers students support before, during and after their four years on campus.
CCNM graduates are eligible to practice acupuncture in all regulated jurisdictions in Canada without the need for further education.
The 4.3 acre campus offers a 170 room on-site student residence, healthy foods cafeteria, book and medical supply store, fitness centre, herb garden, on-site teaching clinic and learning resource centre. The famed Yonge Street with its eclectic mix of restaurants and shops is only three subway stops away, while the Don River and Don River Trail are across the street from us. This article is intended to update John’s work by breaking down the curriculum of the country’s largest naturopathic college, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto.
CCNM is proud to offer top quality education at the lowest rate of all accredited naturopathic schools.
Financial aid in the form of student loans, scholarships and bursaries are available to Canadian and U.S.



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