Sonoran University’s Community Health program, has been providing healthcare in communities that are underserved for the past 26 years. We are working to turn 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 through Sage Foundation for Health, local foundations, and the natural products industry, Sonoran University’s College of Naturopathic Medicine doctors and 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:
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.
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 and Sonoran University as a whole.