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A Brief History of NCNM

NCNM HistoryNational College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) is the oldest programmatically accredited naturopathic medical school in North America. NCNM had its beginnings in the early 1950s, in response to the termination of the naturopathic program at Western States Chiropractic College. Members of the profession from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia planned the founding of the College and in May 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Drs. Charles Stone, W. Martin Bleything and Frank Spaulding executed the Articles of Incorporation of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. After 50 years, in July 2006, NCNM changed its name to National College of Natural Medicine to be reflective of its two core programs and inclusive of any future offerings.

NCNM was founded as a college of naturopathic medicine, which draws from the healing wisdom of many cultures. Since its founding, NCNM has sought to preserve and convey the classical modalities of naturopathy and honor the principles that guide naturopathic care:

  • The healing power of nature

  • Treat the whole person

  • First do no harm

  • Identify and treat the cause

  • Prevention is the best cure

  • Doctor as teacher


In the fall of 1992, the college began plans for the development of a curriculum that would emphasize the holistic spirit of the classical teachings of Oriental medicine. Permission to offer a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) degree was granted in June of 1998, and the first MSOM class was graduated that month. Permission to offer the Master of Acupuncture degree was granted in 2008, and the first class started in fall 2008.

During its earlier years, NCNM went through several location changes in the Northwest until the late 1970s, when Portland was selected as the college's permanent home. The first physical location owned by the college was the Market Street campus in southeast Portland, housing both clinical and academic education.

By 1995, the college had outgrown the Market Street campus and had begun negotiations to purchase the current location in downtown Portland. Academic education was relocated to this campus in September 1996 and clinical education was housed in two clinics (Natural Health Center and the Pettygrove Clinic) several minutes from the main campus. In 2009 these clinics were consolidated into one location on campus, the NCNM Clinic.

NCNM's faculty include some of the nation's most respected authors and spokespersons in the fields of naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine.

The college is alma mater to over 2,300 alumni who practice in nearly every state and Canadian province as well as in many foreign countries. Over 50% of the licensed naturopathic physicians practicing in the United States are graduates of NCNM.