A record number of students have enrolled for the Fall 2012 starting class at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences (SCNM), continuing a consistent growth trend showing a 60 percent increase since 2008.

Nearly new 100 students have been accepted into the medical college’s four-year naturopathic physician degree program, which begins Oct. 1 at 2140 E. Broadway Rd. in Tempe, bringing the total number of students to 412.  Students accepted into the program must have previously earned a bachelor’s degree and completed science, English and humanities prerequisite coursework.

“During the past five years, there has been a steady increase in interest in naturopathic medicine and careers as naturopathic physicians,” said Melissa Winquist, SCNM Vice President of Student Affairs.  “We receive more than 8,000 inquiries a year into our program.  Students graduating from SCNM are the highest-trained experts in natural medicine.”

In 2008, 60 students were accepted into the fall class.  The next year, the number increased to 70, to 81 in 2010, 86 in 2009 and 97 this year.   Students this fall represent 27 states and Canada, where eight students live.  There are 26 students from Arizona.

Winquist said students spend the first two years studying basic sciences complemented by clinical observations.  Students begin seeing patients in their third and fourth years.  One-year post-graduate residencies provide hands-on practical experience.

SCNM, one of only five naturopathic colleges in the nation, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2013.

The college’s faculty includes naturopathic physicians, medical doctors, osteopaths, PhDs, and acupuncturists who teach in disciplines that include physical medicine, homeopathy, botanical medicine, mind-body medicine and environmental medicine.

“We train physicians by combining the best of conventional and alternative therapies with an emphasis on prevention,” said SCNM President and CEO Paul Mittman, ND, EdD.  “Our integrated curriculum exposes students to a diversity of medical knowledge, clinical applications, lab work and patient care that concentrates on whole-patient wellness to find the underlying causes of a patient’s condition rather than focusing strictly on symptomatic treatment.”

The college holds two open houses each year, called Discovery Days, when individuals interested in attending SCNM can learn more about the programs and the public can learn more about naturopathic medicine. Doctors will discuss natural options for pain management, fatigue, thyroid issues and digestion, among other subjects, and free activities include blood pressure checks, herb tea and green protein drink tastings, pulse ear acupuncture and chair massages.

The next Discovery Day is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 on the campus in Tempe.

For information, visit www.scnm.edu.