Northwestern Health Sciences University Expands to Meet Growing Needs for Integrated Healthcare Practitioners

Northwestern Health Sciences University students studying on campus.

Students studying on campus at NWHSU.

This fall, as Northwestern Health Sciences University students flood the halls at the beginning of fall semester, they’re seeing more new faces on campus than ever—because NWHSU is not only enrolling more students in its current programs, but also adding more academic programs to expand its integrated healthcare curriculum.

In fact, the number of students on campus has grown by nearly 10 percent, according to the university’s admissions office.

“We’re thrilled to welcome so many new students to campus this year,” says Erin Kahn, dean of admissions at Northwestern Health Sciences University. “And with the addition of the new programs we welcomed the largest incoming class of students this fall than ever before.”

Expanding academic programs in diagnostics and treatment

For years, students have come to Northwestern Health Sciences University expecting to learn a different kind of healthcare practice—evidence-based, clinically-proven techniques that heal patients in the most natural way possible, such as chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy.

“These new academic programs are designed to support our school’s mission, vision, and goals,” says Deb Bushway, president and CEO of NWHSU. “These students will learn about the benefits of other professions and carry it forward in their work.”

This fall, more than 80 new students began classes at NWHSU in several new programs focused on critical skill sets for integrative care:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting
  • Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology
  • Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy
  • Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology

“These programs expand our focus on integrative health care,” said Dale Healey, dean of the College of Health and Wellness at NWHSU. “Students from many disciplines are now learning and working together, just as health professionals do at hospitals, clinics, and other places where people seek care.”

More students studying natural, evidenced-based integrative care

Northwestern Health Sciences University radiology class.

Radiology class at NWHSU.

While these recently integrated programs bring new professions to the institution, the diagnostic tools and opportunities to evolve integrative care education provide an expanded learning experience for NWHSU students across all programs.

“The more healthcare technicians who have experience with chiropractic, acupuncture, and other natural healing methods, the more exposure these methods will have with patients,” says Charles Sawyer, D.C., special assistant to the president at NWHSU. “We’re thoughtfully and carefully growing and expanding Northwestern Health Sciences University, diversifying our enrollment so that our students can be exposed to more modalities.”

But the school isn’t just adding new programs. The degree offerings that make up the core curriculum of the school—Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Massage Therapy— also have grown this academic year.

“Our goal is to not only grow the size, but also grow the quality of these programs, and put emphasis on their specific roles in integrative care,” says Bushway.

To create the resources necessary to support more students on campus, NWHSU’s senior leadership team is looking at different options to create the infrastructure necessary to support expansion—including segmenting the College of Health and Wellness, separating its Massage Therapy, Nutrition, and Post-Baccalaureate, Pre-Health programs from the Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine program so that all programs have room to grow.

“We’re working to develop a deeper understanding of integrative care and improve communication across healthcare disciplines,” says Healey. “Keeping the patient at the center of healthcare is critical, along with letting go of the idea that ‘I should be able to fix everything myself.’ We’re focused on teaching a more integrative approach to healthcare practice.”