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A Series of Q&A's with SCNM Community Members


Visualize a community where there is a shared passion and purpose dedicated to the study and celebration of evidence-based holistic health and healing. It looks pretty good, doesn’t it? In just a second, you’ll get to know a few of the many SCNM community members that contribute to that shared passion and purpose for naturopathic medicine.

SCNM Naturopathic Medical Student, Steven Inghram, MS, C-IAYT

Question: What was your admissions experience like at SCNM?

SCNM | Steven Inghram

Steven: The admissions experience I had at SCNM was on point every step of the way. Both Jody & Jain, the admissions counselors are phenomenal human beings and brought such energy & vitality to the application process. Applying to medical school is no easy feat; however, they were constantly reassuring and supportive throughout the entire process. I don’t think the application process could have gone any more smoothly! 

Question: What is different about SCNM’s ND program?

Steven: SCNM’s ND program is top-notch! From the very first quarter they start you in classes called “Integrated Case Studies” that present the information that you are learning in anatomy & physiology in the context of real patient conditions. This gets your mind thinking like a Physician essentially from day one of medical school. Additionally, given that SCNM is in a fully licensed state for naturopathic physicians, students are trained to the full extent of their scope of practice while in medical school; this includes the ability to practice acupuncture under your license as a naturopathic medical doctor.  

Question: What drew you to SCNM?

Steven: My biggest draw to SCNM was quite honestly having access to the full scope of practice. I was a transfer student to SCNM and cannot emphasize enough how important it is to attend medical school in state where you can practice to the full extent of your licensure, especially if you want to be the best Physician you can be and receive the best clinical experiences in the Naturopathic Medical profession. Additionally, SCNM recently opened an all new botanical medicine research lab which is going to set a major precedent for advancing research in naturopathic medicine!  

Question: What is different about our faculty at SCNM?

Steven: SCNM’s faculty have a diversity of education that extends beyond Naturopathic Physicians. Students are taught by professors that are content experts that hold a PhD or an MD. This allows students to have a well-rounded education and view of medicine which is invaluable to us as future physicians. 

Question: How would you describe SCNM if you were only given three words to do so?

Steven: Progressive, rigorous, and visionary. 


Professor of Naturopathic Medicine and Chair, Department of Botanical Medicine, Patricia Gaines, ND, RH (AHG)

SCNM | Patricia Gaines

Question: When you first arrived at SCNM what stood out to you the most? 

Dr. Gaines: The welcoming energy of the residents, faculty and administration was the first thing that stood out to me when Istarted working at SCNM. I didn’t know anyone at SCNM or in AZ when I started my residency and the people at the school really make me feel welcome and became my support system. Also, the desert is beautiful and there are lots of opportunities to be in nature and appreciate the diversity of plants that grow here. 

Question: In the spirit of Docere, how do you teach to improve the ways you were taught? 

Dr. Gaines: I try to engage students and focus on the main outcomes, which in botanical medicine has to do with application of plants in a clinical setting. Although we teach plants individually, most often students will be creating complex formulas to address both the condition and constitution of the patient. In my class and clinical rotation we work through cases in order to practice formulating. At SCNM most of the clinical faculty also teach, which reinforces material students learn and helps students transition from the classroom to the clinic.  

Question: Why would you recommend SCNM to someone interested in a naturopathic medical degree? 

Dr. Gaines: I would definitely recommend SCNM to a student considering attending naturopathic school. SCNM is a school dedicated to innovation and is constantly working to improve and find solutions to challenges, both in healthcare and education.  

Question: What drew you to SCNM?

Dr. Gaines: I was hired by SCNM as a first-year resident after graduating from Bastyr University. I stayed at SCNM due to the opportunity to learn and work with experienced NDs. The residency was a great experience for me and opened doors for other opportunities within the school and the profession.

Question: How would you describe SCNM if you were only given three words to do so? 

Dr. Gaines: Community, innovation, and excellence.

Learn more about Dr. Gaines


SCNM | Joseph Vazquez

Associate Dean of Clinical Education, Joseph Vazquez, ND, MS

Question: Talking from your experience, what can a student expect from clinical education at SCNM?

Dr. Vazquez: The clinical education component of the ND program at SCNM is designed to best prepare the student for real world applications in the healthcare field.  Assessments of the student’s progress are constant and constructive, with expectations equally of high standard, while always guiding and supporting the student throughout the process.  I like to think of it as the three A’s: Advance, Assist and Apply.

Question: When you first arrived at SCNM what stood out about the culture?

Dr. Vazquez: The culture of SCNM is notable welcoming and collaborative.  I was and continue to be fascinated by the levels of involvement and creativity implemented by all members of the SCNM community, from students to faculty, staff and administration.  All members have a common desire to advance SCNM in a positive direction.

Question: What was it like to uproot your family and move to SCNM?

Dr. Vazquez: This move was the largest and longest for my family, but extremely exciting and memorable.  Driving from Chicago and watching the landscape change was remarkable.  We were equally welcomed by members of our neighborhood community just like we were by SCNM.  Whether coincidence or note, we have had nothing but great experiences in our short time here!

Question: What do you see the opportunity at SCNM being?

Dr. Vazquez: SCNM is full of opportunities to advance and evolve with communal support.  Community members support one another to achieve the best and in so doing, advance SCNM into a position of positive development.  Whether a student receiving one of the best naturopathic medical education the country has to offer, or an administrator developing new ways to expand and grow the program, SCNM will nurture any type of action that leads to growth.

Question: How would you describe SCNM if you were only given three words to do so?

Dr. Vazquez: Advancing, accepting, and cutting-edge.

Learn more about Dr. Vazquez