Brampton and Peel Region residents have seen their primary care options expand as the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) opened its naturopathic teaching clinic at Brampton Civic Hospital in January.
The CCNM Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic is the first naturopathic teaching clinic in a hospital setting in Canada.
The opening reflects the public’s growing interest in integrative, preventative health care. In Brampton, naturopathic medicine can help support residents living with chronic illness. Communities served by the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) report an obesity rate higher than the provincial average, with almost one in five youths in the LHIN area reported as overweight or obese. The percentage of residents with diabetes is also higher than the provincial rate.
“As part of our philosophy to help ensure greater access to community care options – particularly with chronic disease a significant challenge for residents in our region – the new CCNM Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic will provide some valuable, additional support to our community,” said Ann Ford, VP Development and Support Services, William Osler Health System. “The teaching nature of the clinic also further strengthens our commitment to assist in the professional development and education of the next generation of health professionals.”
The CCNM Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic is open in the evenings from Tuesday through Friday, and welcomes residents from surrounding communities as well as Brampton Civic patients and staff. Jonathan Tokiwa, ND, is the clinic’s lead supervisor and clinic coordinator. Joining him as supervisors are naturopathic doctors Rita Patel, Romi Raina and Rupi Mitha.
In the first few weeks of operation, Tokiwa notes that “patients are presenting with many chronic conditions, such as fatigue, anxiety, arthritis, diabetes and gastrointestinal concerns.”
“Being situated in the hospital helps CCNM meet its mission of working with conventional health-care providers to offer affordable, accessible and effective health care,” says Nick DeGroot, ND, CCNM’s Dean. “In the future, our location will allow us to work with William Osler Health System to implement a truly integrative model of care.”
Overall, the response to CCNM’s teaching clinic has been positive. “We’ve been asked to present information sessions to a number of hospital groups,” says Tokiwa. “Patients coming into the clinic mention that it’s ‘about time this is happening,’ and they welcome the opportunity to learn about and be treated with naturopathic medicine.”
Tokiwa also hopes that the teaching clinic plants the seed for developing an integrative model with departments within the hospital. “Being able to communicate and interact directly with the other health-care professions is important to build better understanding and demystify the misconceptions that may exist,” he says. “Collaboration and communication between a patient’s health-care providers helps to ensure improved patient care.”
CCNM will rigorously track the health outcomes for patients of the clinic.
“Based upon research studies we have conducted within non-hospital settings, we anticipate that we will see measurable improvement in health outcomes and significant cost savings,” says Bob Bernhardt, PhD, CCNM President and CEO. “If so, it would clearly position this clinic as the ‘proof of concept’ for a significant change in health-care delivery throughout the province.”
The CCNM Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic is operated by the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine through collaboration with William Osler Health System and Central West LHIN. It is underwritten by the College and its partners as a community outreach project. As a result, the clinic is able to provide naturopathic care at no cost for patients while offering valuable clinical experience for CCNM interns.
The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) is Canada’s premier institute for education and research in naturopathic medicine. CCNM offers a rigorous four-year, full-time doctor of naturopathic medicine program. The College educates, develops and trains naturopathic doctors through excellence in health education, clinical services and research that integrate mind, body and spirit.
In Ontario, naturopathic doctors (NDs) are regulated health-care practitioners. Currently, the profession is transitioning to new regulation within the Regulated Health Professions Act. Visits to naturopathic doctors are typically half an hour or more in length, and involve standard medical diagnostic assessments as well as a range of therapies including lifestyle counselling, nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture/Asian medicine, homeopathic medicine, and hydrotherapy/massage.
To book an appointment, call the CCNM Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic at 905-793-1526 or visit www.ccnm.edu/bntc.