By Mina Williams Herald writer
EDMONDS — Bastyr University has opened a naturopathic clinic in Edmonds as part of its teaching program in concert with the Edmonds Senior Center.
The practice is led by Dr. Ryan Bradley, a clinical core faculty member at the university and Edmonds resident. He is assisted by three to four student clinicians.
Students serving the clinic are part of Bastyr’s four-year naturopathic medicine program. One requirement for graduation is 1,200 hours of clinical training. Students are matched up with patients so that they can develop good continuity of care.
Naturopathy is a form of primary care, with an emphasis on healthy living and lifestyle.
While the clinic opened in January, the official ribbon-cutting was March 28 prior to the Edmonds Senior Center’s annual meeting.
The clinic has been fully scheduled since opening and is booked out several months. Currently there is about a 12-week wait list, according to Bradley.
“I’ve been quite surprised with the demand,” Bradley said.
Edmonds is the only clinic Bastyr has opened in Snohomish County. In fact, because of community interest, the project was fast-tracked, moving up the opening by one year. No others are in the planning stages at this time, according to Bradley.
The Edmonds location is one of 12 in the area that the Kenmore-based university’s faculty and students staff. Two of those also are located in senior centers, one in Shoreline and another in Greenwood.
“Clinical work is vital to our students to become good doctors,” said Dr. Jane Guiltinan, dean and professor of Bastyr’s School of Naturopathic Medicine. “Our hope is for all to take advantage of the services.”
While positioned within the Edmonds Senior Center, the clinic is not just for seniors. Practitioners have seen people in their 20s and 30s, mainly because of the low cost of the care for those without health insurance, said Guiltinan.
Bastyr University provides clinicians at no charge to the senior center as part of the students’ learning experience. The senior center charges patients a $15 administrative fee that can be waived is there is financial need.
The clinic cannot accept private insurance or Medicare.
The Edmonds clinic has a limited dispensary of natural products including dietary supplements and herbal remedies. Should samples be available, they will be given to clients for free.
The clinic dovetails with the senior center’s existing portfolio of medical services, health, wellness and fitness offerings, Bradley said.
“Health and wellness is something we want to move into in a major way,” executive director Farrell Fleming said during the meeting. “We want to connect with ‘boomers,’ eyeing them as new members as they come kicking and screaming into being a senior.”
Grants totaling $30,000 will sustain the clinic through 2014.