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Northwestern Health Sciences University

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Northwestern Health Sciences University is a natural health care university located in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. The university has educational programs in chiropractic, Oriental medicine, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and human biology. The university was founded in 1941 by John B. Wolfe, DC.1

Previously Northwestern College of Chiropractic, Northwestern Health Sciences University has been an international leader in natural health care education, patient care, and research for more than 65 years.2 Since 1991, Northwestern’s Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies has become one of the largest natural health care research institutions in the world, garnering more than $7 million in federally funded studies.3 Additionally, Northwestern’s five public clinics form the largest natural health care system in Minnesota.4

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Northwestern Health Sciences University

Northwestern Health Sciences University is a Private university institution, receiving most of its funding through tuition, research grants, and contributions. It comprises three colleges and schools: Northwestern College of Chiropractic, the Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and the School of Massage Therapy. Each program has its own Dean and administration and operates autonomously from the other programs.5 Northwestern is accredited by the North Central Association.6

Founded in 1941, Northwestern College of Chiropractic (NWCC) offers a doctorate degree in chiropractic. The full-time day program consists of more than 4,300 credit hours over 10 trimesters. The students may also complete a bachelor of science degree in human biology while enrolled in the chiropractic program.7

The College has pioneered a clinical system, with several natural care centers, more than 150 community-based private-practice clinics, and final term preceptorship opportunities around the world. The University's public clinic system records more than 65,000 patient visits a year, making Northwestern the largest provider of natural health care services in Minnesota.8

The Doctor of Chiropractic program offered by the University is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of the Council on Chiropractic education. 9

The Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MCAOM) is the largest and oldest school in Minnesota offering master's degree programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Founded in 1990 as the Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture and Herbal Studies, MCAOM has established itself in the Twin Cities area as a provider of education and clinical services in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. MCAOM student interns provide services in the Edith Davis Teaching Clinic on the University campus, and health care clinics and community agencies in the metropolitan area.

The master's degree programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine emphasize the mind, body and spirit inherent in traditional Chinese medicine. MCAOM has gathered a multi-national Faculty (university). The curriculum for the Master of Oriental Medicine program provides about 3,000 hours of didactic and clinical instruction in acupuncture, Chinese herbology, and related studies such as Tui Na, Qi Gong, introductory Chinese language skills and practice management. The program takes three years of full-time enrollment to complete. The curriculum for the Master of Acupuncture program is similar to that of the Oriental medicine program, but does not include herbal studies. This program includes more than 2,300 hours of instruction, taking two and two-thirds years of full-time enrollment to complete.10

The Master of Acupuncture and Master of Oriental Medicine programs offered by the University are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.11

The School of Massage Therapy is the only massage therapy school in Minnesota to receive accreditation from the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA). The 36-semester credit, 780-hour program emphasizes a solid foundation in the basic sciences, more than 340 hours of hands-on lab experience, and a structured clinical experience within the School of Massage Therapy Teaching Clinic and other community sites. Students receive a professional certificate in massage therapy upon successful completion. Students may enroll in either a day or evening program.12 The day program requires three academic trimesters to complete; the evening program requires four. 13


Northwestern Health Sciences University is located on a 25-acre (100,000 m2) campus in suburban Bloomington, Minn. The 230,000-square-foot (21,000 m2) main building was formerly a junior high school, but has since been renovated to accommodate the university containing s laboratories, lecture halls, classrooms, a library, a bookstore, three public clinics, an auditorium, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, a research center, and a swimming pool. 16. Construction projects include the addition of the Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies and the Greenawalt Library. The university is currently constructing a 48,000-square-foot (4,500 m2) Wolfe-Harris Center for Excellence.14

Founded on June 2, 1941, with just three students, Northwestern College of Chiropractic was first housed on the sixth floor of the W. T. Grant Department Store on Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The college quickly outgrew the space and relocated in 1949 to 2222 Park Ave., in Minneapolis.15

In 1974 Northwestern moved to a former Catholic grade school at 1834 Mississippi Blvd., in St. Paul, Minn. Over the next decade, the College continued to grow. By 1983 it had reached capacity and a new building was needed. Thanks to a $500,000 donation from Dan Gainey, a grateful chiropractic patient and owner of Jostens Inc., the college moved to its current site in Bloomington.


Currently 864 students are taking classes at Northwestern. The chiropractic program has 683 students; the acupuncture and Oriental medicine program has 112, and the massage therapy program 64 students.

Fifty-two percent of students on campus are female. In the acupuncture and Oriental medicine program, 78 percent of students are female; in the chiropractic program, 45 percent, and in the massage therapy program, 88 percent.

Nine percent of students on campus are a minority group or non-resident alien. In the acupuncture and Oriental medicine program, 9 percent of students are a minority or non-resident alien; in the chiropractic program, 7.7 percent, and in the massage therapy program, 9 percent.

Currently 56 percent of students are from Minnesota. Other states with a significant number of students attending Northwestern include Wisconsin (13 percent), North Dakota (7.5 percent), South Dakota (5.6 percent), and Iowa (3 percent). A total of 27 states are represented at Northwestern.

The average age of chiropractic students is 25.88. The average age for acupuncture and Oriental medicine students is 31.69. The average age for massage therapy students is 27.54.17

Student activities

Northwestern Health Sciences University has 42 student organizations, which comprise groups of students who share a common interest, either social or professional. The organizations reflect a wide range of interests, including an array of professional, political, social and recreational groups. Included among these many organizations are networks for international students and women students, opportunities for public speaking and engagement in public affairs, as well as the study of chiropractic methods and philosophy. These organizations provide ready opportunities for participation in these and other special interests, and for personal and professional growth. The University also provides and sponsors extracurricular clubs and activities throughout the year including aerobics, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, mountain biking, skiing, and martial arts.18

Student organizations include Activator Methods Club, Active Isolated Stretching Club, Aerobics and Fitness Club, Animal Chiropractic Club, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Research Club, the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Student Organization of the Midwest, Applied Kinesiology Club, Body by God Club, the Canadian Club, the Charrette Extremity Protocols Club, Chiropractic Neurology Club, Club Mariposa, Diversity Club, Energy Healing Club, Enterpreneur Club/Fast Track To Success, the Fitness Center Club, Flag Football, Functional Medicine Club, Gonstead Club, Graston In Action Club, Herb Club, Hockey Club, the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Student Alliance, the Martial Arts Studies Club, Massage Therapy Club, Motion Palpation Club, Nei Jing Club, Northwestern Golf Club, Northwestern Women in Health Care, On Purpose Club, Our Rhythm Club, Pediatric Club, Roots and Shoots, the Student American Chiropractic Association, the Student International Chiropractic Association, the Student Ambassador Club, Student Senate, The Master Minds Club, The Nia Technique Club, The Practice of Practice Club, The Rock Club, Torque Release Technique Club, Yearbook, and Yoga Club.19


Northwestern’s Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies, located on the Bloomington campus, houses one of the leading natural health care research centers in the United States. The Center’s two newest studies, focusing on back-related leg pain and integrative care for low back pain, pushed the University over the $7 million mark in funding from federal agencies. That is the largest amount of federal funding of any research center in the country focusing solely on natural health care research. In addition, the University’s research efforts are now being expanded to the other academic programs on campus. A limited study was conducted in 2006 in the teaching clinic of the Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and the Center recently completed a pilot study of massage therapy for tension headaches.20

Clinical services

The University is the largest provider of natural health care services in Minnesota, with more than 65,000 patient visits last year. The University operates five public clinics at the Twin Cities area, including the Bloomington Natural Care Center; the Edith Davis Teaching Clinic; and the University Health Service, all located on its campus in Bloomington, Minn. In addition, it operates the Burnsville Natural Care Center in Burnsville, Minn., and the Natural Care Center at Woodwinds, in Woodbury, Minn.

Community outreach

The university hosts nine major community events: a Dive-In Movie, a Bloomington Loves Its Kids Carnival, an annual Chinese New Year celebration, a Spring Egg Hunt and Festival, a Back in Shape Run, a summer concert, an annual health fair, Make a Difference Day, and a Halloween Party. Additionally, the university hosts monthly wellness seminars for the community.28


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. “Imagine Our Future” capital campaign piece, January 2007 15. “Roots: Building a Dream,” page 5 of Northwestern Naturally, Summer 2005 16. “Roots: Building a Dream,” page 5 of Northwestern Naturally, Summer 2005 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

External links

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