Press Release: Christine Girard Named President of National University Of Natural Medicine
The National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) Board of Directors has appointed Christine Girard, ND, MPH, as the 18th president of NUNM. Dr. Girard will succeed David J. Schleich, PhD, who is retiring from the position after 12 years of service. Girard, a 1997 NUNM graduate, will assume the post July 1.
“I am truly honored for the privilege to serve as the next president of NUNM, where I first learned leadership as a student more than 20 years ago,” Girard said. “I look forward to working together with NUNM’s dedicated faculty and staff, whose unwavering commitment to educational excellence and student success is changing the world in which we live. I am grateful to all those who have come before me, leaving a strong legacy upon which I can continue to build, bringing NUNM to its next level of growth.”
With more than 20 years of academic, clinical and hospital-based leadership, Girard brings significant experience and a deep understanding of natural medicine within the rapidly changing field of health care. Her career has focused on integrative medicine and undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.
In September 2018, NUNM established a nine-member presidential search committee tasked to find NUNM’s next president. The committee—comprised of a broad coalition of representatives, including members of the university’s board of directors, administration, faculty, staff and students—selected the new president from a roster of candidates who applied for the position from across the United States and overseas.
“Under Dr. Schleich’s dynamic and enduring stewardship, NUNM has reached a pivotal stage of growth,” said NUNM Board Chair Willow Moore, DC, ND, and chair of the presidential search committee. “Our next president must be someone who deeply understands our mission and unique identity, and can immediately build on our long, rich history in the development of natural medicine in North America. Dr. Girard brings a depth of academic, clinical and business expertise, as well as a passion for student education and natural medicine. We are thrilled to have her join us.”
Girard served as executive vice president at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in Tempe, Arizona, for more than 10 years. There she provided oversight of SCNM’s clinical, academic and research enterprises. Her accomplishments included helping to lead strategic planning for a campus master plan revision; and successfully fundraising and supervising the design and build of several community clinics and a 48,000-square-foot LEED Platinum mixed-use facility. She also led a complete curriculum revision and gained approval for the SCNM residency program. In addition, Girard achieved a number of partnerships and accreditation successes—among them, an articulation agreement with the University of Arizona College of Public Health for a joint ND/MPH program for SCNM students.
Prior to SCNM, Girard was appointed the director of naturopathic medicine at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (SRMC), a Cancer Treatment Centers of America Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she provided integrative oncology care, had oversight of a staff of NDs, expanded the department’s services to include acupuncture, and participated in the planning and design of SRMC’s new hospital.
In 1999, Girard co-founded and co-directed with David L. Katz, MD, MPH, the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital, a Yale-affiliated acute care community hospital in Derby, Connecticut. She provided outpatient and in-patient clinical care, and taught undergraduate and postgraduate medical education across medical disciplines. While at Griffin Hospital, she created an integrative medicine residency program for naturopathic physicians in conjunction with the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. She was also a clinical research specialist in complementary and alternative clinical research at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, helping attract substantial research funding for the center.
Girard is a former board member of the American Association of Naturopathic Medicine (AANP) and the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit doctoral programs in naturopathic medicine. She was named Physician of the Year by the AANP in 2010, the highest honor a naturopathic physician can receive; it is awarded in recognition of an individual’s dedicated leadership and achievement on behalf of the naturopathic profession.
In addition to her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from NUNM, Girard received a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Services Administration from the University of Arizona, where she has been a member of the faculty in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, teaching both undergraduate and master’s level public health online programs.
“Dr. Girard demonstrates a strong and collaborative leadership style that unifies diverse constituencies, as well as a personal commitment to NUNM and the values that guide us in all we do,” said Moore. “Her strategic vision for the future of health care will help NUNM continue to build its future as a world-class university and a leader in natural medicine.”