In 1996, Bastyr University moved its educational facilities from Seattle to a new campus about 10 miles north in Kenmore, Washington. Since that time, Bastyr has grown to become one of the largest colleges of natural healing in the country. It has also attracted the attention of city officials in Everett, some 19 miles north of Kenmore - so much so, in fact, that Everett recently formed a task force, with the hope of bringing some of Bastyr's educational, research and clinical programs to the city and neighboring Snohomish County.
According to Bastyr spokesperson Kathleen Warren, the creation of the Everett task force marked the first time the university has been pursued by another community.
"They came to us highly enthusiastic," Warren said in an April interview with the Seattle Times. "It's unique and exciting to us ... I think we can make a difference in the health of the community and the education of Everett."
Lanie McMullin, Everett's executive director, noted that the city has pursued Bastyr in order to help fill "gaps" in some of the services that are offered to its citizens, and to help revitalize the community.
"Some gaps exist in the way of the need for people to complete four-year degrees," she said. "Some exist in the need for medical care. And we lack the vitality of young, educated folks in our community."
The task force will examine what kind of presence Bastyr would have in the community, either by establishing a clinic, a branch campus or a research facility in the area. Having a branch campus could allow residents to obtain one of several degrees the university offers, including naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, behavioral science, nutrition and exercise science, health psychology, and herbal science. However, McMullin added that any move into Everett would take two to five years.
In addition to a possible branch campus, Providence Everett Medical Center has considered including Bastyr as part of a new cancer center currently in the planning stages.
"Many people are using vitamins, acupuncture and nutrition as a complement to medicine that physicians prescribe," explained Gail Larson, Providence's chief executive. "Wouldn't it be great if we can knowingly incorporate these things?"
Bastyr President Dr. Thomas Shepherd said that a partnership with Providence and other health care providers in the county would be of interest to the university.
"We are on the same wavelength here," Shepherd said. "We could build a collaborative system where natural and conventional medicine work together - a system that can provide better health care."
Shepherd added that Bastyr is working with Everett Community College about creating programs for students who would want to transfer after receiving an associate's degree at the community college.
Tuinstra R. Everett tries to lure Bastyr University. Seattle Times April 22, 2004.