Helfgott employs experienced faculty in the fields of nutrition, psychology, immunology, whole systems research, and acupuncture, among other natural medicine research faculty, to carry out natural medicine clinical trials. Further, Helfgott faculty work with conventional biomedical researchers, using groundbreaking technology to study ancient traditions. A donation from Don Helfgott has helped fund the state-of-the-art basic science laboratory, as well as the resources to carry out clinical research.
Dedicated to the advancement of natural medicine, Helfgott was founded with the goals of training students and faculty interested in conducting research, collaborating with other research institutes and organizations, and conducting research specifically on naturopathic and Chinese medicine. At Helfgott, scientists from the fields of naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, immunology, and nutrition work together to apply their expertise to the study of natural medicine. “Our philosophy is that every study is a collaboration,” notes Zwickey, emphasizing the importance of collaborative research at Helfgott. Studies at Helfgott almost always involve external organizations, which “not only strengthens the study, but those relationships are what ultimately get natural medicine accepted in some of these more mainstream places.” Current faculty research projects at Helfgott include grants directly funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
In addition, Helfgott participates in several collaborative grants with Oregon Health & Sciences University as well as with other Western biomedical and naturopathic schools. In addition to working with external health organizations nationwide, Helfgott is largely involved in the local community as well. “One of the things that we’ve been doing is being the conduit for people in Portland to learn about who’s in their community and what type of research they’re doing,” says Zwickey. Helfgott is active not only at the local level, but at national and international levels as well.
“We envision Helfgott as the premier natural medicine research institute. Our vision includes a consortium of researchers from naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, physical medicine, energy medicine, and other natural medicine disciplines. We envision an institute based on health rather than disease. We see a think tank that develops new innovative approaches to healthcare, and clinical floors where these approaches can be piloted. We see the development of research moving away from treating symptoms, and moving toward promoting health.” —From Helfgott Research Institute’s vision