Advisory Board

The SUNM Advisory Board is comprised of two internal and three external members. Advisory Board members represent a cross section of manual medicine, higher education, business, and government affairs. A diversity of perspectives is an important aspect of the Advisory Board’s function. Prospective Advisory Board members are identified by existing Advisory Board members or members of SUNM faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Directors.

Professor John D. Blum

BlumProfessor Blum is a Beazley Professor of Health Law Policy at Loyola University Chicago and an adjunct professor of medical humanities in Loyola & Stritch School of Medicine, Department of Medicine. Prior to coming to Loyola, Professor Blum held positions on the faculties of Penn State and Boston University, and was a teaching fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. In the spring of 1993 he was a visiting professor at Osgoode Hall and the University of British Columbia Faculties of Law under the auspices of the U.S.-Canada Fulbright program. He has served as a consultant to USAID in Indonesia where he worked on the development of a curriculum in public health law for use in schools of public health. He has many years of experience in health law and policy, and is very active in research in these areas, with a particular focus on legal issues in medical quality assurance.

Rick Miera

Rick MieraRick Miera earned a B.A. and a B.S. from the University of Albuquerque in 1973. He has worked as a therapist, drug counselor, and program administrator for over 40 years working primarily with young adults and at-risk populations. He served as Coordinator of the drug/alcohol program at the University of New Mexico’s Department of Psychiatry, Bernalillo County Mental Health Center. He is a licensed alcohol/drug counselor and former Director of Ayuda, a drug-counseling program and mental health facility serving Juveniles in Bernalillo County. Rick is also a successful small business owner. He served as a 12-term New Mexico State Representative for District 11, representing the downtown corridor of Albuquerque. He is a former Chairman of the House Education Committee and the House Labor and Human Resources Committee, a former Co-Chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee, a former House Majority Leader and served in several other capacities.

Dr. Patrick Nuzzo

Dr. Patrick Nuzzo

Patrick Nuzzo started his journey in Integrative Medicine in 1974 when he began his studies to become a functional nutritionist. He worked as an independent contractor in the natural foods industry formulating, marketing and distributing nutritional supplements. Dr. Nuzzo developed several lines of nutritional supplements for the natural food industry including a sports nutrition line for Hall of Fame football star, Walter Payton whom he partnered with in the venture, and developed products for Kraft General Foods and Anheuser Busch.

Dr. Patrick Nuzzo D.N. is the co-founder and president of Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine (SUNM). In 1979, he began his Naprapathic education and graduated from the National College of Naprapathic Medicine in 1983. Since then Dr. Nuzzo has opened, staffed and managed successful Naprapathic practices in Santa Barbara, California; Arlington Heights, Illinois; Lake Zurich, Illinois; Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 2000 he helped introduce the Naprapathic Practice Act of New Mexico and in 2004 got it signed into law making it possible for Naprapaths to practice in New Mexico. In 2006, Dr. Nuzzo was issued a license in New Mexico to open a Naprapathic University and grant the degree of Doctor of Naprapathic Medicine and Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SUNM) was incorporated. It took the team four years to develop the curriculum for the Doctor of Naprapathic Degree (DN).

In 2010, SUNM opened its doors and began offering the DN degree. In 2014, the first Naprapathic class graduated, In 2015, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) was petitioned to accredit SUNM, In 2016, DEAC accepted the petition.

In 2021 SUNM became the first Naprapathic school in the United States ever accredited, as of 2023, 50 Naprapaths have graduated from SUNM.

In 2023, introduced AB153 in the Nevada Legislature allowing Naprapaths to practice and be licensed. AB 153 passed unanimously and was signed into law.

LeAnne Smith

LeAnne SmithLeAnne Smith holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Case Western Reserve University and is currently a Professor of Dance at Texas State University where she has been a faculty member since 1983. Directing the program for 13 years, she is delighted to be back to full time teaching. She serves as the Artistic Director for Opening Door Dance Theatre, founded with Karen Earl and Sandy Rodriquez in 1984.

In July 2016, LeAnne served as the on-site coordinator for the Body Mind Centering North American International Conference, and in September 2016 served as coordinator and dance liaison for Engagement: Philosophy and Dance International Symposium, both held at Texas State University. She was also a member of the Academic Course Guide Manual Committee for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

LeAnne is the granddaughter of Dr. Oakley Smith, founder of Naprapathy. As the granddaughter of Smith, LeAnne was a featured speaker at the 100th Anniversary Celebrations for both the Scandinavian University-College of Manual Medicine in Stockholm in 2007, and the National College of Naprapathic Medicine, Chicago in 2008. In 2009, she was again asked to speak at the Graduation Ceremony for the Scandinavian University-College of Manual Medicine. A recipient of the Texas State Presidential Award for Scholarly/Creative Activities, LeAnne has actively choreographed and performed nationally and internationally throughout her four-decade career. Additionally, Somatic Studies continue to be a vital part of her ongoing practical research. LeAnne resides in San Marcos, Texas with several four-footed companions.

Tanya L. Haggins, JD, LLM

Tanya L. Haggins

Tanya L. Haggins has served as President and founder of Lakewood University for over 22 years. Lakewood University is a 100% online, accredited college offering MBA, bachelor’s and associate degrees as well as certificate programs in the medical, information technology, business and legal fields.

Tanya earned her LL.M. degree (Master of Laws) from Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Miami School of Law as well as a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University. Tanya served as a mediator for Juvenile Court in Cuyahoga, Ohio. Her innovative methods in mediation helped to keep families together.

Ms. Haggins received the Peacemaker of the Year Award from Congressman Denis Kucinich of Ohio for her contributions in dispute resolution. She was also named as a Trailblazer of the Year from the National Council of Negro Women. Ms. Haggins is the author of “How to Make it Big Resolving Disputes.”

Tanya has more than 35 years of experience in business as an educator, negotiator, manager, administrator, consultant, arbitrator and mediator. She is also a military veteran of the United States Air Force.

Ms. Haggins believes mentoring is a powerful tool. Each summer she selects two to five teenagers who she mentors through the Youth Opportunities Unlimited program. As a result, some of these same students become long term employees and have matriculated to college because of her time, effort and leadership.

Dr. Beau Hightower

A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Hightower earned the first of three Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology from the University of New Mexico. Subsequent Bachelor of Science degrees in Anatomy, followed by Health and Wellness were earned. Dr. Hightower graduated with honors from Parker University where he earned his DC degree. His Sports Medicine Internship was completed in Bogota, Colombia where he treated the country’s Olympic athletes at the Coldeportes training facility. Dr. Hightower graduated with the highest honors from California University where he earned a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Sciences.

Dr. Hightower has been recognized as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the Commission of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Continuing his post-graduate education, Dr. Hightower has also been recognized by The National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Corrective Exercise Specialist.

He has successfully treated NFL players, major league baseball players, national champion NCAA wrestlers, champion UFC fighters, Ironman triathletes, elite marathon runners, Olympic athletes, and IFBB professional bodybuilders. He is the sports medicine doctor for Jackson’s MMA and was recently appointed to the medical staff for the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Dr. Hightower is vocal in the support of his alma mater at the University of New Mexico and the Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine.

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