The University was founded by John Fitz Alan Howard, DC, in 1906 in Davenport, Iowa, as the National School of Chiropractic. It was moved to Chicago in 1908 to access a more rigorously scientific academic culture. National's first home was at 1732 W. Congress St., across from the Presbyterian Hospital, where it was chartered and incorporated under the laws of the state of Illinois.
Enrollment increased and National moved to larger quarters in 1920 when a five-story stone and brick building was purchased at 20 N. Ashland Blvd. The institution's name was then legally changed to The National College of Chiropractic. The Chicago General Health Service clinic was established in 1927 in connection with the college.
In 1963, The National College of Chiropractic moved to 20 acres of farmland in suburban Lombard, Illinois. It was later discovered the plot had once been the site of the sanitarium of Dr. George E. Boffenmeyer. Dr. Boffenmeyer espoused the principles of hydrotherapeutics, fasting and massage, uncannily close to the pre-chiropractic clinical interests of John Fitz Allan Howard. (Visit National's historic sites for more information.)
Since 1978, National has published the only refereed, internationally and MEDLINE indexed, chiropractic scientific journal, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. It also publishes the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, and through electronic format, the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, both peer-reviewed indexed journals.
In 1999, National became the first, and remains the only, chiropractic college to require a baccalaureate degree for admission. National was also the first institution with a chiropractic program to develop and use a specialized training and assessment center and the first to install and use an MRI for patient and research purposes.
National has long been a leader in chiropractic education and has been at the forefront in:
The chiropractic college started evolving into a university concept between 1993 and September 2000, when it officially became known as National University of Health Sciences. National University operates teaching clinics and other opportunities for its students: the Student Clinic, National University Whole Health Centers in Aurora, Chicago, and Lombard, Ill., and at the Caruth Health Center in St. Petersburg, Fla., and two Salvation Army Clinics. Select interns participate in learning rotations at a Veteran's Administration Center in Danville, Ill., the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Ill., Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., and/or Community Based Internships and Ancillary Clinical Experiences.
The Massage Therapy Certification Program was introduced in 1999 as part of the university's plan to expand its program offerings. In 2004, the University added a prerequisite program offering undergraduate level science courses for students needing prerequisite course credit for admission into professional degree programs. In 2005, the university added a bachelor of science degree completion program, as well as fully accredited master's degrees in both diagnostic imaging and advanced clinical practice. In 2006, the university began offering the doctor of naturopathic medicine degree as well as master's degrees in acupuncture and oriental medicine.
In 2008, the National University formed a partnership with St. Petersburg College (SPC) in St. Petersburg, Fla., to offer the doctor of chiropractic degree as part of SPC's University Partnership Center. The first class was seated in September 2009.