Meet Our Passionate Leaders and Healers
Attending SUNM is a formative experience. Our passionate faculty, supportive staff and tight knit community will heighten your overall understanding of the body and holistic wellness. SUNM is dedicated to providing the best Naprapathic education to our students.
Dr. Patrick Nuzzo D.N.
Dr. Patrick Nuzzo D.N. is the founder and president of Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine (SUNM). Dr. Nuzzo started his journey in Complementary Medicine (CAM) in 1974 when he began his studies to become a 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 foods industry including a sports nutrition line for Walter Payton whom he partnered with in the venture, and developed products for Kraft General Foods and Anheuser Busch.
In 1979, he began Naprapathic education and graduated 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, New Mexico; 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 college and grant the degree of Doctor of Naprapathic Medicine. In 2006, he incorporated SUNM and began the process of accreditation in 2007 after developing the curriculum for the Naprapathic degree.
Dr. Kirsten LaVista D.N.
Dr. Kirsten LaVista graduated from Arizona State University in 1993. She worked in the sales and medical fields from 1993-2000. Dr. LaVista graduated from the National College of Naprapathy in 2000. She introduced Naprapathy to several corporate accounts in the Chicagoland area from 2000-2004. Dr. LaVista moved to Santa Fe in November 2004, and opened the first licensed Naprapathic office in the state of New Mexico with Dr. Nuzzo. She is co-owner of Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine.
Dr. Tony Zayner DN, MSEd, MSOM, CM, CH
Dr. Tony Zayner lived and worked in China for 12 years where he studied Mandarin, Tai Chi, Tui Na, Thai massage, Chinese medicine, painting, and calligraphy. When he returned from China in 2000, he graduated from the Soma Institute for clinical massage in 2001. In 2004, he was certified as a Clinical Hypnotist by the Liedecker Institute. In 2005, he graduated from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine with a BSN and MSOM in Chinese Medicine. He graduated from the National University of Naprapathic Medicine in 2009. Tony has taught at that school and at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine from 2006-2011. Tony practices as a Naprapath in Santa Fe.
Dr. Beau Hightower DN,DC, DAAPM, MS, CSCS, CES FMS-C, MMACS, FDM
Dr. Beau B 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 Residency was completed in Bogota, Colombia where he treated the country’s Olympic athletes at the Coldeportes training facility. He has practiced and held licenses in Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Dr. Hightower graduated with the highest honors from California University with a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Sciences. He possesses over 400 hours of post-doctoral education in physical rehabilitation and functional neurology and is pursuing his PhD in Brain and Rehabilitation Sciences as well. Dr Hightower has achieved the prestigious credential of Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management. He enjoys teaching and is currently a clinical instructor at Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine where he teaches doctoral students in manual medicine.
Dr. Charlsey McDonald PT, DPT
Charlsey is a native New Mexican who received her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 2011. She began her career at Lovelace in an acute care setting. “Dr. Char” brings valuable clinical experience from a variety of clinical settings to the practice. Charlsey has a passion for manual physical therapy, sports specific therapy, being involved with the geriatric population, and studying neuro-networking in the body.
Her experience has been in geriatrics, pediatrics and outpatient orthopedic settings. She has a passion for helping people live healthy and active lives and has maintained outstanding relationships with the best Orthopedic Surgeons in New Mexico as they trust her clinical judgement. She is certified in dry-needle therapy which does wonders for tight muscles.
Dr. McDonald recently served as the official Physical Therapist for the award winning play, Matilda. She was asked to join them based on her reputation for outstanding and innovative treatment.
Doctor Travis Mason DC, MS
Start your Complementary Medicine Journey Today…
As a catalyst for the Naprapathic movement, SUNM aims to advance the Complementary and Allied Health industry with the superior quality and professionalism of its graduates. If you’re ready for a rewarding career as a Naprapathic doctor, Contact Us and we’ll help you get started! Or give us a call at 1-505-467-8777 to speak to a friendly admissions professional today.