Kurt Donsbach’s Phony Naturopathy Degree

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
June 23, 2006

Kurt Donsbach would like you to believe that he earned a doctor of naturopathy (N.D.) degree. His 1975 application for a naturopathy license in Oregon claimed that he had graduated from the Hollywood College of Naturopathy [1]. Oregon issued a license but later determined that his “diploma” was forged and his application was fraudulent.
In 2006, after seeing information I had posted about this, Donsbach published the following account:

We come now to the allegation that my Naturopathic degree was a forgery. THIS IS AN UNEQUIVOCALLY FALSE STATEMENT. IN FACT, IT IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE! I submitted to the Oregon Board of Naturopathy the following: My credentials as a chiropractor (these credentials in themselves include over 90% of the educational requirements for a degree in Naturopathy); My studies of several months performed at the Hollywood College of Chiropractic and Naturopathy. These submissions were accepted and I became a candidate for the examination for license. This was a three-day exam, written as well as oral; with the oral section being performed by and before a committee of licensed naturopaths who administer the oral examination of practical knowledge. I passed their examinations and was issued a license in Oregon to practice naturopathic medicine in Oregon. I did not practice in Oregon and permitted the license to lapse after four or five years [2].

I have been collecting documents about Donsbach and his activities since the early 1970s. Here are my relevant findings:

  • Donsbach’s naturopathy license application included documents which stated that “Kurt W. Donsbock”[misspelled] had taken pre-medical courses at Los Angeles City College from September 1954 through September 1956 [3] and then attended “Hollywood College School of Naturopathic Physicians and Surgeons” for four years during which he earned credit for 5,058 hours of naturopathic medicine [3].
  • Donsbach’s alleged naturopathic diploma from the “The Hollywood College of Naturopathy” was dated “June 17st,” 1960. [4]
  • The application also included a certificate dated June 1960 from California Doctor’s Hospital stating that Donsbach had completed an internship [5].
  • In a 1989 deposition, Donsbach testified that he went to chiropractic college in 1953, immediately following high school. He began at Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa but transferred to Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon, from which he received his chiropractic degree in 1957 [6].
  • In a 1985 deposition, Donsbach testified that after graduation from Western States, he had practiced chiropractic in Montana until 1961 [7].
  • In a 1990 depostion, when Donsbach was asked whether his naturopathy diploma was forged, his attorney directed him not to answer the question [8].

Putting this all together, it appears that Donsbach swore during depositions that from 1953 through 1961 that he attended chiropractic college in Davenport Iowa, transferred to another chiropractic college in Portland, Oregon and then practiced chiropractic in Montana. But he also swore on his Oregon naturopathy license application that from 1954 through 1960 that he attended schools and a hospital in Los Angeles. Perhaps some day he will explain how he could be in two places at the same time for six years.

Donsbach’s claim that he let his license lapse after four or five years is also false. In 1990 (after he had been licensed for about 15 years), the Oregon Office of Educational Policy and Planning examined his license application and concluded:

After considerable investigation, we find that the diploma is not authentic. In addition to “17st day of June,” the diploma copy contains several very obvious internal inconsistencies in spacing, line, and calligraphy. It is not copied from an integral diploma. Instead it is, with a different name of recipient, a copy identical to one that has been determined by the Arizona Department of Public Safety to be a photocopy manipulation, derived from an actual chiropractic diploma of one Hollywood College School of Chiropractic.

This office has further determined:

  1. that separate sworn depositions, obtained by the State of Arizona from a dean and a board president of Hollywood College, affirm that the college did not offer any naturopathic education or degree in 1960;
  2. that a 1961 commencement program from the Hollywood College indicates no naturopathic faculty or ceremony, while it names, as a 1961 chiropractic graduate, a person who submitted to Arizona the same 1960 naturopathic diploma as yours;
  3. that creation of the Hollywood College naturopathic diploma copy, using parts of the school’s authentic chiropractic diploma, required xerographic reduction technology, which did not exist until 1969;
  4. that documents purportedly from three different institutions in two states carry your name with the same misspelling and in essentially the same calligraphy; and
  5. that all of the signatures on the ND “diploma” from Hollywood College appear to have been written by the same hand; but in any case that the signatures include “Jesse Lester MD,” despite the fact that Lester reported no MD in his 1963 naturopathic license application to the State of Arizona [9].

When Donsbach failed to respond, the Oregon authorities informed him that he could no longer legally claim to be licensed as a naturopath in Oregon.

  1. Donsbach KD. Application for licensure to practice naturopathy, May 15, 1975.
  2. Wholistic Life, Vol 1, No 1. Undated, accessed online in March 2006.
  3. Transcript record of Kurt W. Donsbock. Hollywood College School of Naturopathic Physicians and Surgeons, June 17th, 1960.
  4. Diploma, The Hollywood College School of Naturopathy, June 17st, 1960.
  5. Certificate from California Doctor’s Hospital, June 1960.
  6. Donsbach KD. Deposition in Renner v. Kurt Donsbach, Peter Joseph Lisa, Maureen Salaman, Clinton Miller et al. Case No. 88-0838-CV-W-9, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Western Division. May 18, 1989, p 20-22.
  7. Donsbach KD. Deposition in Stake v. Hoffman La Roche, Jacob Woolfson, Betty Woolfson, and Kurt W. Donsbach. Case No. 84-L-453, Circuit Court of the 6th Judicial District, Champign County, Illinois, Jan 28, 1985, pp 8-13.
  8. Donsbach KD. Deposition in Herbert v. American Quack Association et al. Case No. C 87-3189, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa, Central Division, p 52.
  9. Young DA. Letter to Kurt W. Donsbach, May 14, 1990.

This page was posted onJune 23, 2006.