"Safe, effective, and affordable" says the U.S. Senate
Jud Richland, MPH, CEO
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
by: Jud Richland, MPH, CEO

Section: ED Update

Behind the curtain's mystic fold, the glowing future lies unrolled.

-Bret Harte
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1)  designates the week of October 7 through October 13, 2013, as ‘‘Naturopathic Medicine Week’’; (2)  recognizes the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care; and (3)  encourages the people of the United States to learn about naturopathic medicine and the role that naturopathic physicians play in preventing chronic and debilitating illnesses and conditions.
Those important words were adopted unanimously by the United States Senate on September 10 via Senate Resolution 221.  I especially like the “safe, effective, and affordable” part.
What else does the resolution do?  It recognizes that naturopathic physicians:
  • Are skilled in preventing and treating chronic disease;
  • Attend 4-year, graduate level programs at institutions that derive their accreditation from the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Reducehealth care costs because of their focus on:
  • Patient-centered care
  • Prevention of chronic illnesses
  • Early intervention in the treatment of chronic illnesses;
  • Help address the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States; and
  • Provide consumers with more choice in health care.
Our primary challenge as a profession is helping the public separate naturopathic medicine fact from fiction.  In that sense, the resolution represents only one step, albeit an important one.  Still, it offers our community a spectacular opportunity to coalesce around Naturopathic Medicine Week and further our efforts to increase public understanding of naturopathic medicine.
I’m of course proud that AANP was the catalyst for Naturopathic Medicine Week.  We’re doing everything we can to support you in celebrating it the second week of October.  On our web page are any number of resources you can use, ranging from a downloadable NMW logo, to an educational PowerPoint presentation, to a sample news release and letter to the editor. 
Ultimately, though, it’s in your hands to capitalize on the opportunity. You’re only limited by your creativity in finding ways to celebrate NMW.  We have some ideas for things you might do, but the ideas are only a beginning:
  • Give a talk at your local health food store, grocery store, library or school
  • Hold an open house
  • Collaborate on a health or nutrition fair with your fellow health care professionals
  • Write a letter or op/ed for your local paper
  • Get your patients, friends, and family to blog about naturopathic medicine
  • Sponsor a fun run or walk
  • Ask your business partners and vendors to support and promote your event or put on their own event
  • Ask your mayor or governor to issue a proclamation recognizing the Week
As you plan your celebration, please please please make sure to use the “Submit an Event” button on the web page to let us know your plans.  In order for us to take full advantage of NMW and to build the case for future NMWs, we need to capture and then let people know about the breadth of activities across the country.
It’s also fitting that I acknowledge our DC FLI attendees from this past May.  Altogether, they visited more than 100 congressional offices and their primary ask was passage of the Naturopathic Medicine Week resolution.  I guess they were persuasive!
One way I know that the Senate resolution is meaningful is that its passage has stirred up the anti-ND blogosphere.  No doubt the bloggers are passionate about their beliefs.  Their passion is exceeded, though, by that of our patients – who are ever grateful for the help they’ve received from NDs in restoring their health.
Naturopathic Medicine Week is a special opportunity for our community to coalesce and to let the world know what we do.  Please seize the opportunity to make October 7-13 a week to remember.
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