What would it be like if naturopathic medicine were integrated into our culture, our healthcare options, our medical system in the way you’ve imagined it would be? I think for each of us, that likely looks a bit different, but perhaps we all envision a day where when asked what you do for work, you can answer, “I am a naturopathic physician,” and have people enthusiastically nod, knowing exactly what your training is and that you treated their mother, brother or friend with success.
Whatever your vision is, getting involved is the way to make it happen.
... it is rare that you enter a congressional office with a staff that has never heard of what you do...
That was my purpose in attending the first DC FLI
as a student 11 years ago. There, we received education on how a bill becomes a law (think more Schoolhouse Rocks versus House of Cards version, thankfully!). We were educated on the issues of the time, and then we were sent to the Hill to build relationships and share information about what we do. The road has been well paved since that time- it is rare that you enter a congressional office with a staff that has never heard of what you do.
Attending the DC FLI has helped me in my professional life in so many ways. First, learning to communicate who you are, your point of view and key objectives in only a few minutes is a good skill to have and will be applicable to communication with patients, partners, and anyone else you come in contact with. Second, the process you learn at the FLI applies in most states, advancing naturopathic medicine locally as well. I took my technical learnings from the FLI as well as the confidence I’d gained speaking with congressional staff and brought it back to my home state, New Hampshire, to guide a team to achieve passage of a bill to gain insurance coverage for NDs. I never would have known where to start, how to engage a lobbyist, or how to refine our message had it not been for the FLI.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the DC FLI was by far the best networking opportunity for me as a student. I had the chance to meet, work with, and lobby alongside some of the best and brightest in our profession. Their enthusiasm and leadership was (and is) contagious. Each year I attend, I am re-inspired and learn from mentors who have been in our field for decades as well as students who bring fresh ideas of what they would like to see for our profession.
The DC FLI attracts leaders on a state and federal level- gathering together for a meeting of minds. It is where the most exciting work of the AANP happens. I hope you’ll join me in being a part of it this year. Other than my wedding anniversary, it’s the only thing I’ve not missed in 11 years!