Interview with AANP President, Kasra Pournadeali, ND
3/19/2015
Kasra Pournadeali, ND
Thursday, March 19, 2015
by: Kasra Pournadeali, ND

Section: President's Column




What do you want to accomplish while you are AANP President?
 
Ever since I was a student, my commitment was and it remains to help our graduates be successful, expand the reach of our medicine, and help those that need us access us. As President of AANP, my charge is no different. I just now get to facilitate this calling by leading the board, supporting AANP staff, and representing our profession in a way that moves our programs forward.
 
How is AANP today supporting the success of doctors and students?
 
Several ways! Let’s take a few of examples. First, we provide two signature events for our doctors and students to rejuvenate amongst their community: The AANP Annual Conference which provides quality CE and unmatched opportunities to connect, while our legislative training, The DC FLI, is a place to learn / hone skills in advocacy, and participate on federal initiatives in the halls of congress. I strongly encourage everyone to attend these events, and registration is open for both now. Second, we have a very effective Find a ND tool on the AANP website that receives four thousand views daily from prospective patients. Third, we provide a job board and training in our member resource library to help doctors who are starting or building a practice. These are just a few practical benefits justifying the value of membership.
 
What is the AANP working on?
 
The people of AANP carry out several programs, designed to increase opportunities for our doctors and students. We have programs in Advocacy, Public Awareness, Education, and Member support. For example, our State Advocacy program includes supporting states by providing strategy, experts, an extensive resource library, trainings, communications, and even funding. Our Federal Advocacy program includes efforts toward universal implementation of coverage for naturopathic physicians through the affordable care act, inclusion of naturopathic medicine in the VA, and overcoming archaic Medicare language that currently excludes coverage for seniors who want to see naturopathic doctors. These are only a few examples of the multiple programs we have underway at AANP. You can read more by browsing the AANP website.
 
What are the goals of the AANP?
 
The AANP works on a model where the Board of Directors defines “End Statements.” Here is an one example: Naturopathic physicians (NDs) will have the opportunity to be professionally and financially successful. With input from the elected board, these “Ends” statements are translated by our staff into projects described in a two year “Work Plan” which is then implemented by staff with help from volunteers. A few programs for our 2014-2015 Work Plan include Inclusion of NDs in the VA, Inclusion of NDs in Medicare, Protecting ND access to Compounded Medications, Launching a Consumer Website in cooperation with the Institute of Natural Medicine; and, providing additional Educational Opportunities for our members. All our goals, statements and programs considered, the overarching intent of the AANP is to help our doctors, graduates, and students succeed.
 
What obstacle(s) does AANP face?
 
The profession’s biggest limitation is economic. Our programs and their rate of progress are restricted only by available funding. Generally speaking our profession is outspent in lobbying at the state and national level by a factor of anywhere from 20 to 100. The good news is that the environment is changing. With our DC FLI, and effective state leadership, we are making progress. We’ve seen an up tick in our legislative successes, and with congressional declaration of Naturopathic Medicine Week, more NDs providing care to lawmakers, and more NDs in media; despite our small numbers, we are having considerable impact. As more of us step up and support our causes, the faster we will get things done.
 
Why should people support the AANP?
 
Imagine NDs licensed in every state, reimbursed equitably, and included in every state and federal health care program. Every person knows what an ND does, and has access to an ND. The health care system is patient-centered and includes NDs and our philosophy of wellness, health promotion, and prevention. And, every graduate has the opportunity to thrive in a setting of his/her choice. This vision is attainable with all of us participating. The rate at which we move toward them is directly proportional to our investment. Every membership and every contribution matters.
 
Why am I a personally a member of the AANP? In all honesty, I wasn’t always. I am today though, and also a member of several state associations. Having served as a volunteer, I’ve learned, that it’s not an organization I’m supporting, it’s the people—who are making personal sacrifices to improve things for all of us. Their sacrifices matter. And, as much and as long as I can, I will support them with my time, money, energy and voice. I challenge you to do the same.  Our profession and the people that make it great are a gift to us. Recognize it, and stand with your colleagues as we do nature’s work together!
 
“Dr. P.” Kasra Pournadeali, ND, President of the AANP, is Director of the Northwest Center for Optimal Health in Washington State. He has been a health care provider since 1988, and has advocated for his profession since 1999.  Send your questions to the President by email to president@naturopathic.org
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