December 2010: Acknowledging Our Achievements at Year’s End
With the official arrival of winter a mere few days away, I ponder our reluctance as a society to pause and reflect. Too often we fail to acknowledge our achievements, be they incremental or monumental, instead choosing to focus on wins and losses, victories and failures. Language is important. Here in Washington the language of war permeates the halls of Congress. There is little room for talk of prosperity or progress, and possibility has become the new five-letter word. At the AANP, each achievement, personal and professional, is acknowledged by the ring of a small bell. During this holiday season I will choose to pause when the silence of winter is broken by a chorus of bells, in recognition of the potential value in each effort, great and small, with the knowledge that we may not see the fruit born by the seeds we plant today.
So I thank the hundreds of you who have volunteered your time and passion to support the next generation of naturopathic doctors. The efforts of our leaders in every state affiliate exemplify our own possibility. Naturopathic stakeholders in our schools and specialty societies demonstrate the importance of collaboration. With our coalitions and external relationships we create new community. Collectively, we have the ability to create our own integrative future.
A shining example of our collective work is reflected in the recent work of the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education.
The Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), represented by Executive Director Dan Seitz and President Rita Bettenburg, ND, appeared before the National Advisory Committee for Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) on December 1, 2010. NACIQI is the advisory committee responsible for evaluating the credentials of all accrediting agencies and this hearing was to issue a formal recommendation to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) regarding re-recognition of the CNME. In approximately five minutes, the Committee was presented with a short summary on CNME, the USDE staff presented the Department’s recommendation for a 5-year renewal (the maximum allowed) with no adverse findings, and the NACIQI members voted unanimously to recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Post Secondary Education renew CNME’s recognition for five years. The Assistant Secretary has 90 days on which to act on the NACIQI recommendation.
These five minutes represents fifteen years of work. The CNME, its Board, and its legal team (along with the support of David Matteson) have worked diligently to educate the USDE on the quality of naturopathic medical education. Over the years, the AANP and AANMC have worked closely with the CNME and its team to establish strong relationships in USDE to benefit this effort.
This five-year renewal is testimony to the professionalism of CNME and the federal process. USDE recognition is an essential cornerstone in the acceptance of naturopathic medicine as a legitimate medical field; without recognition, gaining state and provincial licensure for ND’s would be far more difficult, if not impossible in many cases.