Dear Dr. Pournadeali and Representatives from The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians:
Thank you so much for inviting me to your annual legislation conference and for selecting me to receive your 2014 Congressional Champion Award. I wish I could have been there in person to meet with you, receive the award, and talk about the importance of raising awareness about prevention and integrative approaches to health, but a busy Appropriations Committee schedule has prevented my attendance.
You should know that I am so proud of the work you do every single day. As you are well aware, more than seventy-five percent of U.S. health care costs are due to preventable chronic illnesses. Seventy-five percent! As you also know, naturopathic medicine can help reduce this number significantly. By focusing on holistic patient-centered care, the prevention of chronic illnesses, and early intervention in the treatment of chronic illness, naturopathic medicine is able to improve health outcomes and reduce overall health costs.
That’s why last year, with your input, support and collaboration, I introduced S.Res. 221. This Resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously, established the first-ever Naturopathic Medicine Week in October of 2013. We wanted to raise awareness of the important work done by naturopathic doctors and I believe we did just that! It was my honor to introduce the Resolution again this year – S. Res. 420 - and I am so proud that Senator Tom Harkin agreed to cosponsor. He is a dear friend, trusted colleague, and long-time supporter of integrative health and naturopathic doctors.
I’d be remiss not to mention the amazing work being done by the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Just recently, because of their hard work and dedication, the state of Maryland passed a law to license naturopathic physicians in our state. It’s about time!
Thank you again for selecting me to receive this award and I look forward to working with you all in the years to come.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator