Naturopathic Medicine an "Answer for the Country," States Health Care Leader

Veterans Administration Official Lauds Naturopathic Physicians as “A Huge Part of the Solution”

Washington, DC, May 20 – Tracy Gaudet, MD, director of the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, characterized naturopathic medicine as “a huge answer for the country, for practice, for patients” that is available “at a pivotal transformational moment” in health care. Gaudet spoke at the annual DC Federal Legislative Initiative held by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Naturopathic physicians understand that health care in the US needs to fundamentally change, Gaudet said, reflecting the fact that they are “pioneers” who have been practicing integrative medicine “all along.” This evolutionary change is reflected in the revised mission of the Veterans Health Administration, which pledges to deliver “personalized, proactive, patient centered care.” The need is clear, she said, through the simple fact that the US spends far more per capita on health care than any other nation, yet life expectancy in the US is essentially the same as it is for Cuba.

An emphasis on the body’s innate capacity to heal is something that can generally be acknowledged by patients, she observed, but not medical doctors trained in the current paradigm, which emphasizes the identification of disease-causing pathogens at the expense of a “complex, multi-dimensional model” of illness. Gaudet exhorted her audience not to be frustrated as “the challenges are there because you are part of a cultural transformation – the drivers of a new way to do health care.”

Gaudet received a standing ovation. In the words of Michael J. Cronin, ND, president of the Association, “she gets that the current health care paradigm is unsustainable – and that naturopathic medicine is a major part of the solution. We appreciate her far sightedness and common sense, which energizes our profession. Just as important, the nation’s veterans will be well served by this change in approach, too.”