Monday, August 13, 2007

Just look at us

Last week I spent two days at the National Conference for State Legislatures, here in Boston. I was there representing the AANP, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians , often confused with the American Academy of Nurse Practioners
This national conference is an opportunity for different interest groups to meet with state representatives and senators from all 50 states, talk briefly with them and give away free pens and pins. (my favorite pin is from the AANR... just visit the site, even though head or arm bands would have been a more appropriate give away.)
I heard something that seemed profound to me at the time from a 4th year naturopathic medical student. We were standing there discussing our lobbying efforts and the fact that most of the opposition for Naturopathic licensure is initiated by the American Medical Association It just doesn't seem to make sense. Both groups want to help patients. Both groups want standards of practice within their professions to ensure patient safety. I just kept saying, "It is no brainer". And then here is where the brilliance came through. My soon to be fellow naturopathic physician said, "There is licensure for everything, from plumbing, hair cutting, to spraying for bugs. That is easy. The problem for the AMA is that once we are licensed, we can no longer be ignored. It will force conventional doctors to recognize us, and most of them aren't willing to do that... yet."
The environment is shifting and more and more conventional practitioners are becoming open to a more traditional, patient centered approach to health. I have a dream, that one day we will all heal together.

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