DC: Try To Stay Healthy This Weekend - The Naturopaths Are Coming

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You've got to hand it to naturopaths when it comes to self-promotion.

On the heels of an incident in which a naturopath killed an otherwise healthy woman by administering an IV of turmeric (or the compound derived from turmeric - curcumin,) naturopaths are filling the hallways of Capitol Hill, working to convince lawmakers to allow them to do that... to more people.

This weekend, students and practitioners of naturopathy from all over the country make their annual trek to Washington DC to first, learn how to lobby and second, lobby in support of naturopathy. 

The weekend is referred to as the DC Federal Legislative Initiative (DCFLI) and is organized by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP).

And, unlike the health care they practice - they really have this process down to a science. 

Taken from the agenda, they spend the two days of the weekend in a hotel in Crystal City, Virginia, training for their day on Capitol Hill. During the two day training, some of the sessions offered are,

  • "Success! Celebrating and Learning from the Victories in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania"
  •  State “Pop-Ups”: Updates from Around the Country
  • Organizing 101: The Foundation of State Association Success
  • Overcoming Common Objections to Naturopathic Medicine and ND Licensure 
  • Mock Visit Workshop: Presenting AANP’s Asks on Capitol Hill
  • Logistical Tips for Your Hill Visits / Housekeeping and Final Q&A

They even spend the last session of the second day "Visualizing Success Tomorrow." 

Then, on Monday, they spend the day on Capitol Hill, talking to lawmakers. The AANP sets up meetings with the staff of senators and representatives (and sometimes the senators and representatives themselves) to promote their profession. 

For the naturopaths, this institutionalized, organized effort is, in many ways, working very well. That is bad news as their influence is growing - and fast. Massachusetts recently became the 20th state to license naturopaths and there are a dozen state associations looking for licensure this year (ID, IL, IN, MI, MN, MS, NJ, NY, NV, NC, OK, RI, WI.)

In trying to obtain those licenses, the naturopaths will push messages such as naturopathy is safe and natural and that the training of naturopaths and physicians is the same - two statements we vehemently disagree with. They will focus on topics such as insurance non-discrimination, inclusion in the VA, and the role of naturopaths as an alternative to opioids for the treatment of chronic pain.

The level of coordination of this effort is both shocking and disturbing to me. I mean, if this group put as much effort into their health practice as they do into preparing to lobby, myself and others like Britt Marie Hermes, the former naturopath who saw the profession for what it really is and now works to educate people about it, would have a lot less to complain about.