Monday, August 30, 2010

AANP's Greatest Hits, Volume 25

By Bill Benda, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
The pre-Gala reception at the AANP's 25th Anniversary Convention in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Daniel Atlas.
Well, time for another blog submission and mental search for inspiration and hopefully somewhat coherent dialogue. But this time I find the task quite easy, as I get to talk about a few of my favorite people in lieu of philosophy or politics.

This year’s Saturday AANP Gala in Portland was visibly different than those of prior years, notable for the recognition of both past presidents and past recipients of the Physician of the Year award – twice the stage was filled with these luminaries of naturopathic history. It is the organization’s 25th anniversary, after all. But time constraints also necessitated curtailing of the usual recognition of another batch of unsung heroes who have contributed immeasurable time and energy for the benefit of everyone reading this page – those AANP board members whose terms come to a close on December 31st. Given I did not get to stand and applaud for each at the Gala event, I’ve taken blog liberty to remedy this oversight. So without further ado, the envelopes please . . .

I’ll start with Lise Alschuler, as I get to save time by not having to list all of her quite visible achievements, challenges, and contributions as President-Elect, President, and Past-President of the AANP. What has been invisible and underappreciated by our membership is the fact that Lise carried this organization through its transition from what it was to what it is to become, much like a mother carries a pregnancy to term, and likely with the same feelings of unwieldiness and fatigue and “I’m ready to deliver this thing.” Carl Hangee-Bauer gets to birth this new baby, not a comfortable process in itself, but Lise was the lifeblood that ensured its healthy development in the womb.

Sara Thyr was shepherd to the flock of submissions, abstracts, speakers, scheduling, conflicts, and God knows what other machinations that are required to put on the annual conference each year. I personally have attended countless conferences of countless organizations over the years, and the AANP annual event has never had close competition as the premier event of the year, and Sara is the reason why. Plus she had the wisdom to move to the central coast of California.

Michelle Clark has been our Alliance chair and policy wonk, I believe, since she was born. For those of you who have engaged in the parallel universe of politics, her contributions will become clear once you contemplate the mishmash of licensed states and unlicensed states and state medical boards and legislative bodies and 15 different scopes of practice in 15 different jurisdictions and Boyd Landrys and health freedom movements all flavored with the occasional (OK, frequent) last minute disaster.

Which brings me to Tabby Parker, leaving the board after her first term to have her second child. As founder of Natural Doctors International, Tabby has chosen to spend her very lengthy days caring for the underserved on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua, all the while hosting endless teams of naturopathic physicians and students trekking down to learn and serve alongside her. Tabby has been, for me, the heart and conscience of our board, and she will be missed deeply.

I am leaving the board as well, and I can say it is with mixed longing and relief that these four years are coming to a close. I’m more than certain that all five of us share these contradictory feelings. But as those of you who attended the Gala did not have adequate opportunity to see these people stand in recognition and hold the eternal-flame-recognizing-our-past-and-welcoming-our-future-before-the-band-starts-candles, I ask you to take a moment to silently thank Lise and Sara and Michelle and Tabby. Or better yet, drop them a line and thank them personally. Your lives, and your patients’ lives, are better for their service.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Honoring the Past While Present in the Moment: The 2010 AANP 25th Anniversary Convention

By Karen Howard
AANP Executive Director

AANP President Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, LAc, Executive Director Karen Howard and Board Member Bill Benda, MD, FACEP, FAAEM. Photo by Michele Hangee-Bauer.
AANP’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and Convention was everything we hoped it would be! Creative and collegial, celebratory and cerebral, composed and complete. Celebrating the Foundation of Naturopathic Medicine included the inspiration of Dr. Jared Zeff and the profound insight of Dr. Joe Pizzorno. Sandwiched in between, we were honored to hear from Dr. Josephine Briggs, Director of NCCAM. And I leave it to you, the doctors, to comment on the continuing education offered by your peers. They work hard to give you their best and enhance the care you provide to patients all over the country.  Click here to view and purchase photographs from this year's convention!

Honoring the past, while present in the moment, for the sake of generations to come – this is the heart of a naturopathic gathering with the force of the AANP Convention. Thank you to Dr. Jared Skowron and ITI for initiating our Legacy Program with the creating of a 22 minute video. It features our Past Presidents and Executive Directors, and it documents the history of the AANP’s 25 years with sincere reflection and humor.

Special recognition to our 2010 Awardees!

NDNR, Corporation of the Year, for giving voice to the entire naturopathic community in a publication known for excellence.

Dr. Susan DeLaney, recipient of The President’s Award, whose presence in her state work and her mentorship deeply reflects the principles of naturopathic medicine.

Dr. Steven Bailey, recipient of The VIS Award, our award created to honor the spirit of Dr. William Mitchell, for his work as teacher and his embodiment of The Vis Medicatrix Naturae.

Dr. Christine Girard, Physician of the Year, whose visionary work will continue to inspire for years to come, especially for the students to whom she dedicated her award.

The special moments at the convention are too numerous to document. But my special thanks to all our corporate partners who enable us to gather and support us throughout the year. Please know these companies hold your expertise and commitment to quality with the deepest respect. I offer my gratitude to The Foundations Project for their incredible timeline detailing naturopathic history. My thanks to those who took extra time to participate in the Naturopathic Coordinating Council Summit held prior to the start of the Convention. Thank you to the numerous volunteers who support the work of the AANP and all of the naturopathic agencies. For those of you who are unaware, meeting after meeting after meeting compete with continuing education every day of the convention. Our volunteers support the furtherance of our mission at the sacrifice of their individual needs.

We indeed face many challenges, and collectively we will boldly face them. The next 25 years offer much in the way of possibility. Let us step up to the challenges we face and recommit to this organization. The AANP is yours to own and cherish, so give it the support it needs to transform the world!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

AANP President’s Annual Meeting Message 2010

By Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, LAc
AANP President

The Oregon Convention Center.  Photo by Matthew Santoro, AANP Communications and Media Associate.
The following are my remarks from the 2010 AANP Annual Meeting in Portland, OR, on Wednesday, August 11, 2010.

On behalf of the AANP Board of Directors, I am honored to welcome you to Portland and the AANP’s 25th Anniversary convention and thank you for your dedication to the naturopathic profession.

The AANP is a member-driven organization. There are many people whose work comes together under the banner of the AANP. We are fortunate to have a dedicated executive director in Karen Howard whose love for this profession runs deep as well as her dedicated staff who gets things done. The AANP Board of Directors works on a daily basis to understand the forces impacting our profession and develop strategies to be proactive and grow the legitimacy of naturopathic medicine. Everything the board does is filtered through the question: How does this benefit our membership? This House of Delegates comes together on an annual basis to amend our bylaws; adopt official Code of Ethics, definitions, standards, and position papers; hear reports from AANP officers and leadership; advise or recommend action to the Board of Directors by means of house resolutions; represent our constituents and communicate to them AANP information and actions; and provide leadership and participate as members in committees and taskforces. And you, our members, contribute in so many ways, from your volunteer work on both the state and national levels, educating the public and patients about naturopathic medicine, and, most importantly, providing your patients with the best care naturopathic medicine has to offer.

The Board of Directors has just completed two days of meetings where we took time to improve our internal communications, get updated on the business and challenges facing the association, and discuss our strategic vision to inform the 2011-2012 workplan. Some of the key areas of board interest include promotion of state licensing and increased scope of practice, sustaining and expanding our presence on the federal level, fostering naturopathic outcome studies and scientific affairs, developing strategic coalitions with other groups and associations, and developing programs and strategies to improve the success of our ND graduates.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Finding Opportunities in Discrete Challenges

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO

Photo by mdemon via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So while yesterday my partner and I spent a marvelous day on a coastal Maine beach and then enjoyed fish tacos, it makes sense that today I am holed up in my office whittling away at my to-do list. That does not mean that I am happy about it. In fact, I am rather grumpy about being in the office. I have tried to remind myself that, in reality, I should simply be grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time at a beach yesterday – so many cannot. I should also be happy that I have a to-do list and an office within which I can work on that list. Easier said than done. I am reminded of something that I read a while back. When one has a headache, instead of dwelling in the pain and discomfort, see it as an opportunity to be grateful for having a head in which to experience an ache, and to enlarge one’s focus to the entire head holding the ache.

Maybe then I too have an opportunity to focus on the day holding this grumpiness, not on the grumpiness itself. It does help actually. Suddenly my irritability becomes a small part of my big day, a day which is still mostly unwritten. As my grumpiness shrinks, I am reminded that the attitude with which I am approaching my tasks is simply that – an attitude. While it is true that by feeling grumpy, I can better understand and appreciate its opposite – happiness and gratitude – it is also true that I can change my attitude whenever I choose. While wallowing in negative emotions has a certain stickiness factor, it is not an insurmountable task to let these negative emotions go. Sometimes, to do this, I focus on the emotion (anger, irritability, etc.) and then take a deep breath, purse my lips and blow this anger/irritability/etc. out. Let it go, literally and figuratively. By now, after writing all of this, my grumpiness is truly a withered feeling in the past part of this day.

Funny how, now that I am feeling more contented, my day seems filled with many more possibilities. Maybe I can finish early and take a walk in the woods, spend some time on the back porch… Who knows? So in the end my grumpiness is held within my much bigger day, just as a headache happens in a much bigger head, and we are each so much bigger than our discrete challenges.