The AANP turns the page on another year. Image by andy.brandon50 via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.As we approach the final days of 2010, I find myself in a reflective frame of mind, looking back at the past year as well as ahead to 2011 with hope and anticipation. Personally this represents my halfway point as AANP President. It’s been an active, exciting and challenging journey so far, and my suspicions have been confirmed that being in this position in the AANP is an opportunity for growth. I think all of my fellow officers and Board members past and present would agree.
The Board and Staff have just completed the work and budget planning for the next two-year cycle and it has made me think about the present state of the AANP and naturopathic medicine.
The AANP is in a very good place. Unlike many associations struggling in these economic times and tapping into their reserves to continue to function, the AANP ended the year with a balanced budget. We are living within our means, in no small part due to the vigilance and management of our executive director, Karen Howard. The AANP is fully staffed as we close out the year, having hired a new marketing and membership associate (Mandisa Jones) and state government relations director (Eugene McGill). In the coming year you will see more resources dedicated to state licensing, inclusion in the federal healthcare system, and benefits to support our membership, among other things.
The AANP Board continues to grow and evolve. This month we say “au revoir” to our departing board members Lise Alschuler, Michelle Clark, Bill Benda, Tabatha Parker and Sara Thyr. We thank you for your service and dedication to the naturopathic profession and wish you much success and happiness as you move on to other opportunities and challenges. On January 1, 2011, we are welcoming Holly Lucille, Joe Pizzorno, Carrie Runde, Keri Marshall and Cindy Breed to the Board as they begin their two-year terms. We are very excited to welcome these new members who bring a wealth of experience and willingness to serve the association and profession. Michael Cronin begins his term as President-Elect in 2011 and is taking on a greater leadership role within the Board as he prepares for his presidency.
As a profession, I believe that naturopathic medicine is in a better position to “take off” and serve more people than perhaps it has ever been. More states are on the cusp of licensure and, with the help of Gene McGill, I hope to see new licensed states soon. We are making inroads on Capitol Hill as Congress and regulatory agencies begin to implement healthcare reform, and I look forward to seeing ND inclusion in federal programs including loan repayment opportunities. Our DC FLI event in May is growing every year and we are now known in D.C.
As I write this it appears that CNME will be re-accredited by the US Department of Education for the next 5 years, the longest time allowed under the rules. Enrollment in the naturopathic medical schools is growing with plans for new schools in the next few years, and more NDs are graduating and bringing naturopathic medicine into their communities. Science and research opportunities are increasing with new NIH grants awarded to ND researchers, and the founding of Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI), led by Carlo Calabrese, which will focus on developing studies to examine whole-practice naturopathic care. The Naturopathic Post-Graduate Association (NPGA) is up and running, coordinating residency opportunities amongst the colleges to increase the number of residencies offered and matching residency sites with candidates to improve the residency experience.
Our state naturopathic associations are becoming more sophisticated and active, developing marketing as well as continuing education programs to serve their membership. Better communication and coordination between AANP and state associations is occurring. Rick Marinelli, ND, was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee on advancing pain research, care and education, the first ND on any IOM committee.
So 2010 has been a good year for naturopathic medicine and the future looks bright. We have much to be thankful for as we take stock of 2010 and look forward to 2011 and beyond. As always, it comes down to the people who make things happen and the relationships we form—with each other, our patients, other like-minded groups and organizations, our local, state and federal representatives, and so forth.
YOU are the AANP; YOU are the profession. Everything the AANP does is filtered through the question: How does this serve our membership? As 2010 comes to a close, I want to thank everyone reading this for all you do, great and small, as every step moves us that much closer to realizing our dreams and goals for our profession and for the health and vitality of the communities in which we serve.
Have a joyous holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2011.