Tuesday, January 18, 2011

President's Message: It's All About Relationships

By Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND. LAc
AANP President

One of the things I’ve learned over my many years in the naturopathic profession is that it’s all about our relationships with others. While we may have well thought out plans, strategies and goals, I’ve often observed that at key moments it is our connections with other people or organizations that provides the catalyst for sudden progress.

This is apparent on all levels, from our relationships with our patients; with one another via our conferences, Nat Chat, or personal relationships; with our community leaders, with our local and national politicians; to our organizational relationships with other groups with congruent and even divergent goals. Our connections with others inform us, keep us in conversations, and present opportunities that we couldn’t have foreseen even with the best planning and foresight.

I’ve seen state licensure go from a dream to a reality based on personal connections to the legislature. When we were working towards licensure in California in the early 2000s, I remember David Field, ND, LAc, saying that much of the process was doing our due diligence along the way so we would be prepared to seize opportunities as they arise. Many times these come from prior relationships we have formed that come together at the right moment to propel our profession forward.

At the national level, the AANP is continually cultivating relationships with our elected representatives, administrative and regulatory agencies, as well as other national organizations with which we align ourselves. This is vitally important, strategic work that is shared by both the AANP Board and staff.

There are a number of examples of these strategic partnerships. The AANP is aligned with the Coalition to Preserve DSHEA. Our executive director, Karen Howard, represents us on the board of the Coalition for Patient Rights, which consists of more than 35 organizations representing a variety of licensed healthcare professionals who provide a diverse array of safe, effective, and affordable healthcare services to millions of patients each year. Karen is also on the board for the National Foundation of Woman Legislators, giving us huge opportunities to have our profession known and valued by state legislators across the country. All together women represent 24% of seats in various state legislatures, making dialogue with this group of vital importance.

The AANP Board continuously seeks and evaluates strategic partnerships. Trevor Cates, ND, along with past Board member Michelle Clark, ND, represent our profession as members of the Integrative Medical Consortium (IMC), a collaborative alliance of Complementary and Alternative Medicine associations committed to advancing integrative medicine. And at our November 2010 Board meeting we committed the AANP to join the Integrative Health Policy Consortiums (IHPC) Partners for Health program. The IHPC board represents a variety of health professions and has close ties with the naturopathic community, with Michael Traub, ND, DHANP, FABNO, and Pamela Snider, ND, serving on their board. IHPC is committed to public policy that ensures all Americans access to safe, high quality healthcare including the full range of qualified conventional, complementary, and alternative healthcare professionals. I am optimistic that our closer ties with IHPC will not only benefit our provider organizations, but will also enhance the ability of Americans in all 50 states to have access to naturopathic care.

These are but a few examples of the value in our profession forming and maintaining relationships, both formal and informal, with other people and organizations. This occurs at all levels, and some of the most important relationships we form are at the personal and practice level. I urge you to keep this in mind as you grow in your practices and I believe you will see what I have seen and experienced: that it really is all about our relationships.

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