Monday, April 18, 2011

President's Message: Progress in State Licensure

By Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, LAc
AANP President

Legislation to license NDs had passed the North Dakota Legislative Assembly
as work continues in other nearby states!
By now you’ve likely heard the good news that North Dakota will become the 16th state to license naturopathic doctors!

This is a great step forward for the profession and is largely the work of one person, Beth Allen, ND, who has the vision and foresight to take her inspiration and turn it into perspiration to accomplish this momentous task. It shows how the power of one dedicated person can change the world.

Hearing this news makes me think back to our licensing campaign in California nearly a decade ago, and ponder what’s in store in North Dakota. For the many of you reading this who have been involved in licensing campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful, I’m sure you share my observation of the depth of work and dedication it takes to pass a licensing bill. Creating educational pieces for legislators, dealing with misinformation campaigns around naturopathic education and safety, navigating the political landscape, and “touching” each legislator are all vital pieces to creating a successful outcome. It takes a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice to achieve this goal.

I am personally of the mind that state licensing is driven by those in the states seeking licensure. They know the local terrain and issues, have the personal connections with the legislature, and have the will and passion to see that they are able to practice openly and bring the choice of seeing a naturopathic doctor to all citizens of their state. The role of the AANP is to be actively supportive. By providing training, support for educating legislators and the public, knowledge of trends in other licensed states, support at legislative hearings, and a sounding board as issues arise, the AANP is there to help those NDs in states with legislative campaigns be as successful as possible. I can tell you that even though California NDs led the campaign for licensing, we would not have been able to accomplish that if it were not for the AANP being there with us every step of the way. Every state has different conditions and influences that affect what may fly in the legislature and what may not. They say “politics is the art of compromise,” and we certainly see that in the different bills that are submitted and pass or fail. Knowing what to compromise on and what not to is one of the arts of successful passage.

Now the real work begins in North Dakota. Rules and regulations need to be written, a board formed, and a million other details that take a passed bill into law on to regulatory oversight. The North Dakota Association of Naturopathic Doctors, I’m sure, will rise to meet these challenges with the leadership that Dr. Allen has already clearly demonstrated.

Meanwhile, there are active licensing campaigns ongoing in a number of other states and I believe that the passage of the law in North Dakota will inspire and encourage those hardworking people that this can be accomplished and we will see more states licensed in the near future.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Allen and all of those who worked to achieve this significant victory. This is a significant step forward in the history of the naturopathic profession and opens the door for many more people to benefit from naturopathic medicine.

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