Dr. Konrad KailIn just the past several days, two events have occurred that have a profound impact on the naturopathic community.
I’m sad to report that the first is the passing of Dr. Konrad Kail on the morning of July 18th. Dr. Kail was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer several years ago and, with the dedicated support of his wife Petie, used both conventional and naturopathic treatments to fight this terrible disease. Unfortunately he finally succumbed and died peacefully in Petie’s arms in their home in the Phoenix area.
Dr. Kail was a force in our profession and a true leader who has left a mark that will endure for many years. He was a founder of SCNM and later chaired SCNM's Board of Trustees. He also chaired the Arizona State Board of Examiners and was the first naturopathic physician to sit on an NIH Advisory Council. Dr. Kail served a term as President of the AANP, which I remember well with his “One Person, One Project” campaign. Whenever there was a call for help to move some project forward, Dr. Kail was in the front of the line.
Konrad was a personal mentor for me, and he and Petie gave their time and wisdom generously. After California passed the Naturopathic Practice Act and I was making plans with my colleagues to expand our practice and transform it into a larger naturopathic medical clinic, they spent time with us sharing their experiences running a naturopathic practice, giving encouragement and advice on what worked for them, and helping us see the pitfalls and challenges that would lie ahead. They wanted to see this profession expand and see other doctors meet with success, and actively worked toward making that happen. I am sure we were not the only ones to benefit from Konrad and Petie's wisdom and experience.
Konrad was also an avid golfer, and I had the good fortune to play golf with him on multiple occasions when I visited Phoenix. On the golf course he was much the same as in his life as a naturopathic physician: bigger than life, bold, and a teacher. I will miss those outings.
Dr. Kail touched many of us in our journey in naturopathic medicine as a teacher, mentor, leader, scientist, researcher and entrepreneur. He will live on in our hearts and our history, and his wife Petie will always be a member of our naturopathic family. We will sorely miss his presence.
There’s one final note on Konrad that many of you may not know. In 1983, shortly after completing his studies at NCNM, he and a small group of NDs took a bicycle trip across the United States on their “Wheeling and Healing Tour” to introduce the public to naturopathic medicine. Through his radio and in-person interviews and connections with people along the way, many Americans got their first exposure to naturopathic medicine.
Similarly, on Sunday morning, July 17th, Dr. Dennis Godby, his sons Isaiah and Jeremiah, and his nephew Jonas Ely began their cross-country run from San Francisco, California, to raise awareness of naturopathic medicine and the true choices people have to empower themselves, improve their health, and prevent chronic disease such as diabetes and obesity. I had the pleasure and privilege to sponsor and plan the opening event as we sent Dennis and his entourage on its way, and along with David Schleich from NCNM, headed to Marin County to meet them at the end of the first day of their run.
This is a win-win situation for our profession. Not only will their run raise awareness about naturopathic medicine and the choices it offers, it is also an opportunity for naturopathic physicians both along the route and in general to raise public awareness about their individual practices.
I urge you all to get involved and support The Run. If you are along the route, plan and sponsor a local event celebrating the runners as they pass through your town. Donate to their effort; Dr. Godby is sacrificing for this in many ways and needs our support. I donated a penny a mile for each of the 4 runners, a mere $130. If we all did this it would go a long way to meeting the goals for this historic run.
We had a lot of fun on Sunday and look forward to following Dr. Godby on his journey, and wish him all the best.