Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Warm and Wonderful

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO
AANP Past-President (2008-2009)

Photo by ZakVTA via Flickr, used
under the Creative Commons License.
This week has been unseasonably warm in New England. Enjoying sunny days with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s when we would normally be in the 50’s has been a treat – it has also been amazing to see how much happier and more agreeable people have been lately. This early taste of spring infuses just about everyone with a touch of optimism, a little more forgiveness and a warm spot of joy. With this goodwill, it is no wonder that people engage in kinder and gentler interactions.  And, really, this way of being with each other is exactly as it should be – always.
I don’t know if it is because I am getting older, or because I have experienced serious illness, or because of the losses that I have endured, but I am finding myself increasingly drawn towards kindness.  In the presence of kindness, I find myself being fully present. I want to be in this moment, engaged and interactive. In kindness, I draw from my own inner well of goodness and share mylove back. These are just genuine and tender moments and that is what life is best about – a string of one loving moment attached to the next. 
By the same token, in the face of arrogance or insincerity, I find myself increasingly intolerant. Not intolerant of the person, but of the emotion, motivation and interaction. I am less and less able to remain present when these attributes are at play. I just don’t want to be a part of these exchanges. I drift away, or I issue compassion, or if I get hooked, I breathe and smile and disentangle myself. Fortunately, with this unexpectedly magnificent, feel-good weather that we have been experiencing lately, my days are gloriously anointed with moment after moment of kind generosity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When “Physicians Who Listen” Exercise Their Voices

Michael Cronin, ND
AANP President

Photo by rpongsaj via Flickr, used
under the Creative Commons License.
I invite you to add your voice to those of the many NDs and patients who will be attending the 2012 AANP DC Federal Legislative Initiative (DC FLI) on May 5-7, 2012. The DC FLI consists of two days of legislative/advocacy education and training, and, a third day, putting those skills to work on Capitol Hill advocating for our patients and for our profession.
The AANP uses the DC FLI to broaden understanding of federal law-making and federal agencies’ rule-making processes (for example, rules to include NDs in: medical homes, healthcare workforce provisions, patient-centered outcomes research (PCORI) and tuition forgiveness). Additionally, we will include discussion of the “Non-Discrimination” language in Section 2706 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Kids Are Alright

By Bill Benda, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
2011 Naturopathic Champion Award Winner
I’m at the Houston airport, after three days at the American Medical Student Association’s (AMSA) annual gathering of allopathic and osteopathic students from the United States and abroad. AMSA is the planet’s largest student organization at well over 50,000 strong and is quite influential in health care policy in this country. Previously the Students of the American Medical Association, they split from the AMA in the early 60s over disagreements with the AMA’s positions on the Vietnam war, tobacco and other social issues of the times. Today AMSA holds philosophical ideals quite analogous to our most liberal institutions, including global health, service to the underserved, women’s health and commitment to being “Pharm Free” (accepting no gifts or meals from the pharmaceutical industry).
So why was I here? To witness and assist with the third attempt by the Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA) in appealing to the AMSA House of Delegates for admission as full AMSA members. Naturopathic students already hold several leadership positions within AMSA, secured through empassioned petitioning at the last four conventions. You can imagine that each naturopathic knock on AMSA’s door resulted in quite spirited public and private debate as to their qualifications. This time was no exception.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nature Cure on the Slopes

Jacob Schor ND
Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology 
I’m on vacation, sitting in a cedar cabin named Hilda Hut, a short helicopter ride from a roadside parking lot, not too far from Nakusp, British Columbia. A dozen friends are with me who have been telling the same jokes for the last decade. It’s about 12 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside and has been snowing off and on for the last few days – actually last few months. There’s a considerable quantity of snow on the ground, I’ve heard something in the range of 220 cm on the ground by the hut (no idea what that is in feet, it’s a lot). The first story of the hut is only accessible by a tunnel.
We spend our days ski touring, something of a Canadian pastime. In the states, we usually go cross-country skiing or downhill skiing. Ski touring, as we are doing it, seems to be a Canadian variation on the Swiss tradition. With the aide of synthetic seal skins adhered to the bases of our skis, we walk uphill in a single line, playing follow the leader for the better part of the day. When we’ve reached a suitable spot, we ski down. I’d guess that we spend 96% of our time on the uphill trek, climbing approximately 5,000 feet per day, some days more, some days less. To put it another way, we only ski downhill about 5,000 feet per day. That would be a short morning at Mary Jane, our local ski hill outside of Denver!
When I told colleagues at the recent Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP) annual conference in Arizona that this was where I planned to head after the conference, I was met with curious reactions, mostly incomprehension. I guess most people think that vacation time should be spent on a beach doing nothing.