Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yin, Yang and the AANP

By Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, LAc
AANP Past President

It is the nature of the universe to see periods of expansion and contraction. There is a time for expending energy and growth and a time for rest, reflection and recharge. We see this in the cycles all around us. An athlete must rest before and after a strenuous event. When replanted, a plant with vigorous growth will pause as it sets its new roots, preparing for the next growth spurt. In eastern philosophies this is conceptualized under the theory of Yin and Yang, and the energy from this interaction of complementary opposites drives the dynamics of our world and lives.
So it is with the AANP.
Almost a year ago our association was handed a challenge and opportunity with the resignation of our long time Executive Director, Karen Howard. Her vision, hard work and leadership moved the AANP forward through a period of vigorous growth and development. During this time we grew from a relatively small association to one with headquarters in Washington, DC, visibility on a national stage, and a solid financial base. She was the right person at the right time and we will always be thankful for the role she played in the evolution of the AANP.
As the AANP leadership and Board accepted the challenges of change, we used it as a time for deep reflection regarding the future of the AANP. We asked ourselves many questions like, "What are the challenges that lie ahead for the AANP? What political and societal forces will shape our inclusion in  health care systems and in peoples lives? How do we address internal divisions and struggles typical of any growing profession? How can we look ahead and make conscious choices to maximize our potential to change the health care system in the US? What kind of leadership do we need to face these challenges as we move forward?"
Here we are, 11 months later and getting ready for our 27th AANP Convention. We have a new CEO, Jud Richland, whose past experience and vision for our profession could not have fit our hopes and expectations any better. We have an active Board whose members are engaged in strategies for, among other things, developing our public education and media affairs messaging, working on a national level for inclusion in the Affordable Care Act  and other programs, promoting state licensing and improved relations with our state affiliate associations, and setting a vision for the growth of naturopathic medicine. We have a revitalized House of Delegates examining the issues that face us as an association and a profession. And we have naturopathic doctors across the US, working with their patients to improve their health, educating those in their local communities, and advocating for licensure or improvements in their state laws in order to better serve their patients. 
I have served on the AANP Board for 4 1/2 years, two of those as President, and have witnessed the Yin and Yang of the AANP.  I believe we are on the cusp of great and positive change, and after a time of "setting our roots" we are prepared for vigorous growth and expansion. Great things lie ahead and we are ready to embrace the future.
Be a part of that change. Join the AANP and your state association. Come to the AANP convention and meet our new CEO, Jud Richland. Let your Board members know what your dreams, goals and expectations are for the naturopathic profession. Vote and make your voice be heard. Tell us what we are doing right and where you'd like to see things improve. Ask questions. Learn a few new things you can use in your practice your first day back in the office. Reinvigorate and renew ties with your friends and colleagues. 
We are the naturopathic profession and are strongest when we come together for common purpose. Be there with us as we take our next steps forward.

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