It is hard to sum up or even know where to begin.
The entire AANP staff has changed, much of it in the past 2 years, and the association has moved to a new headquarters in Washington, D.C. Most notably, our Executive Director of close to 9 years, Karen Howard, resigned in 2011 and, after a mindful and exhaustive search, our new CEO Jud Richland came on Board in 2012.
I was AANP President for 2 years and worked closely with 3 other AANP Presidents, Drs. Jane Guiltinan, Lisa Alschuler and Michael Cronin, as well as numerous Board members who have come and gone; by my estimate somewhere around 40+ leaders of the naturopathic profession. We moved from a “Working Board” to a Governance Model to better reflect the maturity of our association, expanded our footprint in Washington, D.C., and celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2011.
While I have witnessed many victories, both on national and state levels, I am aware at the same time of how much more needs to be done:
- all 50 states licensed to full scope of training and modern ND practice,
- full inclusion and non-discrimination in federal and state programs,
- equal access for patients via their 3rd party reimbursement programs,
- membership by all NDs in their state and national associations,
- and better relationships with other professional health association.
I’ve seen a community that is both united in our common interests and yet at times divided in our goals and communications. One of my greatest disappointments has been witnessing how our internal politics sometimes reflect the greater dysfunction we see in our national politics—the polarization of ideals and approaches, the unwillingness at times to come together in compromise, the determination of our leaders, the apathy of many of our colleagues, and how disagreements can become personal.
So, like everything else in our universe, the AANP has experienced many changes in recent years. With all the pros and cons, I am extremely optimistic at where we are now and are headed.
The members of the AANP Board are some of the most committed and far-sighted people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Your Board is committed to growth, maturity, and inclusion of the naturopathic profession. It is focused on public recognition, expansion of state licensing and scope of practice, inclusion in federal programs, promotion of state licensing, and better relationships with state and other affiliate associations. Dr. Michael Cronin is one of the hardest-working and passionate AANP Presidents I have known and Jud Richland comes to our organization with a stellar background and deep love of who we are and what we do. The AANP House of Delegates, under the leadership of Dr. Bruce Milliman, is becoming a more active body and working more closely with the AANP Board in governing this association. Our staff in D.C. is hard-working, professional, and committed to excellence. In short, I believe we are on the right path and the AANP is in a good place.
It has been an honor and privilege for me to be an AANP Board member and to be elected President. It has also been a growth experience, a tremendous challenge and opportunity. I thank you for allowing me the ability to serve the naturopathic profession.
My asks of you are to stay involved, be a member of your professional associations, and use your talents and voices to teach others what you already know—naturopathic medicine holds many of the solutions to the health challenges individuals and our society face, and access to naturopathic medicine by all Americans will help us meet our common goals of good health and well-being.
Change is not always random; it is in our hands, and our work and wisdom can guide it. Be the change you want to see.