Recognize Licensed Naturopathic Physicians for the Safe and Effective Care They Provide
This petition is in response to misleading and defamatory statements made in a recent Change.org petition you may have seen: “Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience.” This petition by a former naturopathic doctor who resides outside of the United States neglects facts and evidence to support her claims.
We would like to make clear the following:
- Not all “naturopaths” are licensed naturopathic physicians. Licensed naturopathic physicians are trained and capable to provide safe and effective care (1,2,3). Currently, 17 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have licensing or regulation laws for naturopathic physicians. In these states, naturopathic physicians are required to graduate from an accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Licensed naturopathic physicians must also fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and have a specific scope of practice defined by their state's law (4).
The “Naturopaths are not doctors” petition referenced earlier makes false claims about the training of licensed naturopathic physicians and neglects to cite any credible references. Blog or opinion pieces by advocate groups against naturopathic physicians are not credible references.
- The rigor of the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) as an accreditor is recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (5). The CNME is the only naturopathic accreditor with membership in the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). This organization accepts as members those accreditors recognized by the Secretary of Education or that meet ASPA’s own criteria. Among the almost 50 agencies that belong to ASPA are the recognized accreditors for allopathic (MD), osteopathic (DO), chiropractic (DC), acupuncture, and dental programs.
- Licensed naturopathic physicians serve a valued role in the health care community. Naturopathic doctors work in private practice, hospitals, clinics, community health centers, universities, and private industry. They often collaborate with conventional physicians in the co-management and mutual referral of patients.
We appreciate your willingness to hear and support this response, and we are confident that your due diligence will quickly uncover the truth behind the “Naturopaths are not doctors” petition.
Licensed naturopathic physicians are qualified to provide safe and effective care, and we support their efforts to become licensed in all 50 states.
(1) Chamberlin, S. R., Oberg, E., Hanes, D. A., & Calabrese, C. (2014). Naturopathic Practice at North American Academic Institutions: Description of 300,483 Visits and Comparison to Conventional Primary Care. Integrative Medicine Insights, 9, 7–15. http://doi.org/10.4137/IMI.S14124
(2) Dunne N et al. (2005). Naturopathic medicine: what can patients expect? J Fam Pract. Dec;54(12):1067-72.
(3) Recognition of naturopathy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/naturopathy
(4) Information about naturopathic regulatory authorities and continuing education requirements from the Federation of Naturopathic Medicine Regulatory Authorities. http://www.fnmra.org/ras
(5) Information on accreditation by the U.S. Department of Education. http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html
- U.S. Senate
- Michigan State House
- Michigan State Senate
- Illinois State House
- Illinois State Senate
- Massachusetts State House
- Massachusetts State Senate
- New York State Senate
- New York State House
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality & CMS
Patrick Conway, MD
- Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Mandy Cohen, M.D., MPH
I am writing in support of the Change.org petition "Recognize Licensed Naturopathic Physicians for the Safe and Effective Care They Provide." Licensed naturopathic physicians are qualified to provide safe and effective care, and I support their efforts to become licensed in all 50 states.
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