This morning I am in Washington DC preparing to speak with my senators and representative about naturopathic medicine.
Every year the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the AANP (www.naturopathic.org), hosts an event called the DC FLI, where hundreds of naturopathic medical students and naturopathic physicians travel to DC to support federal legislation for ND’s.
Naturopathic physicians are primary care and preventive medicine specialists. ND’s are fully trained primary care providers, completing 4-years of medical school and over 1,200 hours in direct clinical patient contact. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education considers the ND degree as a First Professional Degree, on par with MD and DO. Naturopathic students, including myself, receive federal funds for student loans, yet somehow do not qualify for federal loan repayment programs. We also are excluded from the Public Health Service Act, and are not eligible for residencies paid by the federal government (the majority of residencies that MD and DO graduates participate in).
With the enormous healthcare disparity in this country, naturopathic physicians (including myself in just 13 months) are willing and qualified providers of primary care. Considering the fact that less than 4% of medical students plan on pursuing primary care, it is essential that naturopathic physicians be utilized to fill the gap.
In the state of Montana, where I plan on practicing, 40 out of 56 counties have a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation, meaning there are not enough primary care providers to fill the need for the county. Additionally, 12 of the counties in Montana are absent of a single primary care provider. I am an eager and willing future physician who could fill a very real need in the state of Montana.
Please consider contacting your members of Congress to support me, my profession, and a solution to the current healthcare crisis. Patients have a right to have access to healthcare.
Follow this link to send an e-mail to your members of Congress, it is incredibly easy and takes less than two minutes (come on, you know you have 120 seconds to spare).