On March 4, Bastyr University students, faculty and administrators joined California naturopathic doctors and advocates of naturopathic medicine from across the state at the capitol building in Sacramento to advocate on behalf of the profession. Lobby Day 2015 was their chance to meet with legislators and discuss the benefits of naturopathic primary care.
Naturopathic doctors are trained and licensed as primary care doctors, but are limited by California law in two key areas: 1) they may not independently prescribe basic medications, such as antibiotics and 2) they may not perform minor procedures, such as draining an abscess, even though their naturopathic medical training equips them to do both.
In order to address the current practice limitations, the Bastyr contingent spoke to their legislators about the rigorous academic and hands-on clinical training that NDs receive. This served to provide the academic perspective on proposed legislation SB538, sponsored by state Senator Marty Block (D-39), that would lift those two restrictions from the ND scope of practice in the state, allowing NDs to more optimally function as primary care doctors.
“I was encouraged by the warm and engaged reception we received from these legislators,” says Bastyr University Chief of Staff Coquina L. Deger, MBA, who attended Lobby Day. “I felt the lawmakers we met were sincerely seeking to be educated on this issue, asking probing questions and demonstrating a real concern for the well-being of their constituents, while at the same time acknowledging their desire and responsibility to trim health care costs by eliminating duplication of health care services.”
For Bastyr University California first-year student and first-time Lobby Day attendee Fernanda Gallo Moreno, the experience was unforgettable. “We were able to see firsthand that our voice can create small but powerful ripples,” she says. “We are now one step closer to practicing the medicine my colleagues and I are training so hard for. I am so excited to be a part of this shift, and to see the impact this will have on patients in need.”
Bastyr University California coordinated and worked closely with the California Naturopathic Doctors Association (CNDA), which sponsored the event and led the efforts for the day.
Bastyr University California, the state’s first and only accredited school of naturopathic medicine, opened in San Diego’s Sorrento Valley in fall 2012. The University offers a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and a Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness degree. The campus is a second location for Bastyr University, which was founded in 1978 in Seattle, Wash. Internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural medicine, Bastyr University offers science-based natural health education, research and clinical training. Bastyr University Clinic, the University’s teaching clinic, provides natural health care to San Diego families.
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