Naturopathic Medicine Students Meet with Legislators in California

About 75 Bastyr University California students, faculty and administrators converged March 9 on the capitol building in Sacramento, California, to show support for and educate lawmakers about naturopathic medicine. Lobby Day 2016 was their chance to meet with legislators and discuss moderately expanding the scope of practice for naturopathic doctors (NDs) in the state.

Naturopathic doctors are trained and licensed as primary care doctors, but are limited by California law: They cannot independently prescribe basic medications such as antibiotics and other lower-risk prescription drugs most commonly used and relied upon by primary care doctors.

To address the current practice limitations, the Bastyr contingent spoke to their legislators about the rigorous academic and hands-on clinical training NDs receive. While Senate Bill 538, sponsored by state Sen. Marty Block (D-39), is not expected to be up for a vote in the near future, these visits laid the groundwork for a better understanding of the issues facing NDs by senators, assembly members and their staffers.

“Joining with Bastyr University California medical students was a powerful experience,” says Bastyr University Chief of Staff Coquina Deger, MBA, who attended Lobby Day. “It made me proud to watch their leadership and advocacy skills being developed. They were articulate in expressing their concerns to legislators – who recognized these students as part of a growing labor force in the state. These future NDs hope to see a slightly more favorable climate in which to practice medicine when they graduate – one with a scope of practice more similar to that of California’s neighboring states.”

The experience was a positive one for first-year Bastyr University California ND student Virginia Sweetan. “I was elated to have the opportunity to personally experience and contribute to the legislative process,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to represent naturopathic doctors and students in the state and the nation in order to advance our profession for the well-being of us all.”

Bastyr University California coordinated and worked closely with the California Naturopathic Doctors Association, which 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.