The culmination of over twenty years of advocacy, on January 11, Governor Baker added Massachusetts to the list of states that acknowledge the value of alternative healthcare from a qualified professional. Massachusetts will become the 22nd U.S. jurisdiction to regulate naturopathic medicine. The new law ensures patients can trust that their wellness professional holds a graduate degree from an accredited naturopathic medical school.
Amy Rothenberg, N.D., and president of the Massachusetts Society of Naturopathic Doctors (MSND), says, “This law allows the people of Massachusetts access to well-educated and trained naturopathic doctors and their expertise in both preventative medicine and natural integrative care.”
The MSND members worked for the last 24 years with the state legislature to advance the much-needed recognition of this growing medical field. Their goal was to increase the credibility and minimize the confusion between professionals with an advance degree and the self-study practitioner.
“Naturopathic doctors are trained to collaborate with medical professionals and refer patients when more conventional approaches are required,” explains Rothenberg.
Under the new law, the terms Naturopathic Doctor and N.D. would be reserved exclusively for those who have attended four-year, post-graduate level programs at institutions recognized by the United States Department of Education. “This protects the scope-of-work and title for graduates from an accredited N.D. program, and affords the public safety measures and standards of practice through a licensing board,” offers Dr. JoAnn Yanez, executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.
Naturopathic Doctors are general practitioners trained in primary care medicine who have a specialty in natural therapies. The alternative approaches they offer include: nutrition, herbal medicine and supplements. An N.D. teaches patients how to harness their body’s innate ability to stay well via preventative measures and lifestyle changes.
Naturopathic doctors are currently regulated in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, District of Columbia, Maryland, Minnesota, Kansas, North Dakota, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Naturopathic physicians also are licensed to practice in these provinces in Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan.
The law will go into effect September 2017.
This announcement was issued by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (aanmc.org) which promotes the naturopathic medical profession and supports its member schools, including Bastyr University.