Last week, 27 naturopathic medical students journeyed to Washington D.C.,on behalf of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), to talk with legislators on Capitol Hill about the role of naturopathic doctors in meeting the growing needs in America’s healthcare system. They brought attention to the non-discrimination provision of the Public Health Service Act, a law that is not currently enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as built support for future employment of naturopathic doctors in the Veterans Health Administration.
“Overall I felt that we were well-received by Congress this year. I had several meetings with the offices of Representatives and Senators from my home state of Florida and they went very well, “ said Steven LaBrecque, MPH, a second-year naturopathic medical student at Bastyr. “Our asks had bipartisan support and many legislators see the benefit of licensed naturopathic physicians in the healthcare sector.”
In February, Bastyr University California students sought to effect change on the state level at CNDA Lobby Day. Hosted by the California Naturopathic Doctors Association, this annual Lobby Day is an opportunity to become involved in local governmental relations efforts and start a conversation about improving access to integrative medicine in California. This movement also provided students with the opportunity to network with local Naturopathic Doctors in their area.
Though large events like this take place only a few times a year, public involvement and support in health policy issues remains an ever-important focus for students during their time at Bastyr. Open to all disciplines in both Kenmore and San Diego, the Health Policy Leadership (HPL) Club provides students with a safe environment for practicing real advocacy scenarios within the scope of legislative action. The goal of the HPL Club is to foster inter-professional collaboration and inspire informed civic engagement. To learn more about the club, contact Steven Labrecque at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislative Update: The Colorado Legislature passed the sunset bill with a vote of 54 ayes - 11 noes. This bill continues the regulation for three years and specifies that naturopathic doctors may use the titles ‘registered naturopathic doctor’ or ‘registered doctor of naturopathy,’ or the abbreviation ‘R.N.D.’