May 2012 John Weeks Round-up on Professions

What the naturopathic doctors sought on their Washington, D.C. Lobby Day

An organizing pitch to turn out members to an early May 2012 Lobby Day in the nation’s capital succinctly laid out the present federal policy wish list of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). The letter, from AANP governmental affairs chair Lorilee Schoenbeck, ND, began with her call to action: “Our nation’s health care is at a crossroads. The choice is between maintaining the status quo of unsustainable, high-cost interventions that happen too late, or the creation of a true Health Care System that embodies early primary care, prevention and addresses the root causes of illness. America has a choice to remain invested in pharmaceutical and corporate interests in the delivery of what is considered to be medicine or to move toward empowering people with the knowledge and tools that connect them with their natural environment, the earth, their spirit, their food and their hearts.” The starting place for NDs was represented in their identified “asks” for those participating in Congressional visits. These are: inclusion in United States Department of Health and Human Services programs, and similar inclusion as Department of Veterans Affairs’ approved providers.

Comment: Pardon the long prelude from Schoenbeck. Sometimes it is just music to hear what it is one is all about.


Transition in leadership at the American Holistic Nurses Association

Jeanne Crawford, MPH, a key force in holistic nursing as executive director of the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), has stepped down “after 8 years of dedicated service” according to a note from the association. Her interim replacement is Terri Roberts who for 23 years served as executive director of the Kansas State Nurses Association (KSNA), The Kansas Nurse, a refereed journal, and the Editor of a legislative newsletter that was published weekly during the Kansas legislative session each year. She has worked as a healthcare consultant with a variety of non-profit, institutional and individual clients on policy and quality initiatives.

Comment: During Crawford’s term as executive director, the AHNA took the powerful step of creating a board certification in holistic nursing that gained recognition for the field from the American Nurses Association. The number of board certified holistic nurses has grown steadily. Yet the field has largely been inward-turning, providing a newsletter and conference to support its members. It will be interesting to see, if Roberts sticks around, whether her legislative leanings might begin to move the field to have more of a voice in health affairs.


CAM/Integrative Medicine Panel At The Yale Healthcare 2012 Conference

Ayurvedic practitioner Elliott Tokar participated in a panel at a the Yale Healthcare Conference 2012. I asked him for a synopsis. Tokar, a long-time clinician and author, filed this report.

“Nurses and public health professionals have often been in the vanguard of advocating for more effective and humanistic healthcare. This tradition was once again in evidence in April at Yale University’s Healthcare Conference 2012. The annual conference is a joint effort between Yale’s School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Public Health.

“This year a group of students led by Christine Brubaker (Nursing) and Rebecca Ng (Public Health) produced a breakout session entitled ‘Massage or Morphine? The Role of Integrative Medicine in Modern Healthcare.’ The panel leaders were Eliot Tokar, an internationally recognized doctor of traditional Tibetan medicine, writer and lecturer, and Ather Ali, a naturopathic doctor and Associate Research Scientist at the Yale School of Medicine. The panel and attendees — which included both students and a diversity of healthcare industry professionals — discussed topics such as the effectiveness of integrative medicine (IM) and CAM therapies in delivering quality healthcare services to patients; the significance of promoting medical pluralism in the US; IM and CAM’s ability to contribute to healthcare innovation, cost containment and chronic disease management; appropriate training pathways for CAM professionals; the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and protocols for evaluating the applicability and effectiveness of CAM and IM approaches in disease prevention and treatment.

“Following the conference breakout session Dr. Tokar was invited to the Yale School of Nursing to conduct a workshop with students on the topic of How Can Nurses Work Effectively To Define And Achieve Progress In Expanding Medical Education And The Quality Of Clinical Practice.”