by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports

The White Folks Hate the Black Folks Department: The AAFP’s Formal Position against Naturopathic Physicians

This is not new news; it is only news to this reporter. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has a formal position, dating to 2012, against the licensure of naturopathic physicians (NDs). The statement’s first line leaves no room for doubt: “The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) opposes licensure of naturopaths.” The statement asserts that naturopathic medicine is unsafe, that naturopathic education is not based on science and graduates are not prepared. The AAFP concludes: “Governmental endorsement of naturopaths through licensure will jeopardize the health and safety of patients.” Of particular concern: “naturopaths [can] not be allowed, under any circumstances, to use the term ‘physician.’” Equally abhorrent is any formal appreciation of naturopathic doctors as “primary care.”

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports

The White Folks Hate the Black Folks Department: The AAFP’s Formal Position against Naturopathic Physicians

This is not new news; it is only news to this reporter. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has a formal position, dating to 2012, against the licensure of naturopathic physicians (NDs). The statement’s first line leaves no room for doubt: “The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) opposes licensure of naturopaths.” The statement asserts that naturopathic medicine is unsafe, that naturopathic education is not based on science and graduates are not prepared. The AAFP concludes: “Governmental endorsement of naturopaths through licensure will jeopardize the health and safety of patients.” Of particular concern: “naturopaths [can] not be allowed, under any circumstances, to use the term ‘physician.’” Equally abhorrent is any formal appreciation of naturopathic doctors as “primary care.”

Comment: The naturopathic doctors should take solace from the fact that the AAFP is also taking the lead in opposing the right of advanced practice nurses to practice independently or to run patient centered medical homes. No evidence of harm is linked to either of AAFP’s campaigns to keep others out of independent roles in primary care. In fact, relative to nurse practitioners, the AAFP spits in the face of the influential Future of Nursing report from the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Family medicine, at the near bottom of the medical specialty pecking order, is doing its best to kick its fellow primary care colleagues off a cliff. Better politics would be to collaborate and coalesce all of the interests that are seeking to pull resources out of our rapacious tertiary care institutions and bring them back out into the communities where they belong. Besides, they could stop lying about the lack of safety. A thorough look at naturopathic doctors and primary care is in the white paper Meeting the Nation’s Primary Care Needs.

Notably, internist and Yale integrative medicine leader David Katz, MD, MPH recently opined that NDs are not only qualified as primary care but, in critical areas of primary care, are better trained than their family medicine counterparts: “As the president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, I am obligated to note in passing that lifestyle is the best medicine we have. In general, naturopaths are better trained in and more devoted to its delivery than are we in conventional medicine.” The AAFP’s bruising upbringing in the medical conventional specialty wars seems to have left them with PTSD. Does AAFP have no alternative than to strike out against others?

 

IAYT Focuses on Clarifying the Distinction between a Yoga Teacher and a Yoga Therapist

The volume 24, 2014 edition of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy (IJYT) opens with invited submissions from a half dozen yoga therapy leaders on a theme. Explored are the differences between: yoga teacher training and yoga therapy training; between a yoga class and a yoga therapy session; and the basic difference between the two types of professionals. The theme is kicked off by the executive director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), John Kepner, MA, MBA, CYTH, a driving force for standard-setting in the yoga therapy world. IAYT publishes IJYT. The prospective of Gary Kraftshaw of the American Viniyoga Institute, who has twice crafted protocols for NIH-funded yoga therapy studies, is that a yoga therapist should have “already completed an advanced yoga teacher training program, and should have integrated those teachings into their personal practices, as well as having applied them in different teaching context.” The yoga therapist then learns the “art and science of yoga therapy” and the “art and science of being a therapist.”

Comment: My guess is that this IJYT focus came out of something like the Bob Dylan line: “Even you, the other day/had to ask me where it’s at.” What is the difference? The first 15 content pages of the journal are devoted to the topic. The audience is both internal and external. Definitional clarity is part of the emergence of all professions. In a time when the full system of yoga is often being dumbed down to a club-based exercise program in the minds of most users in the U.S., establishing these distinctions is critical for yoga therapy to gain stronger footing in the treatment of people with frank conditions.