Naturopathic doctors on their way to licensing, regulation in New Mexico

Naturopathic doctors in the state of New Mexico may soon be licensed and regulated, as is the goal of Senate Bill 135, the Naturopathic Doctor’s Practice Act, which was passed by the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

The bill would provide and regulate professional licensure for naturopathic doctors in the state and provide a defined scope of practice. Further, the bill would create a Naturopathic Doctors’ Advisory Council of the New Mexico Medical Board and amend sections of the New Mexico Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act, the Medical Practice Act, and the Unlicensed Health Care Act.

The New Mexico Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NMANP) led a 60-mile run last week to draw attention to the need to license naturopathic doctors.

More Americans are seeking complementary and natural healthcare providers, as they focus on wellness, prevention, and whole-person care. Increasingly, consumers can find licensed naturopathic doctors as members of the professional clinical teams at medical centers of excellence around the United States. Twenty-eight prominent health systems, hospitals, and cancer treatment centers now have one or more licensed naturopathic doctors on staff at their facilities. Today, there are approximately 6,000 licensed naturopathic doctors practicing in the U.S. Twenty-three U.S. states and territories currently license naturopathic doctors, according to the Institute for Natural Medicine.

Trained to treat the whole person, naturopathic doctors diagnose, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illness. Naturopathic doctors complete a rigorous, science-based, four-year, post-graduate education in an accredited naturopathic medical college, recognized by the United States Department of Education. Working as both primary care providers and members of collaborative integrative healthcare teams, naturopathic doctors address underlying causes of illness. Because of their rigorous training in clinical nutrition, lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine, and more, they are experts at engaging and empowering patients to make lifestyle changes, proven to improve health outcomes.

"Naturopathic doctors are meeting the growing consumer demand for whole-body health care providers, and they are delivering better health outcomes at lower costs," said Michelle Simon, PhD, ND and Chair of the INM Board of Directors. "In addition to their ability to fill the growing shortage of primary care providers, [naturopathic doctors] are sought out for complementary specialty care in oncology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, cardiology, and other core fields."

Click here to read the bill in full.