Need A Primary Care Physician? Get in Line! Or Consider a Naturopathic Doctor
Happy Naturopathic Medicine Week. As licensed NDs celebrate across the country, we are also aware that we are in the middle of another medical crisis. Plainly put, there are not enough doctors to go around. A piece in Salon outlines the dire statistics. Our population is growing while at the same time our doctors are retiring or leaving the profession early. Our medical schools cannot educate doctors fast enough. If you need a new primary care doctor, get in line!
As more patients present with increasingly complex medical histories and overlapping diagnoses, we have been looking to MDs trained overseas, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to fill in the gap. We should also look to licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs), trained to provide primary care, especially as more Americans are seeking complementary and natural health care.
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. Twenty-eight prominent health systems, hospitals, and cancer treatment centers now have one or more licensed naturopathic doctors on staff at their facilities, and the number is growing.
Trained to treat the whole person, naturopathic doctors help prevent or diagnose and treat acute and chronic illness. They complete a rigorous, science-based, four-year, post-graduate education in an accredited naturopathic medical college, recognized by the United States Department of Education.
With an emphasis on preventive medicine, NDs can help reverse the trend which leaves more than half of all Americans with a chronic disease. Research shows that addressing modifiable risk factors helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer, three of the biggest ailments impacting morbidity, mortality, and health care dollars spent in the United States.
Naturopathic doctors spend ample time with patients to take a full patient history, perform a physical examination, and assess diet, lifestyle, genetics, psycho-emotional factors, environmental issues, and other determinants of health. NDs are educated in state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures from laboratory ordering and review to referral for…