The Institute for Natural Medicine (INM) is celebrating thirty years as the country’s primary source of information about naturopathic medicine. As we move from a post-peak pandemic era, we see that now more than ever, consumers are looking for a trusted source for online information about natural medicine. Since our inception in 1993, INM has become a valuable partner to the public for how and why naturopathic medicine is a cornerstone of integrative medicine.
The Institute for Natural Medicine has had many successes over its thirty years, including:
- Founding of the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) and the Naturopathic Medicine Collaborative (NMC), an assembly of 80 plus stakeholder organizations.
- Co-creating and launching the Campaign for Naturopathic Medicine with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) in 2017. This campaign helps address FAQs about the profession and provides trustworthy, reliable, and current information on the profession to the public.
- Spearheading the first profession-wide 3-year effort to create a “white paper” on naturopathic medicine entitled: Naturopathic Physicians, Specialists in Whole Person Health. Published in 2021, this document was unanimously supported by all major organizations across the profession and has been useful in raising awareness as well as state licensing efforts.
- Creating and funding the AANP Director of State Relations in 2018, which has contributed to six new state licensures.
- Placing naturopathic doctors in community health centers and launching a Primary Care Task Force to increase awareness about NDs as primary care providers. We have plans to do this across the country and change the fabric of a community medicine approach to include diet, nutrition, and lifestyle education.
- Creating an innovative Residency Consortium of clinics and standards for primary care naturopathic residency training. Our model engages major naturopathic academic centers, successful multi-practitioner primary care clinics, and a stakeholder fund that makes possible our clinic grants supporting 2-year primary care residencies. We’ve graduated are our sixth year with 67 residency graduates in the first 5 years. Our goal is residency for every graduate.
- Building childhood nutritional education video programming, like Naturally Well, taught by a naturopathic doctor and delivered to after-school programs in three states so far. This program belongs in every after-school setting.
- Researching and documenting at-risk communities using a novel Food as Medicine program to improve metabolic health for two groups of low-income individuals in rural North Carolina and Southern California.
- Producing the first ever Natural Medicine Housecall webinars and podcast series, called The ND Will See You Now, which interviews naturopathic doctors. Each one of these digital media formats educates the public about naturopathic medicine and the dedicated, talented naturopathic physicians who do such fantastic work.
- Fiscally sponsoring five organizations to foster these smaller nonprofits to grow their impact in the sector.
- Achieving successful funding for numerous joint proposals that included AANP, several state associations, the Naturopathic Medical Student Association, and specialty societies. INM has helped secure over $1 million in funding support for our partner organizations.
Our accomplishments have, in large part, happened because root-cause medicine has risen in popularity. The public sees the value of lower-level interventions as a first-level of care with interventions like diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. It is a model for where healthcare transformation can and will take us in the future.
The Institute for Natural Medicine was recently recognized as a Charity of Choice by the Spiegel Burn Foundation, further proving that the naturopathic model for a healthy functioning healthcare network inspires others. We were proud to be recognized.
As we move toward the future, we will strive to raise awareness about the power of naturopathic medicine. Throughout the next year, you will see more of our efforts to connect patients to licensed NDs. Our content will continue to shine a light on the work that naturopathic doctors are doing to improve the health of individuals and communities. Our work will further demonstrate that this model of health care can positively influence conventional systems to improve patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, and the health of our communities.
Our success depends on the many partners we work with. We welcome hearing from anyone who wants to support or join us as we increase public awareness of natural medicine options. The future is very bright for INM and naturopathic medicine. Join us at naturemed.org.
This article is provided by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing healthcare systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:
- Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
- Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
- Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine