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Naturopathic Doctors in Wisconsin Can Now Apply for Licenses but Need to Act Fast

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Press Release

MADISON, WI: When Governor Tony Evers signed a bill allowing licensure for naturopathic doctors (NDs) in Wisconsin in 2022, the race was on to meet a two-year implementation deadline.

“It’s a very short time frame,” says Allison Becker, ND, LAc, a member of the Naturopathic Medicine Examining Board charged with drafting the rules and regulations needed to grant licenses. “Other state boards have been in the rules-writing process for many, many years before they can get licenses out,” she adds. 

Thanks to active state support, a focused and independent board, and more than a few eight-hour-long meetings, NDs can finally apply online for their licenses. Yet they too are up against the clock. 

According to the law, every qualifying naturopathic doctor in Wisconsin must apply for their license by March 1, now less than a month away. “If they miss this deadline, and they’re calling themselves a naturopathic doctor and have appropriate training, they could be fined or approached by the state for practicing without a license,” says Sara Norris, ND, legislative chair of the Wisconsin Naturopathic Doctors Association. “That’s the impetus of getting this announcement out there as quickly as possible.” 

Getting licenses into the hands of qualified NDs will have an immediate impact, according to Dr. Norris. “[Licenses] provide naturopathic doctors with appropriate training to be able to order labs and [opportunities] for people to get exams and really see their NDs to the full extent of their scope and training.” Dr. Norris also points out that these licenses will benefit and protect patients too. “With licensure, it allows us as a state to ensure, for patient safety, that nobody is calling themselves a doctor of naturopathic medicine or an ‘ND’ without actually having proper credentials.”

In contrast to the 15-year-long legislative process that brought naturopathic licensure to the state, the application process is quick and straightforward. Online applications are now live on license.wi.gov, with doctors primarily providing their school transcripts from a CNME–accredited four-year medical school to prove their eligibility. A grandfathering clause will also allow a limited number of existing providers who didn’t go to a CNME school to apply if they meet stringent criteria. This opportunity, however, will permanently end after the March 1 deadline. Later renewals, starting in 2025 and repeating every two years, will have more rigorous requirements, including exams about the rules they are governed by.

“I think other states can perhaps learn from what has helped us be so efficient,” says Dr. Becker. “I feel we are really doing the profession justice … we’re really laying the foundation for NDs to be able to be successful in Wisconsin.” 

As for how it feels to finally give out those licenses, Dr. Becker is relishing the moment. “It’s awesome,” she says. “It’s really amazing—and a huge relief because it’s been a long time coming.”

Wisconsin becomes the 26th state to license naturopathic doctors, with active licensure initiatives ongoing in nine more. “With Wisconsin becoming the 26th U.S. jurisdiction to regulate NDs, we have reached the halfway mark towards our top state advocacy priority,” says Dr. Kasra Pournadeali, AANP president. “We applaud the Wisconsin Naturopathic Doctors Association and Wisconsin NDs for getting the job done and accelerating the pace towards licensing all U.S. jurisdictions.”

Media Contact

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Taryn Ernest
Phone: 202-849-6308
taryn.ernest@naturopathic.org

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This article is provided by

The Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. INM’s mission is to transform health care in the United States by increasing public awareness of natural medicine and access to naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic medicine, with its person-centered principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness overwhelming healthcare systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain optimal lifelong health. INM strives to fulfil this mission through the following initiatives:

  • Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of evidence-based natural medicine
  • Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
  • Research – Expand quality research on this complex and comprehensive system of medicine

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