Naturopathic Doctors Ready to Support Whole Health Transformation in America 


The National Academies of Science (NAS) report, Achieving Whole Health, a New Approach for Veterans and the Nation1, recently gave the American health system a failing grade because “the country has designed a health system to cure disease and not to promote health.” Their Committee on Transforming Health Care to Create Whole Health calls for a whole healthcare solution that focuses on people-centered care and considers the needs of individuals, their families, and their community throughout their entire lifespan. The Institute for Natural Medicine contends that an example already exists. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are ready to support whole health care to close the gaps in primary care and other sectors of conventional medicine. 

Naturopathic medicine was founded on whole health care; its core values consider an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and spiritual health. Naturopathic medicine is, by definition, whole person care. 

Whole health is physical, behavioral, spiritual, and socioeconomic well-being as defined by individuals, families, and communities. To achieve this, whole health care is an interprofessional, team-based approach…[that] aligns with a person’s life mission, aspiration, and purpose.”

Achieving Whole Health: A New Approach for Veterans and the Nation, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), 2013. 

The COVID-19 pandemic showed how poorly prepared our country is to treat noncommunicable diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that 63.5% of COVID-19-related hospitalizations were jointly attributable to diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, and heart failure3. According to the CDC, 94.9% of those hospitalized for COVID infections had at least one underlying health issue, with obesity being the most deadly4

Medical care in the U.S. is focused on acute care and disease-symptom treatment rather than promoting overall well-being or preventing disease. A whole-health committee set up by the National Academy of Sciences says that addressing chronic lifestyle conditions that plague the nation will require a radical mindset shift. Conventional medicine is currently not equipped to address the social and community health factors that typically operate outside most healthcare systems. 

“The country has failed to adequately invest in addressing upstream factors that drive well-being; these known social determinants of health shape our daily lives and influence health more than health care delivery itself. The nation has focused on developing new cures to disease but has neglected to advance the science and systems of how we deliver care, which is essential to ensuring that the right people get the right care at the right time,” the committee wrote1.

Naturopathic Medicine is Whole Person Medicine 

Naturopathic medicine was founded on the principles of the social determinants of health. Naturopathic doctors use whole-health care for all their patients. NDs are trained to uncover, evaluate and address all obstacles to healing. It defines the individualized approach they give to every patient. 

A recent commentary in Global Advances in Health and Medicine2 points out that “naturopathic medicine is an existing model of whole-health delivery.” Its philosophies and foundational principles are at the apex of traditional and complementary therapies. Naturopathic doctors already serve as primary care physicians in several states. NDs are also trained and are ready to assist in educating other types of primary care physicians and conventional medical education institutions about how to transition to whole-person care. 

As is often the case with lifestyle conditions like those seen among the most chronically ill in America, their conditions are not defined as a singular ailment. Naturopathic medicine is ideally suited to address a constellation of symptoms, social and environmental barriers, and emotional health challenges. “Where allopathic medicine most often falls short, naturopathic medicine tends to shine,” says David Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, in a statement for the report, Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists. 

To achieve a patient’s goals, an integrative, whole person care model must support the interprofessional collaboration of naturopathic physicians with other healthcare professionals. “Naturopathic physicians working in integrative settings provide an exceptionally well-qualified experience base for fostering high-performance, cost-effective team-based care,” the report concludes. 

Naturopathic Medicine is: 

  1. Comprehensive in its approach to whole health, whole person primary care. 
  2. Focused on addressing underlying causes of acute and chronic diseases. 
  3. Dedicated to health promotion, minimally invasive therapies, and reducing healthcare costs. 
  4. Individualized to engage patients and to support health-related lifestyle and behavioral change.

“As medical institutions study solutions to the widening gap in primary care physicians and the importance of whole-person care, naturopathic medicine sits at the intersection of these critical issues,” says Michelle Simon, ND, Ph.D., CEO and president of the Institute for Natural Medicine.

Naturopathic Doctors Are One Solution to Address Gaps in Primary Care 

The preventive measures of lifestyle and behavioral medicine, defined within whole-person care, address the root cause of comorbidities that compounded the health catastrophes seen during the pandemic’s peak. Yet most medical doctors do not have adequate training in whole-person care (we outline the differences between an ND and MD, DO here). Lack of training is one barrier; shortage of primary care doctors is another. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 17,800 to 55,2000 primary care doctors in the U.S. by 2035.

“This annual analysis continues to show that our country will face a significant shortage of physicians in the coming years,” said AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, in the organization’s annual report. “The gap between the country’s increasing healthcare demands and the supply of doctors to adequately respond has become more evident as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge of having enough doctors to serve our communities will get even worse as the nation’s population continues to grow and age.”

One solution that has a proven track record is using naturopathic doctors in primary care settings, particularly in rural areas where shortages of primary care doctors are more prominent. “Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care, whole health physicians,” says Simon. The INM Primary Care Task Force was established in 2018 to ease the burden of physician shortages in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State is an ideal model for integrating naturopathic medicine into federally qualified health centers (FQHC). Doctors like Logan Rost, ND, have experienced great success addressing chronic conditions for patients in North Central Washington (read more about Dr. Rost here). 

Naturopathic physicians have been integrated into a larger team of providers with great success by adding the following practices to the primary care setting, where applicable: 

  1. Healthy diet, movement and exercise, stress management, emotional and spiritual health, toxin exposure management, social and environmental determinants 
  2. Therapeutic diets and nutrition therapy 
  3. Botanical medicines and dietary supplements 
  4. Restorative therapies: hydrotherapy, manual medicine, homeopathy, etc. 
  5. Evidence-based, disease-targeted therapy: therapeutic use of nutrients, vitamins, herbs, and, where state regulations include it in the profession’s scope of practice, pharmaceuticals 
  6. Physical medicine modalities: massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, regenerative injection therapy (trigger point therapy, prolotherapy, platelet therapy, etc.) 
  7. Mind-body techniques: mindfulness meditation, yoga, relaxation modalities, sensory-based therapies, behavioral modification, biofeedback, etc.

Naturopathic Medicine, Whole Health, and the Veterans Administration 

The NAS report suggests the creation of a National Center for Whole Health Innovation based on systems created by the Veterans Administration. The VA’s model for whole-health care has changed the healthcare conversation within its ranks from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What matters to you?”

When the VA developed its whole health program, it knew that licensed naturopathic doctors should be included – whole person care has always been the guiding foundation of naturopathic medicine. “Since the inception, naturopathic physicians have been a part of the VA’s team approach to whole person care,” says Dr. Simon. 

An American Association of Naturopathic Physicians survey of Veterans found that nearly two-thirds (64%) prefer to see a doctor who prescribes natural therapies before considering drugs or surgery. Nearly three-quarters of veterans (73%) would consider seeing a naturopathic physician if that professional were on staff at a nearby VA facility. Veterans are interested in doctors who emphasize noninvasive, natural therapies and spend time with their patients on individualized whole-person care. 

Whole-health care has a dual approach to care: it addresses the “social and structural medical determinants,” which are at the root of most poor health in the U.S. Like naturopathic medicine, whole health care promotes resilience, disease prevention, and restoring health. It also educates patients about their role in changing behaviors and adopting life-long healthy habits to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. 

Source: Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists

All of the guiding principles of naturopathic medicine correlate to what is defined as whole person care today: 

First, Do No Harm
Core to all medical practice is the desire to help the human form and condition. Naturopathic doctors typically approach care by utilizing the most natural, least invasive, and least toxic therapies. If necessary, NDs will refer a patient to another doctor when the patient’s presentation is outside their scope or level of skill.

The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic doctors use nature and innate healing as the foundation of human health. Naturopathic doctors recognize and harness the body’s natural ability to heal itself in order to guide patients to wellness and total health.

Identify and Treat the Root Causes
There is a time and place for symptom suppression. However, NDs identify the underlying causes of illness and remove obstacles to cure and heal first and foremost. 

Doctor as Teacher
Naturopathic doctors focus on patient health literacy. Naturopathic doctors partner with patients and other practitioners to help them better understand what it takes to be and stay well. Through education and a trust-based relationship, patients and other healthcare providers better understand the steps necessary for better health. 

Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic doctors understand the interconnectedness of the body, the environment, and lifestyle on total health. It is only through this whole-person-based approach that NDs seek to restore balance and health.

Naturopathic medicine affirms that it is better to prevent illness and suffering whenever possible. Through their comprehensive practice, NDs combine all six principles to identify potential areas of imbalance and teach patients how to get well and stay well.

Naturopathic Doctors are Trained in the Core Values of Whole Person Care

Few realize that naturopathic doctors who graduate from accredited naturopathic medical schools have the same training as medical doctors, plus hundreds of hours of education in whole-health medicine to address the root causes of chronic lifestyle conditions. Naturopathic medical students participate in four-year, hands-on medical school training plus clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, and counseling. 

These practices are not well known in the conventional medical system and are sometimes met with skepticism. Alex H. Krist and Jeannette South-Paul, Co-Chairs of the Committee of Transforming Health Care to Create Whole Health, point out in the NAS report’s preface that it will require a “significant amount of coordination and harmonizing of different systems of care” as other doctors and other types of healthcare providers are integrated into clinical settings under the practice of whole person care. Each brings a new level of knowledge and education about personalized medicine and whole person care. 

“While this type of change may seem like a big lift for conventional medicine, the knowledge to bring whole person care to healthcare institutions already exists. There are hard-working integrative and naturopathic physicians working in well-known hospitals, academic institutions, and federally supported clinical settings who can help guide this process,” says Dr. Simon. 

Naturopathic physicians who work in integrative settings have proven they provide an exceptionally well-qualified experience base for fostering high-performance, cost-effective, team-based care for whole health medicine. Naturopathic medicine also supports the interprofessional collaboration of naturopathic doctors with other healthcare professionals to teach how to implement whole person care in various clinical, academic, and hospital settings. 

As the medical system moves toward whole person care, it will be necessary for other healthcare providers to understand that naturopathic doctors graduate from accredited medical colleges, a fact often misunderstood in conventional medicine.

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is categorized as a discipline of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine by the World Health Organization and a system of complementary and integrative health (CIH) by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health (NCCIH).

We submit naturopathy is most accurately portrayed as an existing model of whole health delivery, defined by its philosophies and predilection for integrating traditional and complementary therapies within the structure and responsibilities of primary care.1 In the United States, states such as Oregon and Washington, where naturopathic doctors (ND) are licensed and regulated as primary care providers, their scope of practice can include evidence-based diet and lifestyle counseling, mind-body therapies, natural products, joint manipulation, physical therapy, minor surgery, pharmaceuticals, and more.2,3 

However, the scope of practice, training, licensure, and professional designations (i.e., naturopathic practitioners (NPs) or naturopaths versus naturopathic doctors) vary by country and state, making the global contribution of naturopathy in healthcare challenging to quantify from a health services perspective.4 Yet, the unifying principles within naturopathy serve as essential frameworks in delivering whole health in primary care—treating the whole person, identifying the root cause of disease, disease prevention, and health promotion.

Given their representation globally, NDs are uniquely positioned to introduce and guide patients through diverse medical modalities, including those considered both “complementary” and “conventional,” in an evidence-based framework, exemplifying a culturally appropriate and holistic model of care.5

‘Naturopath’ is a common term among some complementary and alternative health therapists, which only adds further confusion. Naturopathic doctors, however, have a four-year medical degree from a graduate-level naturopathic medical school, which is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 

  1. Eight naturopathic medical schools in the U.S. and Canada are accredited by the US Department of Education,
  2. Each includes a 4-year doctoral program of 4,100 total hours and 1,200 clinical hours; 
  3. Two years of biomedical sciences,  two years of clinical sciences, and 700 patient visits are required to graduate;
  4. A postdoctoral licensing examination is required by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners.

Evidence for Integrating Naturopathic Medicine into Whole Person Care

The National Academies of Sciences report shows that people are not getting the right care at the right time. It’s time to integrate all whole person care disciplines and give Americans the care they need. 

Naturopathic medicine’s focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and minimally invasive treatments has many positive benefits, including: 

  1. Cost savings for conditions burdening the medical system and insurance companies, including pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and others. 
  2. Primary prevention practices that address root causes of illness to decrease the development and progression of disease and its complications.
  3. Enhanced effectiveness of conventional medical treatments by minimizing side effects through non-invasive treatments. 
  4. Improved treatment response and decreased recovery time from invasive procedures. 

Numerous studies support the effectiveness, cost savings, and patient satisfaction when naturopathic medicine is integrated into conventional medical settings: 

  1. Patient-reported experiences with first-time naturopathic care for type 2 diabetes, Oberg, et al. 2012.

Conclusion: The routine clinical approach used by NDs is consistent with behavior change theory, and clinical strategies found most effective in promoting self-efficacy and improving clinical outcomes. 

  1. The role for naturopathic medicine in hospital-based care, Bernhardt, et al. 2017. 

Conclusion: This study of 1,711 acute-care inpatients with an average hospital stay of 11.9 days showed a high degree of patient satisfaction with combined care from naturopathic and academic medicine providers. Patient teams were composed according to specific patient needs and included: general medicine specialists, naturopathic doctors, anesthesiologists, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and allied healthcare providers. Integration of naturopathic medicine into acute inpatient care: an approach for patient-centered medicine under diagnosis-related groups. 

  1. Integration of naturopathic medicine into acute inpatient care: an approach for patient-centered medicine under diagnosis-related groups. Romeyke, et al. 2017. 

Conclusion: A majority of patients rated integration of naturopathic practice into hospital settings positively. Integrating naturopathy may be effective for multi-morbid patients and patient-centered care can improve staff satisfaction levels. Integrating naturopathy into clinical practice “can serve as a Unique Selling Proposition.” Integration of naturopathic medicine into acute inpatient care: An approach for patient-centered medicine under diagnosis-related groups. 

  1. A naturopathic approach to the prevention of cardiovascular disease: cost-effectiveness analysis of a pragmatic multi-worksite randomized clinical trial. Herman, et al. 2014. 

Conclusion: This multi-worksite-based study showed that a naturopathic approach to CVD primary prevention significantly reduced CVD risk over usual care plus biometric screening, and reduced costs to society ($1,138) and employers ($1,187). 

  1. Group-based naturopathic education for primary prevention of noncommunicable disease in families and children: a feasibility study. Solomonian, et al. 2019.

Conclusion: Group-based family education in primary prevention delivered by naturopathic physicians may be a feasible education method for caregivers. Healthy behaviors between parents and children were correlated. A majority of families were satisfied with the program and showed ongoing benefits at six weeks+ after completion. 

  1. Naturopathic medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized clinical trial. Seely, et al. 2013. 

Conclusion: For each quality-adjusted life years (QALY) saved, a lifestyle modification program costs $8,800 while metformin therapy costs $29,000. Additionally, the lifestyle modification program was shown to be cost-effective in all adults, while metformin was not cost-effective after age 65.

We’ve learned through great hardship that whole health is needed to restore the health of America. “Whole health is an approach that holds great potential for addressing major challenges in health care workforce well-being that have only intensified in recent years,” said Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine, in a press statement. “As the report says, shifting to a whole health approach would put a renewed focus on professionally diverse teams that work together to provide integrated care — improving efficiency, mitigating burnout, and reducing strain on our health care workers.” 

As this country moves toward whole health, it will require a radical transformation to maintain high-quality medicine while embracing a patient’s individual health values, goals, and priorities. A whole person model of care, by definition, encompasses all aspects of medical care and takes into account the entire person, their family, and their community. This is a sharp contrast to current models of conventional medicine, particularly in primary care. Naturopathic doctors are ready to play a role in this exciting time of transformation. 

To find a naturopathic doctor who practices whole-person medicine, visit our Find a Natural Doctor directory. 

To learn more about naturopathic medical schools and find out more about naturopathic medical education, click here. 


  1. Achieving Whole Health, A New Approach for Veterans and the Nation, National Academies, Science Engineering Medicine. Feb. 2023.
  2. Sadowski, A., Garofalo, L., Welsh, A., & Bradley, R. (2022). Naturopathic Doctors: An Underutilized Resource of Whole Health Delivery in Primary Care. Global advances in health and medicine11, 2164957X221079787. doi:
  3. O’Hearn M, Liu J, Cudhea F, Micha R, Mozaffarian D. Coronavirus Disease 2019 Hospitalizations Attributable to Cardiometabolic Conditions in the United States: A Comparative Risk Assessment Analysis [published correction appears in J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Apr 6;10(7):e020858]. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021;10(5):e019259. doi:
  4. Kompaniyets L.Underlying Medical Conditions and Severe Illness Among 540,667 Adults Hospitalized With COVID-19, March 2020–March 2021. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2021;18. doi:

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

INM's team is made up of naturopathic doctors and health journalists.

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Deb Hubers

Debra Hubers is a serial entrepreneur and has started seven businesses; ranging from an advanced genomics to an employer health care purchasing cooperative. Deb has over 35 years of experience in healthcare finance, education, technology, and pharmacogenomics.

Ms. Hubers has dedicated her career to measuring and improving healthcare outcomes. Her expertise is leveraging technology to deliver personalized, preventative medicine. Ms. Hubers co-founded La Vita Compounding Pharmacy in 2007. Collaborating with her business partner, physicians and strategic partners, Deb has grown La Vita to be one of the most respected and sought-after personalized medicine providers on the west coast. She is also Co-Founder of EpigeneticsRx, a leading provider of precise, personalized, prevention which positively impacts genetic expression.

Alex Keller, ND

Dr. Alex Keller, ND, AFMCP is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor in Health Sciences and Psychology. Although originally intending to attend conventional medical school, following a three-month volunteer internship at a rural Kenyan hospital where he observed how doctors used local food to treat patients, he shifted his career goals and pursued a degree in naturopathic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

After one year of practicing with the esteemed Dr. Chris Pickrell, ND, RH in a community acupuncture setting, in 2015 he and his wife Dr. Jenn Keller, ND moved to rural Ottawa, Canada where they started an organic farm and retreat center. In the same year, Alex and his athletic therapist sister Jess Keller combined their practices to form Keller Active Health, an integrative physical therapy clinic.

Ever curious and passionate about the education of evidence-based natural medicine, in 2017, Dr. Keller joined a fledgling Ottawa-based health tech startup named Fullscript. He serves as its Medical Director and oversees the development of medical education content for practitioners across North America.

Prior to medicine, Alex worked in the renewable energy sector, where he developed a deep passion for sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. This connection between medicine and agriculture now drives Alex to focus much of his energy on bringing awareness to the quality and sourcing standards in the supplement and organic agriculture supply chains.

Today, he splits his professional time practicing as a clinician, working for Fullscript, and expanding the farming operation while chasing his kids with Jenn and occasionally running ultra-marathon trail races. He is also currently completing an Executive MBA through the Quantic School of Business & Technology with a focus on supply chain innovation.

Pamela Snider, ND

Pamela Snider, ND, is Executive and Senior Editor for the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Project, producing a first of its kind international textbook of Naturopathic medicine through a series of international retreats and symposia. A nationally recognized integrative health and policy leader, she is active in both national and regional integrative health initiatives. Dr. Snider serves on the Board of Directors, was founding Executive Director and co-founder of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Health (ACIH/ACCAHCa consortium of the councils of schools, accrediting agencies and certifying bodies of the licensed, traditional and emerging integrative health professions, and is currently Vice Chair and co-founder of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC).  Dr. Snider served as a founding Board Member of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine from 2014-2016. Her public policy work includes completing a two year appointment to the DHHS Center For Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC); serving as a Steering Committee Member for  the HRSA funded American College of Preventive Medicine NCCIM Integrative Medicine in Preventive Medicine Residency program, co-directing in USPHS Region X the Building Bridges Between Provider Communities Group, an exploration of interdisciplinary collaboration and common ground between public health and CAM; serving for 22 years on Washington State’s Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program Advisory Committee (HPLRSP); providing technical assistance to and developing key language for the enabling legislation for NIH Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCIH/NCCAM); and staffing Joseph Pizzorno ND during his appointment as Commissioner on the White House Commission on CAM Policy.

From 1994-2003, Dr. Snider served as Associate Dean for Public and Professional Affairs and Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University, dividing her work between academic and public affairs activities, including chairing the Naturopathic Medicine Program Curriculum Review Committee.  Dr. Snider has been teaching, publishing and lecturing widely on Naturopathic philosophy, theory integrative health, public policy, and other topics for over 30 years. Currently, an Associate Professor at National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, OR, Dr. Snider also continues at Bastyr University in her 22nd year as a faculty member teaching naturopathic medicine history, clinical theory, and global context. Among her Naturopathic medicine professional roles she serves on the Institute for Natural Medicine’s Leadership Council.  In 1989, she co-led the naturopathic profession with Dr. Jared Zeff, in developing a unifying definition of naturopathic medicine and its principles of practice adopted unanimously by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) House of Delegates. She was a co-investigator in the 2004 NIH NCCAM research study, the North American Naturopathic Medical Research Agenda and CAM Advisor in NIHCCAM’s Financing Integrative Health Care (University of Washington).  Her areas of experience include healthcare education; naturopathic and interdisciplinary clinical theory, curriculum development; clinical practice; government and legislative affairs, public policy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community organizing.  Dr. Snider has received the Ontario Naturopathic Physician of the Year Award, the Physician of the Year Award from the AANP, the President’s Outstanding Vision Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award at Bastyr University, AANP’s President’s Award, an honorary Doctorate of Naturopathic Philosophy from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), the William A Mitchell Vis Award from the AANP and The Gathering – NMSA’s Beacon Award. She received her ND degree in 1982 from Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences and is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Washington. She lives with her husband and children at their homestead in North Bend Washington, in the beautiful mountain to sea landscape and home of The Revival – Restore the Vis, an annual student-led community gathering.

Susan Haeger

Susan Haeger is Founder/Principal of Transformative Health Solutions Inc. She has applied her twenty plus years in executive leadership to help shape and drive adoption of progressive health policy for whole person healthcare. She was a section contributor to the 2021 INM/AANP published professional white paper, Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists: The Future is Whole Person Health Care that provides supporting evidence for the profession’s significant and unique contributions to preventive, whole person care and models of integrative clinical practice.

Bruce Barlean

Bruce Barlean is an owner and founder of Barlean’s, a global dietary supplement manufacturer located in the Pacific Northwest in Ferndale, WA. Bruce has been actively involved in the Natural Products industry since 1989 and is passionate about making a difference in the world and positively impacting the lives of others.

Bruce believes that people can make a difference in the world through ordinary purchases. He is committed to improving the quality of life for every person on the planet by making the best products and by using the profits to support outreach programs. Bruce summarizes it simply, “We make good stuff to do good stuff”.

In the late 1980’s Bruce became passionate about how health could be dramatically improved with Flax Oil Supplementation. Bruce along with his entrepreneurial parents saw the potential to improve the lives of many people and in 1989 they began selling Flax Oil under the Barlean’s name. From 1989 – 2000 the business grew an average of 40% year over year. While most companies saw a decline in business in the 2001 recession, Barlean’s continued to grow and soon became America’s #1 selling flaxseed oil and continues to be to the present. The brand has since expanded to include additional oils, green food concentrates and other premium supplements. Bruce continues to drive innovation and over the years his products and company have won countless awards including: Eight consecutive Vity Awards for #1 EFA, Six consecutive Vity Awards for #1 Greens Food Supplement, Natural Choice Award for Best Specialty Supplement, Best Product of the Year, Best New Product, Gold Medal Taster’s Choice Award, Gold Medal American Masters of Taste Award, #1 Health Food Store Brand for Consumer Satisfaction by Consumer Lab, and Manufacturer of the Year.

In 2013 as the company was on the eve of celebrating the 25th year in business Bruce and his parents decided to take their desire to help people to a new level that they call Pathway to a Better Life – which is now seen in the Barlean’s logo. Bruce and his parents had always been generous in their giving and support of charities, but as part of the Pathway to a Better Life they decided to increased partnership with charitable organizations such as: Vitamin Angels, Compassion International, KidsTown International, Autism Hope Alliance, Engedi Refuge, Project 92, and others. And because so many people are unable to meet basic nutritional needs, Bruce created a comprehensive Omega-3 and multivitamin formula that he distributes free-of-charge to local food banks. In addition, Bruce decided the company would supply food banks with organic coconut oil to provide people with a health alternative to standard cooking oils.

Always generous with his time Bruce has served as a youth leader for his local church for several years and continues to mentor youth. He has been on several not for profit boards including; Whatcom County Pregnancy Center (2003-2006), Natural Products Association (dates?), and the Institute for Natural Medicine Leadership Council (presently).

The Barlean family have been avid supporters of Bastyr University since the 1990’s and in 2013 were given Bastyr’s most prestigious honor, the Mission Award, which recognizes their leadership over time in improving the health and well-being of the human community.

Bruce currently resides in Ferndale, WA with his wife Lisa and their two dogs: Heinz & Shadow. When he’s not helping others he can be found fishing (catch & release).

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Michelle Simon

Michelle Simon, PHD, ND

President & CEO

As president and CEO of INM, Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI), and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a women’s off-road motorcycling class.