Naturopathic Doctors Fill in Gap in Physician Shortage
Huffington Post Blog - December 2012
by Amy Rothenberg, ND
In this cogent and timely editorial in the New York Times, a good case is made, in light of the severe shortage of primary care doctors, that the American medical scene should make better use of non-MD options for patient care. Missing from the list of options was naturopathic doctors. Though our numbers are small, naturopathic doctors (NDs) have the ability to provide needed care, especially in underserved areas. Licensable naturopathic doctors attend four-year, in-residence, full-time naturopathic medical school at institutions recognized by regional accrediting bodies. Schools are recognized by the Federal Department of Education, and students are eligible for federal loan monies. Sixteen states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have laws licensing NDs and in many states where there is not current licensure efforts to gain it are in place. NDs must graduate from an accredited naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.