Which ND Will Play Big Enough to Headline AANP 2015?

This year was my first at the AANP Conference, held at the gorgeous Biltmore Estate in Phoenix, Arizona. It was extremely well put together and plenty of fun, showing the best of modern naturopathic medicine. As a non-ND infiltrating their ranks, I was welcomed with open arms and it genuinely felt like a family. The title of the conference was ‘Naturopathic Primary Care: The Future is Now’.

As well as listening to a good few talks, I had an opportunity to connect with many NDs from across North America, all practicing their own version of naturopathic medicine and enjoying being amongst their tribe. Best party of the weekend goes to Natural Partners ‘AANPalaooza’ at the classic Wrigley Mansion, although I will never forget nailing the target with baseballs to drop consecutive past AANP presidents into a tank of water!

My talk centered around empowering NDs to do remarkable patient education possible only in the digital age, and in this way, take their rightful place in an optimal medical system… right at the front.

But one thing I noticed about the AANP this year, which flew in the face of the title of the conference, was that all the keynote presenters, those spoke with no ‘competition’ were MDs. For sure, they are all worthy of that honor, with doctors like Tracey Gaudet leading the charge to transform the VA. But if NDs really want to step up and be the future of primary care, surely an ND needs to be top billing? Ever seen an ND headlining a traditional medical conference?

The real question you have to ask is which NDs are going to play a big enough game in the next 12 months to justify a front line position at next years conference in Oakland?

Here are a few of my nominations (In no particular order)

Rick Kirschner ND – On Wednesday morning, Dr Kirschner gave a rousing history and call to action on the history and origins of the professional. Drawn heavily on the tireless research of Dr. Sussanna Czeranko, it shone a light on the politics American medicines transitional years (1850-1920) and was given with such passion and clarity of thought that there was a spontaneous standing ovation at the end. Dr. Kirschner shared with me later (in the pool) that his vision is to have 100 naturopaths giving that talk all over the country in the next year. This certainly has potential to be keynote worthy.

Meghan Walker ND – Dr. Walker, hailing from Ontario, Canada gave a great presentation on digital marketing strategies for the modern ND. Dr. Walker is also playing a big game on two fronts. Firstly, her web portal Bright Almond is making it easier for Canadians to find vetted, licensed practitioners, especially NDs. Secondly, her physician husband (who “gets it”) is leading WalMart Canada’s wellness division, and with 600,000 employees coupled with proven healthcare cost reductions by naturopaths, the potential is huge. If WalMart Canada is the new Safeway, this is a big game!

Walter Crinnion ND – Are we about to reach a critical mass of understanding in the general public about the need for environmental toxins and health? On one hand you have seemingly endless new studies coming out on everything fro, phalates (most recently in wine) to glyphosate, on the other you have conscious revolutions driven by bloggers like FoodBabe and communities like Paleo and Crossfit. Is it time to honor this pioneer and thought leader (again?) for his dedication to this topic?

Andrew Brandeis ND – Given that the conference in 2015 will be in Oakland, it would be a short commute for San Francisco based Dr. Brandeis. His startup, SharePractice, has been getting a lot of press, allowing doctors to ‘consult the collective experience’ of physicians, adding a unique social aspect to treatment best practice. With not only the potential to decentralize best practices communication but also the potential for integrative and naturopathic approaches to be seen and tried by conventional physicians, this could be profound news for the profession, and medicine.

Doni Wilson ND – Dr. Wilson’s convincing talk on gluten and neurological conditions shower her range of cutting edge insight in a year that has been dominated by the release of her book ‘The Stress Remedy’. How many more Fortune 500 CEOs will her star client, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, have to refer to make a massive impact of at the highest levels of corporate health in America?

My hope is that this gives all NDs some inspiration, not only to make AANP a worthwhile yearly “pilgrimage”, but also to play a big game and take the profession to the next level in 2015 and beyond.

Who did I miss? Who would you vote for?

James Maskell is dedicated to the Evolution of Medicine. From September 8-15th 2014, James will host the ‘Evolution of Medicine Summit‘, a free world wide digital event featuring experts and innovators on the cutting edge of creating sustainable change. Sign up today!

He is Founder and CEO of Revive Primary Care, a business that makes it easy to attain and maintain health by combining a nationwide team of functional and integrative doctors and practitioners with a scalable, digital, education platform. Keep up to date with this exciting project by signing up for the newsletter or on our Facebook page.

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