A Whirlwind Week Taking Naturopathic Medical Education to the Next Level


Guest post by JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE

Naturopathic doctors from across North America came together mid-August for a week during the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) conference in Portland, Oregon to unite brains for the betterment of accredited naturopathic medical education and patient care.

The AANMC kicked off its meetings with two back-to-back days  for the Council of Chief Academic and Clinical Officers (CCACO). Clinical and academic leadership came together to collectively take naturopathic medical education to the next level. Higher education, health care systems and students are rapidly changing. Naturopathic medical education needs to be responsive and adaptive to those changes. Our prospective students, current students and doctors are speaking, we are listening.

A few things we’re looking at:

  • Modernization of prerequisite requirements to match data on student performance
  • Clinical education that meets the demands of a changing health care system and patient population
  • Increasing diversity in both student and leadership population
  • Harnessing technology to teach smarter and more efficiently

CCACO not only tackled these topics – but also adopted the culmination of over a year and a half’s work revising the Core Competencies of the Graduating Naturopathic Student. The competencies are intended to align curriculum and define expectations of recent graduates from accredited programs, and are used throughout North America to demonstrate the abilities of our graduates to legislators and insurers alike. They were initially published in 2015.

​Many in our faculty and academic community participated in the Naturopathic Summit on the Future of Naturopathic Medicine. The guiding purpose of the Summit was to unify the ND community around actionable steps to elevate the profession. Five key topics dominated the day:

  1. Education Reform and Modernization
  2. Naturopathic Identity
  3. Professional Collaboration
  4. Graduate Success
  5. Research

AANMC is excited for next steps and community input in modernization of naturopathic curriculum that honors our past and principles while looking forward to the future needs of students and patients. We are committed to each of these areas and especially the success of our graduates.

The AANMC Board of Directors then convened their quarterly meeting and welcomed in Dr. Christine Girard as the new Vice President. The Board heard from our academic, professional and student communities, and are ever-striving to lead in improving the quality of naturopathic medical education in North America.

Many of the AANMC member schools capped off Thursday night of the AANP conference with alumni festivities and an all-school dance. It’s always inspiring to see decades of graduates coming back to both honor their teachers and institutions as well as connect with old friends and colleagues. So many of our classmates often feel more like family. So for many of us – coming together at the AANP conference isn’t just about professional connections and continuing education – but more of a family reunion.

The conference continued with over 100 vendors in the exhibit hall, stations for self-care – where we can practice what we preach – and cutting-edge continuing education that will propel ND clinical practice to the next level.

​AANMC hosted an exhibit hall table (Dr. Yanez is pictured at left) to educate students and practicing doctors on the recent changes in naturopathic residencies. Big thanks to the NUNM residency team for helping to staff the table and provide valuable insight from both resident/student and site director perspectives. For more information regarding naturopathic residencies and our new, online, centralized application – click here.


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