Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” host, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss the recent passage of the Pennsylvania naturopathic licensure bill and what it means for the naturopathic community.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
- Pennsylvania naturopathic licensure bill in effect January 2018
- Practicing in a licensed vs. prelicensed state
- Accredited naturopathic schools
- Why there are no online accredited naturopathic schools
Erin Brinker: Welcome back! I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are “On the Brink,” the morning show here on KCAA, excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is with Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. I think I got that right! So, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, forgive me, welcome to the show!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning, Erin. Thank you so very much. Yes, it can be a mouthful, especially on an early morning.
Erin Brinker: You know we were here until about 10:45 last night.
Tobin Brinker: Yeah.
Erin Brinker: And so, please forgive us. Please forgive me. Let me give you a real introduction here. She’s the executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, and the vice chair of the ACIH. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. As AANMC executive director, she oversees research, advocacy efforts, and the joint academic endeavors of the Accredited Colleges of Naturopathic Medicine. Additionally, she helps spread awareness of naturopathic medicine as a viable and satisfying career path. So-
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, thank you so very much for having me with you all again this morning. I’m happy to be here.
Erin Brinker: So, everything’s about the election today. So, Pennsylvania governor has signed a naturopathic medicine bill. Tell us about that.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes! No, I understand everything is about the election and folks are really all thinking about that. We’ve definitely gone through a lot in the country over the last 24 hours. In regards to this new legislation that’s just been signed into law, we are so excited! So, the Pennsylvania governor has signed the bill. Tom Wolf added Pennsylvania to the list of all of the regulated states in North America, and Pennsylvania now registers and regulates naturopathic doctors for access, really for patients in Pennsylvania. And we are so thrilled!
Erin Brinker: So, now, are there similar … is this the first state in the United States to do this?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh gosh, no! So, there have been states all over the country licensed since the early 1900’s. However, what happened with licensure is that a number of the states’ licensing laws basically went dormant and they went away from lack of use. And so now, the states are coming back one by one and granting licensure and registration to naturopathic doctors. So, Pennsylvania is now the 21st jurisdiction in the U.S. There are others all across the country. The most recent additions have been Maryland and Colorado.
Tobin Brinker: So, before this legislation passed, before it was signed, what was it like in Pennsylvania or in other states that don’t have it? I mean, do they have naturopathic doctors? Are they allowed to have them? Or are they sort of working under the table? I mean, what’s … how was it before they have this kind of licensing and then-
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Tobin, that’s-
Tobin Brinker: … how does it change once they have it?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, that is an awesome question. So, there are actually naturopathic doctors all across the country. Every day we get students from pre-licensed states that say, “Hey, I love this medicine and I want to go back to my state. What can I do?” And so, there are state associations of naturopathic doctors across the licensed and pre-licensed states working for legislation within the state. And so really what’s happening in one of the pre-licensed states, an ND’s working often as a consultant. There are a number of different ways that we can work legally within the state based on state licensure laws and what you can do without an actual license.
But obviously, the licensure allows for an increased scope of practice. It allows for better patient access. It ultimately will allow for insurance coverage.
Tobin Brinker: That’s big.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … if the docs in the state want to go that route. So, that’s really what ends up happening, is it becomes more of an opening of access to patients. And also, the biggest thing honestly that I have to say licensure allows for is understanding who went through the appropriate 4-year accredited education to become a naturopathic doctor. So, if you’re not … if there’s no licensure, Tobin, Erin, you guys could call yourself an ND.
Erin Brinker: That is ridiculous!
Tobin Brinker: Right?
Erin Brinker: That is utterly ridiculous!
Tobin Brinker: But we know people-
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so-
Tobin Brinker: … that do that though. They will tell you, “I’m a holistic healer.” And they start using all these, this language and the terms, but they don’t have any real-
Erin Brinker: They’ve not taken a biology class!
Tobin Brinker: … education.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: They haven’t gone through the formal education, and so really what this does is … It’s all about public protection. And it’s about the public knowing that if somebody is using this term naturopathic doctor, they have gone through four years of accredited medical school, they have passed board exams, they maintain their continuing education in their designation, and they’re trained to do what they’re saying they’re doing. And so, there have been online programs that have popped up over the years saying that you can become an ND online and I’m here to tell you that that’s really not an appropriate way to become a doctor-
Erin Brinker: No!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: in our current century right now. So, I think most folks would want to know that their doctor had attended a hands-on school, and had live patients, and has had physician mentors to make sure that they were doing exams right and all that kind of stuff. And so, that’s what you can guarantee you’ve had when you’ve gone to a doctor who’s graduated from one of our member schools. I get folks all the time saying, “Oh, well, I’m not able to move right now and go to one of your schools.” And I say to them, “I understand that. Don’t give up on your dreams, but online ND education isn’t an appropriate solution.”
Erin Brinker: So, how would do a science lab online?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … for a naturopathic education.”
Erin Brinker: Yeah! And then, forgive me, how would you do a science lab online? How would that work? How would you do an anatomy class online? There’s a reason why medical schools require you to be there.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, so that’s … Medical education is constantly evolving and technology is allowing for advances that we didn’t think were possible five, ten years ago. But at the end of the day, there is a huge benefit … So much of what the benefit to naturopathic doctor patient relationship is about the relationship and the interpersonal communication, and the ability for someone to really feel safe and secure knowing that they’re with a practitioner who cares about their individual care. And that’s the type of the thing that you really need hands-on training for.”
Erin Brinker: You do!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … for. So, it’s really exciting with this Pennsylvania law. We’re so happy for the docs that are in the state and the patients that are in the state that now have access to NDs. The law actually goes into effect in January of 2018. So, in the next year they’re going to be putting together a licensing board or a registration board, and flushing out the details in the meantime. But we’re really excited to announce the Pennsylvania law and continue to support these states that are seeking licensure across the U.S.
Erin Brinker: So, with more states seeking licensure, do you foresee additional naturopathic universities coming online? And when I say online, I mean opening up and becoming accredited.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. Yeah, actually we have a … there’s a school that has … is in the candidacy stage right now for accreditation in Puerto Rico. There are two other school presidents who have approached me wanting to open up programs, one in the mid-Atlantic region, and one in the southern Southwest region. So, it’s just really, really exciting to see the growth of this profession, the growth of patients interested in a wellness based approach to healthcare, preventing illness instead of just masking symptoms, folks that are really interested in seeing what the root cause of their illness is and focusing on that. And that’s where ND succeed. We do really well at helping people uncover the underlying core issues of why they’re not feeling well, and then helping teach them how to really make the changes to make those long-lasting health impacts.
Erin Brinker: Well, that’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much Dr. Yanez for joining us again today. Just to remind our listeners, you’re going to be on with us once a month and this is going to be a regular segment because health is so important! And one thing I like about naturopathic medicine is that it looks at the whole body, it looks at the whole self, it looks at … It doesn’t treat symptoms, it treats patients! And so, as a fan of naturopathic medicine, I’m just excited to have you be part of our morning show crew.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: My pleasure! Thank you so much for having me on this morning.
Erin Brinker: Thank you so much-
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I hope you guys get some rest today.
Erin Brinker: Sorry it was little bumpy to start, I apologize! Yes, I’ll be sleeping today.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Not a problem! Not a problem. Totally understood, trust me.
Erin Brinker: Cool, thank you so much! Alright, it’s time-
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Okay, thanks.
Erin Brinker: Thank you. It’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are “On the Brink,’ the Morning Show here on KCAA, the trifecta of talk. We’ll be right back.