COMMENTARY

Working Toward More Patient-Centered Integrative Care

Julie Jacobson, MD

Disclosures

March 24, 2004

I found your article on naturopathic medicine[1] to be slanted and inflammatory. Naturopathic physicians have an extensive medical education (at accredited schools), including all of the basic sciences and pharmacology in addition to multiple other healing traditions. People who go into the field of study of naturopathic medicine study it for the same reasons as allopathic medicine. I think that many of the millions of people who seek care from naturopathic physicians could list the many horrible and unfair things that allopathic physicians have done to them, as our failures frequently seek these practitioners. I think it is senseless to think we have all of the answers and make the only right decisions. If we have all of the answers, why is there chronic disease?

I think that there is much we need to learn from these other healing professionals, and this extremist view of "us vs them" with "them" all being quacks out to hurt patients, is destructive. We need to learn from the things that both professions have to offer to work toward better, more patient-centered, integrated care. Just as there are bad MDs there are bad NDs. NDs now have national accreditation, and we should work to support that so that patients have access to people who are properly trained and can be allies in improving patient care.

I myself am ashamed of all I was not taught in medical school. My nutrition training consisted of primarily of biochemistry, severe deficiencies, and TPN. I learned very little about promoting health and taking the time to council patients, as our 10-minute patient visits don't allow it. I think the time has come not to fight among ourselves, but to work toward a system that will help us and our patients not only combat disease but attain and promote health.

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