I am a physician and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. I believe that Governor Baker should sign the naturopath licensing bill (“Veto naturopath licensing bill”). My experiences in working with naturopathic doctors has been that they are happy to work collaboratively with physicians and are often more knowledgeable than many of my conventionally trained colleagues in providing counseling around exercise, nutrition, potential herb-drug interactions, and the appropriate and evidence-based use of complementary therapies.
Naturopathic medicine is safe and effective for treating many health conditions and can be a helpful adjunct to conventional treatments, especially for many chronic diseases where prescription medicines have limited efficacy. A growing body of evidence supports many naturopathic treatments. Moreover, several studies have demonstrated that naturopathic care is cost-effective and potentially even cost-saving. This is a critical point given the escalating costs of health care and the need to increase access to wellness-based services for population health.
In Washington state, where I attended medical school, naturopathic doctors have been licensed for many years, provide primary care, and serve an important role. It is time for citizens of the Commonweath to have similar access to naturopathic care.