Title

The Professionalization of Naturopathic Medicine

Date of Award

8-1-2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Department

Political Science & Public Administration

Abstract

Use and interest in naturopathic medicine, a comprehensive alternative healing modality, has been on the increase in the United States for more than a decade. Proponents of the health discipline are working to move it from its current position as a partially professionalized heterodox medical system into mainstream medicine in the United States. Advocates for this form of primary care medicine claim that through its use of natural therapeutics and preventive medicine, naturopathic medicine has the ability to curb the ever- escalating costs of American health care and to slow the epidemic of preventable diseases occurring in the United States. This paper explores the pros and cons of naturopathic medicine becoming a mainstream form of primary care in the U.S.

This thesis represents a Synthesis of four scholarly communities: medical efficacy, medical anthropology, law, and policy, all of which address on separate levels the topic of professionalization of naturopathic medicine. Qualitative research methods were used in the conduction of this study, including extensive research of the existing literature and queries directed to professional organizations and persons representing the naturopathic medical discipline.

This paper demonstrates that the medical system of naturopathic medicine is indeed poised and ready to enter mainstream American medicine, based largely on its ability to curb health care costs. Also key is the concept of a changing culture of medicine in the United States which calls for more personal responsibility in health care. Ultimately, naturopathic medicine is on the brink of transforming health care in America, but to do this it must win the support of key policy makerls and interest groups.

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