In a world marked by challenges and constant change, the endurance of a nonprofit for three decades is a testament to its resilience and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact. As the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM) is midway through our 30th Anniversary year, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the journey. Our longevity has been determined by several factors, including adaptability, community engagement, a relentless pursuit of our mission, and financial sustainability.
Nonprofits that have endured for 30 years have demonstrated a remarkable capacity to adapt their strategies, programs, and operations to remain relevant and effective. INM has benefited from a message about naturopathic medicine that is even more timely now than when we started. The public is disillusioned with our health care system. Our message especially resonates with younger generations who seek proactive, health-promoting advice rather than reactive, acute medicine approaches that manage rather than solve health conditions.
INM has demonstrated a dynamic and forward-thinking nature. For example, whole person health is now a popular topic both in the public and with policymakers. In recognition of this trend, in 2017, INM began to work with leaders in the profession to create a universally supported publication, Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists, published in 2021 (https://naturemed.org/community-resources/naturopathic-medicine-collaborative/). Naturopathic doctors have been practicing a whole health approach for more than 100 years. This booklet outlines the value proposition of naturopathic doctors as being educated and trained to deliver whole person health care effectively, safely and cost-effectively. We published just on the cusp of the national dialogue about whole health, and the document has been useful in state licensing efforts, in regulatory conversations, and to help educate other provider types.
Going forward, 2024 will see INM establish a research institution dedicated to advancing outcomes research featuring naturopathic primary care practices and principles.
Community engagement plays a pivotal role in the sustained success of nonprofits. Over three decades, our organization has developed deep roots within the communities we serve.
• Our mutually supportive relationship with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) has a deep history and remains strong. INM’s public education work is synergistic with the mission of AANP to advance the licensure and scope of NDs.
• INM serves as a fiscal agent for seven organizations within the community to foster their work and provide a supportive space to grow and develop.
• We host the stakeholder assembly, the Naturopathic Medicine Collaborative (NMC), which invites participation from more than 85 naturopathic allied organizations. The NMC convenes quarterly meetings where news and updates are shared among the community, and collaboration is encouraged and fostered.
• In the last seven years, INM has created a consortium of residency clinics, working together to train residents in a precedent-setting standardized model.
• We have also launched a childhood nutritional education program, Naturally Well, aimed at underserved communities with high rates of chronic disease. Our program aims to change the hearts and minds of fourth graders and, thereby, their families’ and communities’ dietary and lifestyle choices.
The reciprocal nature of the relationship between INM and the communities we serve creates a symbiotic bond, fostering a shared sense of responsibility and collective commitment to positive change.
Dedication to Purpose
Nonprofits that endure for 30 years are characterized by an unyielding dedication to their core purpose. Despite facing numerous challenges, including economic downturns and shifting political landscapes, these organizations remain steadfast in pursuing their objectives. This commitment is often embodied by visionary leadership, a passionate team, and a resilient spirit that refuses to be deterred by setbacks. That characterizes INM well. Since our founding, we have held true to our mission to educate the public about natural medicine options and help increase awareness about naturopathic medicine.
Sustainability of Funding
Furthermore, the ability of nonprofits to establish diverse and sustainable funding streams is crucial for their survival. Successful nonprofits exhibit financial acumen by diversifying their funding sources, cultivating long-term relationships with donors, and exploring innovative revenue-generating strategies. Last year, INM helped set up a social purpose corporation, Paradigm Health SPC, to design and deliver innovative corporate health initiatives, licensing programs and affiliations. Revenue from Paradigm Health will support INM’s work.
Even as we seek to diversify our funding, INM relies most consistently on individual giving. The opportunity to participate in our 30th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign and view an interactive timeline of accomplishments since our early days can be found on our website at: https://naturemed.org/about-us/anniversary.
In summary, the survival of a nonprofit organization for 30 years is a remarkable achievement that speaks to its adaptability, community engagement, commitment to mission and financial sustainability. Nonprofit organizations serve as beacons of hope, embodying the transformative power of sustained dedication to social impact. INM will continue to advance awareness of the naturopathic medical approach and connect patients with providers while seeking to transform healthcare. We have accomplished much, and there is so much more to do. Please join us for the next 30!
Michelle Simon, PhD, ND President & CEO, Institute for Natural Medicine
In 1992, the leadership core of naturopathic doctors established the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM) as a not for profit organization dedicated to advancing natural medicine. The purpose of the INM is to increase awareness of, broaden public access to, and encourage research about natural medicine and therapies. Among its milestones the INM counts the launch of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) as an independent organization, leading California’s efforts to obtain licensure, developing an interactive childhood education program focused on healthy eating and lifestyles called Naturally Well in 2017, and expanding residency access by establishing and funding a residency program in 2018. INM has joined forces with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), serving as the charitable arm, to deepen access to naturopathic care, public education and research. Dr. Michelle Simon serves as president and CEO of INM, is a licensed naturopathic physician, clinician, educator and leader in many organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of health care. In addition to holding a naturopathic doctorate from Bastyr University, she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Simon has served on the boards for the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC), the AANP and the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI). Dr. Simon also served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee which is part of the Health Technology Assessment program that examines the scientific evidentiary basis for efficacy, safety and cost effectiveness of health care technologies. She was also an invited participant for health care economics at “Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public” at the Institute for Medicine (IOM) in 2009. Dr. Simon was recognized as the 2018 Physician of the Year by the AANP. Twitter: #inaturemed Facebook: @INMWeAreNaturalMedicine.