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The Institute for Natural Medicine Is Going Places, and You Are Invited

Michelle Simon, PhD, ND Michelle Simon, PhD, ND

Be a part of INM’s content strategy to raise awareness about naturopathic medicine.

Can you imagine a day when naturopathic medicine is a household name and naturopathic doctors are accessible to everyone? At the Institute for Natural Medicine (INM), we work daily to help make both of these goals happen. Our mission is to increase public awareness of naturopathic medicine and improve access to licensed naturopathic doctors. We do this with content in all forms.

Since allopathic and osteopathic physicians (MDs and DOs) are some of the most trusted sources of health information for the public, the INM has been working on providing a range of content about naturopathic medicine that is written and medically edited by naturopathic physicians (NDs). Our goal is to provide trust and credibility in an online world where these two important factors are not always present.

As I write this, our organization is very close to launching a new website that will make it easier for the public to find valuable and reliable information about naturopathic medicine. Our internal data shows a large percentage of our online audience is looking for information on natural health choices but know very little about the basic principles of naturopathic medicine. They are curious about how NDs are educated, what an appointment might look like, and how naturopathic medicine differs from other medical professions, that may also use hydrotherapy, physical manipulation and botanical medicine.

This is why we work to increase awareness about the benefits of naturopathic medicine. Much of our new content strategy builds off the foundational information we’ve established these last several years and introduces the public to the many NDs working hard across various industries as experts in the field of natural medicine, including several maturing subspecialties. Though there isn’t the space here to share all of our content plans, (you will have to check out the new website in March), we can share some of the ways we are working to support your work and further the advancement of naturopathic medicine.

At the core of our content is our flagship program—the Campaign for Naturopathic Medicine—launched in 2017 and continues to be funded in collaboration with The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). The campaign has become a library of more than 50 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) articles that address common inquiries about the naturopathic profession. This is where most of our readers go when they are searching for information about naturopathic medicine.

Included in our flagship content series are topics such as:

• “What is Naturopathic Medicine?”
• “How are NDs Educated, Trained and Licensed?”
• “Why do NDs Spend Between One and Two Hours With Patients in an Appointment?”
• “Characteristics of Healthcare Professions: Differentiating Between ND, Integrative MD, DO and DC Providers”

Beyond these basics of naturopathic medicine, our team creates more in-depth content on how NDs treat a variety of common conditions. These long-form articles may include general health topics such as seasonal allergies, stress management, sleep problems, anxiety and reducing toxin exposure. We find these articles are especially appealing to individuals who either already know about naturopathic medicine or are curious about its benefits.

Our next category of content is about specific conditions and what a person can expect when they see a naturopathic doctor in regard to that respective health issue. Our most read conditions articles include hypothyroidism, endometriosis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cervical dysplasia/HPV and attention disorders in children.

For 2022 and beyond, INM’s Marketing and Content Director Kim Lord Stewart and her team have developed an ambitious plan for developing new platforms and strategies for sharing their messages with the public.

It is important to have as many voices as possible from the naturopathic medical community. This is where Griffin McMath ND, INM’s editor-at-large, has initiated some exciting new content opportunities. She is in the process of accepting case studies from naturopathic medical colleges, the INM Residency Consortium, and has begun discussions with specialty associations and even other publications. This content program is designed to elevate awareness about naturopathic medicine at the clinical level. Our team is working on publishing these formal case studies for our medical colleagues and then summarizing them in easy-to-understand language for the public.

Dr. McMath has also developed a new video and article biography series called “The ND Will See You Now.” This peer-to-peer interview series focuses on ND’s who are doing novel and remarkable things in the field of naturopathic medicine. She is always looking for NDs to interview who are working on public health, community engagement and research. If you’d like to volunteer or recommend a colleague, please email her directly at DrGriffin@naturemed.org.

If you are interested in helping INM magnify the world of naturopathic medicine by contributing content, we would love to hear from you. This is where the naturopathic medicine community can play a role to assist INM in content development. Please email kim@naturemed.org to share your ideas so we can get started working together. Don’t forget to visit our new website at naturemed.org.

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.