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Naturopathic Medicine Week 2015 Highlights

naturapathic medicine week 2015

Our World. Our Health.

We kicked off this year’s Naturopathic Medicine Week in British Columbia with a tagline: Our World. Our Health.

As the professional association for naturopathic physicians in BC, the BCNA acts on behalf of and for the profession to promote the services provided by and the integrity and honour of the naturopathic profession. Our members connect with their communities across British Columbia: by enjoying outdoor activities in our beautiful province; by opening their clinic doors for free doctor consults, testing, and more; and by sharing their knowledge through workshops, presentations, and media interviews.

 

IMG_2994Movie Nights

The BCNA selected Merchants of Doubt for this year’s movie nights (May 13 in Victoria and May 14 in Vancouver). The Naturopathic Medicine Week’s film screenings continue to be very popular.

A new film by Food, Inc director Robert Kenner, Merchants of Doubt considers the so-called experts who weigh in on studies, research and advances in science, but who are more often than not paid by corporations for their opinion.

Both movie nights included special guest Alan Cassels, a health researcher at University of Victoria and author of the book Selling Sickness, he is an expert on the corporate interests which drive health headlines and, often, medical care.

Voices

Many of our doctors were invited to speak about Naturopathic Medicine in their communities. Dr. Erika Buckley-Strobel spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce in Golden. Dr. Victor Chan, president of the BCNA, appeared on Global 1 and also in the Vancouver Sun.
Read Dr. Victor Chan’s article, “Opinion: More naturopathic access to patients would ease pressure” here.

Listen to Dr. Alana Polo explain she became a naturopathic doctor and how naturopathy can help with tons of health issues below:

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Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 6.51.10 PMDoctors also had an opportunity to share their tips in daily blog posts May 11-17 on a daily theme: digestive health, allergies, pain management, and more.

Contests

Each day after reading about the daily theme, residents of British Columbia were invited to enter a daily contest. A prize was given out each day, with grand prizes generously donated by Finlandia Pharmacy and the Floathouse. Congratulations to all of our winners!

Meet the Doctors

If you visit the BCNA’s website, Facebook or Twitter, you will see our primary focus is to raise awareness about naturopathic medicine and to feature our members.

This year we introduced a new hashtag (#NatMedWeek), which we were thrilled to see being used across the country!

We also featured a members on posters – six NDs from across the province enjoying the outdoors.

Find a Doctor in Your City

Our World. Our Health. Our Doctors.

A successful week! Looking forward to next year!

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Select Standing Committee on Health Submission

The BCNA submitted a report to the BC Select Standing Committee on Health in December 2014, in response to their request for comment on improving the quality and sustainability of health in BC.  The full report can be downloaded here:  BCNA to SSC on Health December 2014.  The Executive Summary is as follows:

Executive Summary

This submission outlines the collective views of British Columbia’s naturopathic doctors on the sustainability of health care. It focuses on the four key areas of inquiry, as outlined by the Select Standing Committee on Health, including:

  • Long-term solutions that address the recruitment and retention of health care professionals in rural British Columbia
  • A cost-effective system of primary and community care built around interdisciplinary teams
  • Best practices for end-of-life care
  • An enhanced effectiveness for addiction recovery programs

Our province has a remarkable number of well-educated and well-trained health professionals. The BC Government should be proud of the breadth and depth of talent offered in our health care sector.

British Columbia’s regulatory environment for health professionals is amongst the best in the world. Our province’s 22 regulatory colleges for health professionals are mandated to serve and protect the public. These regulatory colleges ensure that health professionals are qualified, competent and follow the clearly defined standards of practice and ethics. Colleges respond to complaints from patients and the public alike, and take immediate action when any member practices in a manner that is incompetent, unethical, illegal or impaired.

British Columbia’s naturopathic doctors believe that the solutions to each of the Committee’s areas of inquiry can be solved by a systematic process that removes barriers to care for all health professionals. Like many health professionals, naturopathic doctors have high levels of education and safety training to provide more health care services to patients than the current rules permit. The province’s health care system needs to assess these barriers, decide if they make sense, and trust regulators to ensure that health professionals are meeting necessary qualifications and competencies.

With members practicing in all areas of the province, the BC Naturopathic Association has identified some areas where unnecessary barriers in regards to care exist. We propose some strategic recommendations for the Committee’s considerations in order to make better use of these existing health professionals. Some of these recommendations will help in more than one of the Committee’s areas of inquiry. In brief, our recommendations are as follows:

  • Make full use of existing health resources by enabling all health professionals to practice to the extent of their competencies
  • Reduce barriers to lab access and federally controlled substances to help naturopathic doctors provide a complete range of health services, in particular to rural patients and patients with addictions
  • Increase interdisciplinary care projects, such as Inspire Health and Dr. Gabor Maté’s addictions recovery program, through Health Ministry participation and resources, and through encouraging all health professionals to collaborate
  • Reduce barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration by changing arbitrary rules that prevent naturopathic doctors from accessing hospitals, referring patients to other medical specialists, and from accessing hospice and other end-of-life care facilities
  • Integrate naturopathic doctors into existing Health Ministry programs to benefit from additional perspectives and particularly our profession’s focus on prevention

$3.85M Research Grant Links Naturopathic and Conventional Medicine in Fight Against Cancer

OTTAWA, October 21, 2014 – Ottawa researchers are receiving the largest-ever North
American grant intended to study the effectiveness of naturopathic medicine used in
combination with conventional medicine. The funding was announced today by the Ottawa
Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC), an arm of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
(CCNM), and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

The $3.85 million grant, provided by a private Canadian foundation that wishes to remain
anonymous, will fund a project to develop and study the use of integrative treatments for
esophageal, gastric and lung cancer patients who will undergo surgery.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our top-notch researchers to demonstrate how innovation
and cooperation can lead to improved overall health outcomes,” said Rona Ambrose, Federal
Minister of Health. “The Canadian institutions involved in this research are world-class and we
look forward to the results of the trial.”

Called the Thoracic Peri-Operative Integrative Surgical Care Evaluation (Thoracic POISE), the
project’s goals are twofold. First, it will pioneer integrative care interventions (characterized by
different therapeutic approaches, health-care professionals and disciplines working together to
achieve optimal health and patient outcomes) to use before and after cancer surgery. Second, it
will fund a randomized controlled trial to evaluate if the integrative care approach reduces
adverse events and improves disease-free survival. A multi-centred network of Canadian
thoracic surgery centres, in partnership with naturopathic doctors, will collaborate over the next
11 years in this 300-patient study.

“We have assembled an outstanding team of investigators that includes surgeons, oncologists,
naturopathic doctors, PhD research specialists and a health economist,” said Dugald Seely,
project co-lead, Executive Director OICC, Director of Research CCNM, and affiliate investigator
with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. “Lung cancer accounts for the highest incidence of
cancer deaths in Canada and we know that more than half of all cancer patients use
complementary therapies. This research will help determine when complementary care is
appropriate and may potentially lead to enhanced standards of medical practice that can
positively impact patients’ lives.”

“This study is an innovative whole-person approach involving naturopathic medicine integrated
with traditional care. It is more than a single intervention,” said project co-lead Dr. Andrew
Seely, an associate scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, director of research for its Division of
Thoracic Surgery and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa. “By using a welldesigned
randomized controlled trial to assess multiple evidence-based interventions that are
often found in real-life clinical practice, we hope to show that integrative cancer care improves
two critical problems simultaneously, namely adverse events after surgery and long-term cancer
outcomes.”

When Terry Vida was diagnosed with cancer she worked with her medical and naturopathic
doctors to explore ways to combine naturopathic treatments with conventional treatments of
chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Vida used supplements, acupuncture, exercise and
nutrition in her bid to do everything possible to deal with her cancer. “I have been cancer-free
for two years now,” said Vida, who is back at work as a partner with ConversArt Consulting and
completing her PhD in human and organizational systems. “I feel as though this approach
helped me a lot and it is through research such as this that we will really know.”

Bob Bernhardt, President and CEO of CCNM added, “There is an absolute need for an
enhanced evidence-base for naturopathic medicine. The Thoracic POISE trial focuses on
patient-centred research and is essential to proving the value and assessing the role that
naturopathic medicine could play in health care. CCNM and the OICC are committed to clinical
research in areas where we believe naturopathic medicine could improve health outcomes for
Canadians.”

Breast Cancer Awareness: Pink Ribbons Inc.

Pink Ribbons Screenshot

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and local naturopathic physicians in Campbell River want to contribute to this awareness. They are sponsoring a showing of the National Film Board documentary called Pink Ribbons Inc. The film is based on the book written by Samantha King Pink Ribbons Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy. King’s argument is that the pink-themed campaign promotes a quick-fix mentality, focuses too much on early screening and achieving a “cure” for the disease instead of researching causes and putting equal emphasis on harm from environmental contaminants.

Many of the corporate sponsors of Pink campaigns sell products that cause pollution, and/or are chemical companies that produce pesticides.  Some sponsors sell foods that promote disease rather than health.  And some sponsors are cosmetic companies that use carcinogens that may all contribute to the chemical environment that contributes to the risk of getting breast cancer.  In its review of the documentary, the Globe and Mail called this “pink washing.”  Read the review here.

Every day in their practices, naturopathic physicians focus on causes of diseases and ways to protect against environmental toxins. They want to educate their patients on how to get the chemicals out of their lifestyle: To eat organic, to use chemical free skin and hair products; to look at their estrogen dominance either from their diet or their use of prescription hormones; to look at deficiencies such as vitamin D and melatonin (especially in shift workers) as well as the role that inflammation plays in cancer cell proliferation.

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Care clinic is the first of its kind in Canada where naturopathic physicians work closely with other health care providers, including oncologists, to provide cancer patients with optimal health care. They provide Whole Person Care for the body, mind and spirit, they Empower the patient to take care of themselves to prevent and treat cancer they Train and Educate practitioners as well as patients on preventive as well as integrative care, they provide Innovative Research and tools to improve the quality of life during and after conventional cancer treatments, and they promote Living Green to reduce exposure to environmental toxins that may impact cancer incidence, progression and recurrence.

On October 21 7-9:30 at the Community Center in Campbell River, Pink Ribbons Inc will be shown followed by a Q&A with a panel of NDs: Dr. Ingrid Pincott, Dr. Stacey Savard and Dr. Anita Komonski. Experience docere, the Latin word for doctor, which is “to teach.”

Pink Ribbons Inc Campbell River, October 21

Naturopathic Medicine in the Community

On September 14, doctors from the Mountainview Wellness Centre and merchants of the Alder Crossing Shopping Mall in South Surrey, hosted their fourth annual all-day fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Canada.

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Choices Market management with Dr. Caleb Ng.

Hosted by Choices Community Markets, the event featured a pancake breakfast, salmon BBQ lunch, food demonstrations, store tours, entertainers, artists, local resources for prostate cancer patients and more.

Why are so many promoting awareness of prostate cancer? Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men and will affect one in six men in their lifetime; within a decade that statistic is expected to rise to one in four. Prostate Cancer Canada is the national foundation dedicated to the elimination of prostate cancer through research, education, support and awareness. PCCN has 70 support groups across Canada; each group is involved in hosting monthly meetings, educational events and fundraisers. The goal of PCCN support groups is to educate men on the importance of early detection while providing resources and sharing information for men with a new diagnosis of prostate cancer.  Each year, PCCN hosts Movember, an opportunity to individuals, associations and workplace groups to help raise awareness of detection, prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.  To get involved or for more info, link here for the Movember site.

All funds raised at the September event were used to promote awareness, research and educational programs. Prostate Cancer Canada’s support group arm, the Prostate Cancer Canada Network (PCCN-Surrey), will be in attendance to answer questions about the resources that are available to anyone who has questions about or has been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Mountainview Wellness is one of half a dozen ND clinics in the South Surrey/White Rock area providing primary care in an environment dedicated to guide patients on a path to better health and wellness. Drs. Galina Bogatch, Caleb Ng and Allison Patton are the wellness partners at Mountainview.

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Left to right, George Main, Drs. Allison Patton and Caleb Ng, Leno Zecchel.

Naturopathic Medicine Week Supports Victoria’s Family Free Clinic

Proceeds from the film screening of GMO OMG during Naturopathic Medicine Week (NMW) were provided to the Family Naturopathic Clinic (FNC) in July. The FNC provides naturopathic health care free-of-charge to young parented, low income families in Victoria. NMW, an annual event promoting health, wellness and preventive medicine, occurs across Canada each May. This year, the new documentary on GMO foods was shown to specifically support the FNC.

 

Left to right, FNC staff Drs. Pamela Hutchison, Kristin Schnurr (with daughter Charlotte), Amy Gilchrist, NMW Victoria Liaison Dr. Penny Seth-Smith & BCNA Vice-President Dr. Janine Fraser.

Left to right, FNC staff Drs. Pamela Hutchison, Kristin Schnurr (with daughter Charlotte), Amy Gilchrist, NMW Victoria Liaison Dr. Penny Seth-Smith & BCNA Vice-President Dr. Janine Fraser.

Dr. Penny Seth Smith, Victoria’s NMW Coordinator, noted that the success of the film screenings, in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna, were an opportunity to share naturopathic expertise as well as raise awareness of preventive medicine in local communities. “I am delighted to have been a part of organizing this event, and want to thank the hundreds of people who participated. We look forward to repeating this success next year.”

 

Dr. Janine Fraser, BCNA Vice-President, added that “The FNC offers graduating doctors an opportunity for internships, improves access to NDs amongst low income families, and helps improve health care services for patients across the island. Only with more financial support can it continue to grow and serve even greater numbers.”

 

The FNC, a project begun in 2007, provides medical services free of charge through donations and fund-raising. The clinic is not government funded. As one patient noted, “Overall, this project has been invaluable and precious in my life. I listen, I learn, I heal. I am a better mother because of this project and my son has an improved quality of life.”

 

Patient info and donation links for the FNC are at www.familynaturopathic.org