Street Address
City, PA
September 1, 2011
Dear Representative,
I write in support of HB 1717, an act licensing and regulating the practice of naturopathic medicine in
Pennsylvania. HB 1717 was introduced by Representative Mark Mustio (Republican-Moon Twp) on June
23, 2011 and sent to the House Professional Licensure Committee. Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are
the physician-level experts on natural medicine, providing quality, cost-effective care, and treating
dietary and health challenges that result in chronic illness, such as diabetes and heart disease. Licensure
of NDs can increase patient access to primary health care services and improve the health of countless
NDs are currently licensed in 16 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.
Virgin Islands. A licensed ND attends a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and is
educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to
therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard
medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical
nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling. A
naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a
state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician. There are six schools of naturopathic
medicine in North America accredited by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council on Naturopathic
Medical Education, and one school granted candidacy status. There are no accredited distance learning
Naturopathic care is both effective and cost-efficient. NDs can provide cost savings in Pennsylvania by
reducing the incidence and severity of chronic disease, through natural treatments and lifestyle
guidance. NDs attempt to take into consideration all the factors that make up patients' lives and affect
their health and well-being, and determine the best treatment based on this information. Naturopathic
doctors’ focus on therapeutic life changes is particularly timely given today’s epidemic of chronic
diseases brought on by poor diet, sedentary lifestyles and high stress. Ample evidence exists to
substantiate the role of naturopathic therapies in preventing or delaying the onset of chronic diseases
such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Naturopathic care can result in
decreased spending on expensive pharmaceuticals, surgeries, and hospitalizations.
Please support HB 1717 and the licensure of these dedicated and well-trained health care professionals
in Pennsylvania by becoming a co-sponsor.
Respectfully yours,