The heartbeat of public interest that spurred the growth of natural medicine is now pulsing through the halls of government.
In the last year, we've witnessed creation of a White House commission specifically charged with setting a national agenda on complementary and alternative medicine. We've seen the budget for NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) hit $70 million. Word is, the figure could top $100 million next year.
Dr. Andrew Weil, now a household name thanks to the cover of Time magazine, has just founded a broad-based national coalition to keep legislators focused on integrative health care. Holistically-inclined physicians have developed their own board and certifying exam as a first step toward a formal specialty. Naturopathic physicians (NDs) who have quietly developed a highly comprehensive synthesis of natural modalities over the last 40 years, are stepping up efforts to win licensure in many states. And legislatures across the country struggle to fold holistic care-givers into existing regulatory and reimbursement frameworks.
To quote an old song, "There's somethin' happening here, but what it is ain't exactly clear."
This issue of Holistic Primary Care features several missives from the political front. It is clear that holistic medicine has definitely "arrived" on the national scene, but where it goes from here is anybody's guess. Two things are certain: whoever ends up in the White House this January (as I write, we still do not have a President-elect), he will come face-to-face with the Holistic Nation; and whatever happens in the next four years will be critical in determining the future of holistic health care. Let us hope all parties involved engage the issues with open-mindedness, clear-headedness, and good-heartedness.
On behalf of the staff and advisory board of Holistic Primary Care, I wish you a peaceful and prosperous holiday season.
Editor in Chief