Naturopathic doctors can act as co-ordinators of health care

ND. Kali Simmonds
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Question: I moved here a couple of years ago and I am still on the waiting list for a family doctor.

Someone I know is in the same position and has said that seeing a naturopath, combined with a walk-in clinic, has worked pretty well for her. Can you explain what you do for a person in my position?

Answer: NDs have eight years of post-secondary education. During the four-year, 4,500-hour naturopathic medical program, NDs study the medical sciences, including lab diagnosis (ability to order and interpret bloodwork), disease diagnosis, counselling skills taught by a psychologist, basic pharmacology similar to that studied by an MD and then naturopathic therapiesm including clinical nutrition, botanical (herbal) medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and physical therapies.

We are partners in helping you fine tune your health and managing disease.

NDs do not currently have direct access to public labs but can have blood drawn and sent to a private lab in Ontario. We spend 1.5 hours with someone during a first visit so we can help identify and organize health concerns. We are trained to recognize emergencies and to refer you appropriately to a whole range of health-care practitioners.

Our knowledge is broad so we often act as co-ordinators of your care. We can also help you come up with a short list to discuss with the doctor at a walk-in clinic.


Question: I see a nurse practitioner and a naturopathic doctor. Is there any hope of NDs being covered by the province like NPs?

Answer: There has not been any commitment made to NDs being covered through health care.

We need legislation defining education and scope of practice, as well as a defined regulatory process before the naturopathic profession could request to explore that possibility.


Question: My daughter saw you and she thinks she might like to study to be an ND. She is in her first year of science at UPEI. The program is very expensive and I am wondering if you would have any advice for her?

Answer: Naturopathic medicine does tend to attract people based on its philosophy. Finances are a reality of life and can create a lot of stress, especially if a mate also has a lot of debt. I know of NDs who are struggling and others who are thriving, not unlike other very educated professionals.

So, I would do a business plan and talk to some other NDs before you make the decision to enrol. I love my profession and it is still blossoming.

I think the people who know right from the start that they need to address their practice as a business will best be able to pay off their debt and make a living.


Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practices in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of a health-care professional. Please consult with a health-care provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published the first Tuesday of the month in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at

Organizations: NDs

Geographic location: Ontario, Charlottetown, The Guardian

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Recent comments

  • Dr. Ann Aresco
    February 07, 2014 - 12:57

    Wow Dr. K rough crowd you have up there. Here in the states we are licensed physicians in many states and we can practice to the scope we are trained: diagnosing, ordering labs, prescribing pharmaceuticals when necessary, and are covered by health insurance plans. Although we prescribe far less than the average MD, we know that many people would prefer to take as many meds as can be prescribed and view that as the only legitimate treatment. To each his own medicine.

  • Snakeoil Salesman
    February 05, 2014 - 09:01

    As noted above, quackery is quackery. But, just as it has been throughout history, selling false hope to those who are ill is a very profitable business. This is particularly the case when consumers are uninformed and unable to skeptically review available evidence which indicates the complete lack of efficacy of the vast majority of what she is selling. And selling is the right word. This is business, not medicine.

    • R K
      February 07, 2014 - 12:34

      Snakeoil Salesman, you've got it exactly backwards. Quackery is what you find when you examine the conventional medical system. Medical journals are bought and paid for with advertising from drug companies, articles are written by pharmaceutical reps, and their biased reports in favor of their profits are often all the prescribing docs know about the meds. Conventional doctors put 4 or 5 drugs into their patients' systems, expecting them to behave the same in tandem as they do in isolation. Quackery is trusting your healthcare to a system that is the third leading cause of death in the US. If your real issue is that you have blind faith in one type of medicine over another, and can only see quackery and cast aspersions on the one you don't have faith in, then by all means help yourself to all the drugs and surgery you can get! Your life, your family. But side by side, naturopathic medicine with its reliance on nature and emphasis on health restoration and prevention of illness, offers people in interested in "HEALTH CARE" a much stronger and safer option. Your skepticism is misplaced and, ironically, you appear to be uninformed and unable to review available evidence which indicates the lack of efficacy of the vast majority of what the conventional system is selling. You also seem oblivious to the existence of 6000 peer reviewed scholarly articles on homeopathy, or perhaps you were simply unable to read them.

  • don
    February 05, 2014 - 00:16

    no worry ghiz promised back in 77 that he will have a doctor for every islander and we all know ghiz and the liberals would never lie. but he never said what century that would happen. i know it will not happen in the next 100 years. but if he had not "donated so many millions to big money liberals we could afford to pay doctors more but the millions he gave away is helping the rich on PEI live better.

    February 04, 2014 - 21:51

    Some things a naturopath "doctor" can do may be helpful, but homeopathy equals quackery.

  • candrayo
    February 04, 2014 - 13:14

    Hopefully the day will come when it is common for everyone to choose to see the Naturopath as opposed to our current representation in the medical field. Unfortunately the bad apples outweigh the good ones right now.

  • fed up
    February 04, 2014 - 10:19

    The illness business will never let go of the strangle hold they have over society. Why would they there are billions of dollars at stake. Big pharma controls illness and big oil controls the rest .