Extinction of the Naturopathic Doctor

by Dr. Alison Chen ND | Follow on Twitter

Don’t let Naturopathic medicine become a fossil record.

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A CONCERNING NUMBER OF Naturopathic doctors are going back to school, changing careers, taking part-time jobs at health food stores and becoming more dependent on their partner’s income.


Despite the passion to help and the exceptional individualized health care we provide, Naturopathic doctors appear to be slowly going extinct.

We can’t let this happen.

We are at a pivotal time. The conventional health care system has become exceptional at reactive care (emergency, surgery, and lifesaving care) but they are missing the preventative and chronic health care areas.

We fill that gap. We need to get the public to recognize this. And we can’t let the MD’s and other practitioners take our modalities and promote them better than we do.

There are 2 major steps that need to occur in order for the Naturopathic medical industry to stake its grounds in the medical field:

  1. Be recognized by the public and in the health care system as mainstream preventative care physicians.
  2. Make a living out of it by being financially successful.

These 2 steps are crucial to ensuring Naturopathic doctors don’t go extinct.


So how do we prevent Naturopaths from becoming fossils?

How do we get the word out to the world about the incredible health care service we offer? How do we show that we are evidence-based medicine and have our foundations in science and not ‘voo-doo’?

How do we make enough money to live, pay off our student debt, and feel the freedom to start a family, take time off, or go on a vacation?

We need to get our message to spread farther than ever before. This is why we started the Naturopathic Doctor Development Center (theNDDC).


Ask any Naturopathic doctor (successful or not), and they will tell you that word-of-mouth is their best referral strategy. It works especially well once an ND hits a certain threshold of patie… of ‘successful’ patients. It’s silly human nature to love to wait in line for something that is scarce. It’s a long process, but it is possible to build a successful business off of word-of-mouth. It can get a practitioner busy for their entire career.

But there are 6 main issues with relying solely on word-of-mouth for your clinic:

  1. You can only make as much income as the hours in your day
  2. It’s difficult to take time off (or retire) since your income is solely reliant on you seeing patients
  3. It can get your private clinic busy, but what about the other 5000+ NDs — what about the state of our industry?
  4. A solo clinic can be very isolating
  5. You can only service one person at a time, and only to your local population — Naturopathic medicine is only licensed in North America, so what about the rest of the world?
  6. And, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as Kevin Costner makes it sound, “If you build it, they will come”.

And this doesn’t even take into consideration that times have changed. Most successful ND’s who have solely used word-of-mouth are our elders.

We live in a technological world now. Dr. Google has more word-of-mouth visitors than all medical practitioners combined. People are now turning to the internet to find resources, information and their practitioners. Some don’t even go into a physical clinic anymore. Skype or online consultations with specialists are becoming the norm.


Will Naturopathic doctors fall behind?

NDs are not known to be the most tech savvy. But we are a new generation.

Many Naturopathic doctors and clinics have started to utilize eNewsletter, Google ads, Facebook ads, and boosting their SEO but with little luck. The online world is foreign and it takes more than just posting an ad to get a return. I should know.

My partner, Jonathan Goodman, runs an online media company with his major audience being personal trainers (thePTDC). He has made a living figuring out how to improve the perception of personal trainers and get them successful (sound familiar?).

In 2014 alone the site reached over 2.45 million trainer around the world and theNDDC is focused on doing the same for the Naturopathic medical industry.


What is theNDDC?

TheNDDC is not a site where you’ll learn treatment protocols.

Here you’ll learn about all of the other, often ignored but equally important aspects of having a successful and fulfilling career like:

  • Developing high-integrity multiple streams of income so that you can make money even when you’re not directly seeing a patient
  • Managing your time better
  • Developing a practice or effectively work within one
  • Improving client adherence and retention
  • Build a network of like-minded practitioners with a united voice
  • Stay up-to-date on latest medical and science articles with the “Best Health Articles of the Week”
  • And much more …

TheNDDC has two missions:

  1. To help you become more successful
  2. To improve public awareness of what it is that we really do.

One thing that I’m particularly proud of is that the site is, and always will be, 100% free of ads to limit bias.

The importance of this cannot be understated.

Imagine if the only thing keeping the lights on in your clinic was your dispensary. Your livelihood depends on it and therefore, either consciously or unconsciously, you’re going to advise to your patients to buy more.

The irrevocable damage stemming from loss of trust to both your patient and the profession is immeasurable and cannot be tolerated.

The NDDC has no affiliation with any school, supplement, or training company. The result is complete autonomy over the content to ensure that it truly serves you best.

The best place to get started is signing up for our Newsletter.

Step 1: Sign-up for theNDDC

Here, you’ll also get a bunch of free Ebooks that we’ve prepared for you: 150 Naturopathic Doctor Mistakes and the Start a Naturopathic Blog Blueprint, not to mention a ton of NPLEX and OSCE study resources.

So fill in your email address at the bottom of this blog.

Next, like theNDDC Facebook page.

Step 2: Please “like” the page.

Step 3: Join the Holistic Online Entrepreneur Facebook page and connect with health practitioners within and outside of the Naturopathic medical world to build your health care network.

Step 4: Please tell your colleagues and share theNDDC on your social media outlet of choice. This site is for you to succeed so why not bring a friend along for the ride.

I couldn’t be more excited to see the Naturopathic medical industry thrive and to support the success of Naturopathic doctors. This site is for all – students, new grads, and practicing NDs. All can benefit, so please pass it around.

Dr. Alison Chen, ND


About the Author
Dr. Alison Chen ND

Dr. Alison Chen ND graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) and was the recipient of the humanitarian award. Her background in competitive gymnastics, personal training, and volunteer work in Africa gives her a well-rounded view to living well.   Since graduating Alison has traveled the world exploring different ways to think and teach about healing. She believes that education should be consumable and fun, so she created theNDDC and wrote an illustrated rhyming book about poo. Seriously, check out the poo book on Amazon here.