Naturopathic Licensing Law Signed by California Governor is Victory for Bastyr University; Bastyr to Pursue Branch Campus in CA

KENMORE, Wash.--Sept. 23, 2003--California Governor Gray Davis has signed into law a bill (SB-907) that licenses naturopathic physicians (NDs). That makes California the 13th state to allow graduates of accredited institutions to practice to the full extent of their education and training.

The new law in California has huge implications for Bastyr University and its graduates. Given the nationwide enthusiasm for science based natural medicine and the need to train doctors, Bastyr will now pursue the establishment of a branch campus in California.

The new law also opens up a huge new practice area for Bastyr graduates and the 33 million residents of California residents will now have far more access to natural medicine. Without licensure, naturopathic doctors in CA are limited to practicing as health consultants. Now however they will be permitted to diagnose and treat disease, perform physical exams and laboratory tests and work with a full range of natural and limited pharmacological therapies.

Bastyr has been actively involved for several years in the effort to get licensure in California. Our doctors, faculty and staff have testified to the Legislature and have had many conversations with interested stakeholders over the years. A delegation of MDs from the California Medical Association visited Bastyr last year to get a first hand look at our rigorous and science based curriculum. That group went away highly impressed with Bastyr's program.

Yesterday's bill signing was heralded by Bastyr president, Thomas C. Shepherd, DHA. "California is a bell weather state and licensing our doctors there will have a ripple effect throughout the country. And, of course, it offers exciting new practice possibilities for our graduates, many of who come from California and would like to practice there. With the demand for highly trained and educated doctors growing, it also means we will actively plan to open a branch campus in California."

Naturopathic medical education is a four-year, graduate-level program that includes basic medical sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry and pathophysiology, as well as the study and application of natural therapies such as clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine and health counseling. The naturopathic approach is dedicated to health promotion and disease prevention.

Bastyr University is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the study of natural healing and is the leading university for natural health sciences in the United States. Bastyr encompasses a multi-disciplinary and rigorous curriculum, a world-renowned research institute and the largest natural health clinic in the state of Washington.

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