Wellspring speaks with Eta Brand, President of the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA).
Eta Brand is a university trained naturopath with expertise in treating a wide range of conditions affecting women, men and children. She is also trained in pathology testing and public health.
Eta is passionate about evidence-based natural medicine and has 30 years experience in natural and conventional medicine and understands both perspectives.
Tell us about ANPA and your role?
The Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association was founded in 1975 and represents the interests of naturopaths nationally. This is my second term as President. I started as a student member when I was studying, and as soon as I graduated I took a role on the committee. I believe if you want improvements or change you have to participate and make it happen, not wait for someone else!
What are the key ways ANPA supports members and the naturopathy profession?
Advocacy to government at both State and Federal levels is a priority activity. By the end of January 2013, a new submission is being called for to maintain the private health insurance rebates for naturopaths. Advocacy to the private health insurers is also important. We are participating in the review of the Health Training Package for Naturopathy.
What does ANPA offer new graduates?
New graduates need specific support as they embark on their career path. ANPA understands this can be a financially demanding and emotionally daunting time. We offer these graduates mentoring opportunities and a special pro-rata package rate with a reduced fee structure.
Is statutory registration important?
Statutory registration is very important for a few reasons. It is the highest form of legislation and has the legal teeth a recognised profession needs. Statutory registration ensures a minimum standard of education. Delivery of the curriculum currently differs according to the education provider and clinical practice standards also differ.
Importantly, registration would ensure an independent complaints mechanism. ANPA supports the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH) whose mandate is to set the standards for Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine. They have set up their register according to the National Scheme for the other registered professions and are aiming to be ready for registrants mid 2013.
What are your favourite magazines, websites or blogs to keep abreast of health industry developments?
I watch conventional medical sites as well as those directly related to our naturopathy profession. Here are a few: Herbal Gram and Herb Clips from the American Botanical Council , e-medicine, Medscape, John Weeks – The Intergrator blog, Natural Medicine Journal, Alternative Medicine Review, Bioregulatory Medicine Journal, Organic Gardener, Medical Observer, e-newsletters from Mediherb, Nutrimedicine, Bioconcepts and many others. Mims and Pubmed for journal searches.
What can naturopaths and patients do to further increase awareness?
Naturopaths can make it their business to be fully informed about their profession. They can phone or visit their local MP to lobby for statutory registration. Patients can lobby their member as well and contact their private health insurer to remind them how important it is that the rebate for naturopathy is maintained.
Why are CPE points so important and what advice would you give practitioners seeking the best options to accrue CPE points?
Naturopaths need to be life-long learners to be competent practitioners. CPE points are important because they ensure you continually expand your capacity to be an informed practitioner.
Naturopath Anita Pierantozzi built on her degree with two postgraduate qualifications that helped her enter the conventional medicine industry, landing the highly coveted role of Senior Medical Education Officer at Redcliffe Hospital.