Frisco naturopathic doctors are joining medical professionals from around the country at a national conference in Keystone this week.
“The big association decided to make a conscious decision to get back to our roots — and walk our talk,” said Justin Pollack, the co-owner and founder of Mountain-River Naturopathic Clinic and the Backcountry Herbal Apothecary on Main Street in Frisco.
Pollack will be leading a medicinal plant walk during the conference, which takes place today through Saturday. Having the annual convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians in Colorado allows naturopaths to continue their education while enjoying the outdoors, he said.
“Naturopaths, for the most part, love being out in nature and the healing power of nature,” Pollack said. “It will also be a big social gathering and a way to reconnect with our community.”
Kim Nearpass, Pollack’s wife and fellow naturopath at the Mountain-River clinic, is organizing a 5K fun run and walk on July 13.
“Hopefully we will get naturopathic doctors from all over the country participating — that’s one of the big audiences,” Nearpass said. “But it’s open to anyone in the County — including our patients and anyone who just wants to support a good cause and be outside.”
The naturopath’s convention in Colorado will double as a celebration of sorts, the Frisco naturopaths said.
Last month, a state bill was passed regulating naturopathic doctors. Pollack said it’s an effort about 25 years in the making — and something he’s been looking forward to for about 10 years.
“It’s been a long haul,” he said.
The bill, HB 13-111 creates a registration program for naturopathic doctors that hold a four-year post-graduate clinical doctorate degree from accredited universities.
“There’s definitely misconceptions about what naturopaths do,” said Pollack. “What this regulatory bill does is it differentiates people who have been through medical school and those who haven’t. So it clarifies things for the public, as well as for people who are thinking about becoming a naturopathic doctor.”
The regulation provides a formula for naturopathic doctors, establishes an advisory committee, and requires doctors to maintain liability insurance. It also requires communication and collaboration between naturopathic doctors and other health care providers in the community.
“We are very lucky to have the support of pretty much all of the medical doctors here in Summit County,” Pollack said. “All the health care providers here work well together.”
The new regulations not only provide a clear framework for naturopathic professionals, it will also help direct people who are looking for natural remedies, Pollack said.
“It benefits the patients because they know what they are getting,” he said. “They know we are going to be treating them with either nutrients, herbals or homeopathics — or through diet and lifestyle — because our training focuses around noninvasive natural therapies.”
The Frisco naturopathic doctors said they are happy to take part in the annual conference during an exciting period for the people in their profession.
“This is the first time the conference has ever been in Colorado and it’s on the year the governor decides to sign the bill for regulation — so the timing is great,” Nearpass said.
“We also thought the fun run would be an opportunity for us to celebrate and present our state association and the accomplishments we’ve made this year,” she said.
The 5K in Keystone will benefit the legislative fund of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and a local non-profit called PANTS, the Physical Activity and Nutrition Team of the Summit.
It takes place at Keystone Lake at 4 p.m. on July 13. A registration form for the run/walk can be found at the Mountain-River Naturopathic Clinic at 507 C Main St. in Frisco or online at www.mountainriverclinic.com. Participants can also register at the event.