Saturday, January 14, 2017

Governor Baker Signs Bill to License Naturopathic Doctors in Massachusetts

Thrilled to share our happy, happy news after a 24 year effort!
Thank you for all your love & support in getting this over the finish line!

Here's an op-ed I wrote right before this bill was signed into law!

Here we are at the State House the day before the Governor signed the bill!
And the press release that went out today:

Boston, Massachusetts, January 12, 2017.
Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that offers licensure to naturopathic doctors (NDs) in Massachusetts. This licensure ensures the safe practice of naturopathic medicine in the Baystate.

A grassroots effort led by thousands of grateful patients helped get this legislation over the finish line. Massachusetts’ residents will now be able to access ND care locally instead of crossing state lines to seek such care. All New England states, save Rhode Island, have licensed NDs for over 20 years. This law affords people of Massachusetts an option to include well-educated and trained NDs on their health care team for the ND expertise in both preventive medicine and natural integrative care.

Naturopathic doctors are rigorously trained in post graduate, four-year, in-residence, regionally and nationally accredited naturopathic medical schools. Graduates pass psychometrically sound examinations prior to eligibility for licensure and require industry standard continuing education coursework.

There has been a paradigm shift in attitudes and acceptance of natural and integrative medicine, which is ongoing. Scientific rigor applied to the evaluation of empirically based nutritional, botanical, and other naturopathic treatments continues. Numerous naturopathic institutions are recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and other grants to advance medical research. Naturopathic doctors have been awarded competitive NIH fellowships.

Amy Rothenberg ND, president of the Massachusetts Society of Naturopathic Doctors (MSND) reports, "I, along with my colleagues in Massachusetts and across the country, look forward to the opportunity to join the ranks of health care providers in the Commonwealth.  I applaud Governor Baker and the legislative process that studied and vetted this profession for over 24 years and came to understand the unique role that licensed NDs can play in the state.“

Paul Herscu ND, MPH and MSND Legislative Chair furthers, “Naturopathic doctors are poised to bring evidence based knowledge and expertise to the Massachusetts clinical, public health, teaching and research settings.”

“This is the second state to gain licensure within the last two months. Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania signed a bill into law in November, bringing to 22 the number of states and jurisdictions that recognize naturopathic medicine,” states Anne McClenon ND of Plymouth.

“Because Massachusetts is surrounded by licensed states, we had become a haven for those without appropriate education and training to use the term naturopathic doctor,” comments Lisa Arnold ND of Cape Cod. This law protects public health by enabling Massachusetts’ citizens to understand credentials of practitioners seen.

“We have a long history in licensed states of providing safe and effective care. In the weeks leading up to Governor Baker’s signing this bill, high level state politicians, Secretaries of Health and Human Services, and members of Departments of Public Health from licensed states weighed in with their positive experiences with naturopathic medicine in their respective states,” adds Allison Willette, ND from Hadley. In addition, insurance company executives, leaders from the business world, medical researchers along with scores of medical doctors and other allied health professionals contacted Governor Baker urging the signing of this bill.

In licensed states, NDs work collaboratively with allied health providers, whether from private practice, in integrative clinics or health care centers, and in clinics that care for the underserved. Massachusetts patients will now be able to safely access the skills and expertise of NDs in the Baystate.

The Massachusetts Society of Naturopathic Doctors (MSND) is the professional association representing licensable naturopathic doctors in the Commonwealth. For further information please contact

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Leg of Lamb

Happy New Year!

During our holiday week, dear friends came over for dinner. We had the idea of making something new. So I found a choice specimen at the market of the required ingredient and came home to find Paul riveted to YouTube watching a French chef expertly preparing a leg of lamb. One part of the operation required Paul poke gentle holes in the leg, insert a sprig of rosemary on which he had wrapped a curled up anchovy and a clove of garlic. These flavor spears dotted the meat here and there and made for a pretty display. As basically a life long vegetarian, this production might well have given me pause, but actually there was a bit of a thrill, when some hours later, with a modicum of artistry, Paul presented that leg on a bed of wavy kale, dotted with raspberries on one side and succulent green grapes piled high on the other.

Life came rushing back in for me during 2016.  I just pretty much said YES to everything in 2015, to every invitation, every date, every new opportunity. And then in 2016, I had to make good on my word! It was a whirlwind year with many blessings and opportunities in both work & play. We saw each of our kids take giant leaps professionally, we welcomed new people into our lives and celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. A big ballroom dance party where among other things, I debuted my new (fledgling) skill- tap dancing, for which I had secretly taken lessons for months. It’s hard to surprise a lifelong partner and Paul was flabbergasted—just the reaction I was going for!

My health is excellent and my spirits run high.

And all of this over the backdrop of so much trouble in the world and an unknowable future. I lean on many of the tools I sharpened during illness to stay grounded and centered and forward facing, during the much larger, deeply concerning national and global stresses of our time.

We all sit poised to welcome 2017 into our lives, to vision it, to create it, live it, enjoy it and wring out all the goodness we can find.  Learning ballroom dance cracked our world open to the thrill of learning something new, doing something strange, meeting people whose paths we’d probably otherwise never cross, taking chances, being silly, doing something just cause it’s fun. Sometimes we look at each other and say, what else should we try? What else should we learn? What else can we get good at? Where else can we let this life take us? Watching Paul wrap those little anchovies around that sturdy sprig of rosemary, I loved that, a small gesture, the familiar hands, the focused concentration, something I’d never see him do before.

I don’t know what your leg of lamb will be this year, but hopefully there will be a few things, some smaller, some bigger that tickle your fancy, enliven your tastebuds, bring new energy and love into your life.

May we all be blessed for a healthy & happy New Year in a world of peace.
With love & light,


New Year's Day Hike. Quabbin Reservoir Snow & Sand!

Thursday, December 31, 2015


Dear All,
Just had my one year full body scan and got the ALL CLEAR! Got me thinking about the New Year & the idea of clarity and a memory I have from years ago. As a young mother I loved carrying Sophie in a front pack while walking along a promenade that followed the curves of an oxbow on the Missouri river near my house. Each week I’d pass one house in particular where an older couple lived. 
Fridays was window-washing day apparently, and she stood, in apron and hair scarf, on the inside of their grand bay window. He, in overalls and a feedcap was on the outside. With window cleaner & rags in hand, they each did their part. She wiped only up & down, he only side to side. In this way they knew whose streaks needed tending and how to get the cleanest windows to insure their pristine water view. Around this time with the New Year about to begin, I think about them, their routine, their goal, their simple division of labor and how I often yearn for the same things: clarity, vision & a view!
Mary's Cove, Nova Scotia, Fall 2015

My wish for this year beyond good health for all & peace in our crazy world is that we each have clarity in our relationships both at home & beyond and clarity in our goals, personal & professional. May we continue to envision & cultivate a peaceful and healthy planet and may we each have time to take in and appreciate the views along the way. Happy New Year from our home to yours!   

Love & light,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Short Videos about Breast Cancer

In August 2014, after completing my care for breast cancer & before the ovarian cancer diagnosis, I was at my national convention in Arizona. Colleagues were making videos of NDs speaking on various topics. I declined the invitation to speak about my experience with breast cancer; one reason is that I did not want myself frozen in that time and didn't want to focus on what I'd just been through. But a friend & colleague, Rick Brinkman ND, who was doing the videoing and would do the editing circled back around to me a few days in and convinced me I should just do it-- could be valuable to people going through something similar. So--- here I am, threw them up on the web in a recent Huffington Post piece, during National Naturopathic Medicine Week earlier this month.
Love & light,

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I finally figured how to wear headphones under my helmut, attach my car key to my rollerblades & tuck a water flask into my waistband. Now  I can rollerblade long swaths of the newly paved, smooth-as-glass bike path, to music I love, and stay hydrated on these 90 degree days. I dancer-blade really, with my arms extended, swaying to the music, my legs kicking out in rhythm to the songs I hear. It’s true, I may look a bit nutty, but I may occasionally look graceful & certainly enraptured.

I keep having experiences like that, where I feel a kind of intensity of aliveness, pleasure, connection & joy. It’s not like I never felt these things before, but this year, everything measures up in contrast to last year; it’s as if my life used to be in black & white & now it’s all in Technicolor.

I felt that on the dance floor tonight with a favorite partner, eating a peach at the kitchen table this afternoon with the sun streaming across the tablecloth, with a long time patient of mine yesterday morning in the clinic. It’s a kind of openness to experience and an appreciation of all the small things that add up together to make my life as I love it. 

I had the distinct pleasure of addressing the heart of my profession at our national convention in Oakland earlier this month, in a lecture, CliffNotes from CancerLand, which I rather enjoyed delivering, while a slideshow of choice images from last year played behind me. I shared a bit of my story & some lessons learned. You all know the lessons because you read these posts, so I won’t elaborate!

Suffice it to say, life is coming at us like a strong river these days, with lots of opportunities to enjoy the kids, their shenanigans & achievements. To bear witness to their chasing of their dreams is our parental delight. 

And after lots of travels, it’s pure sweetness to be home, listening as I am tonight to the sound of the crickets, the katydids, the whir of the fan. It’s not a fancy house, ours, but it’s fits just right and I miss it when we're away.

Work is humming along. The practice is back to where it was; it feels good to be back on that side of the medical equation. We are at long last going to teach our NESH course in sunny San Diego starting this winter, our first foray into California. We’ve also taken teaching gigs all over the map, which is a bit terrifying for this itinerant homebody, but we love what we do and accepting opportunities to teach and inspire others feels about right just now. Also advocating for our licensure bill once again, always a good challenge which offers us chances to meet new people and share what we do.

And in what could be filed under the over-achiever category, I proudly completed my first triathlon 6 months to the day after my last chemotherapy. Me doing that race is testament to conventional & naturopathic medicine and my own stubborn belief that I’d come back better than ever. It was helpful to have that goal to drive my already healthy discipline around exercise this year, plus fun to bring the family together on a mission. I believe all cancer survivors/thrivers should train like uber-athletes most every day. Can’t beat the endorphins and let’s face it, in the realm of psycho-neuro-immunology, exercise is king!

During the 5K run, (after the quarter mile swim & 10 mile bike ride,) when I felt a little bored, I went through the extensive thank you roll call of so many of you who sent love & prayers, positive thoughts & cards, brought food, gave massages & offered expertise with medical & healing care. That got me right into the chute & over the finish line, strong & healthy, and happy to be alive! 
I know I am one lucky lady. 
Here we are post race, all smiles wearing our hardware!

Post race, all smiles and sore calves!
Here’s wishing you a sweet rest of summer and a good transition into autumn. I love these long days, these sultry nights and summer farm fresh food, but I also love fall with the crunching leaves and favorite sweaters! 
We can’t go wrong, really.

Love & light


Monday, May 11, 2015


Mother’s Day 2015

With the wind whipping off of Lake Michigan yesterday, and our fancy graduation clothes severely inadequate, we nonetheless whooped and hollered when Jonah, tall and confident, made his way across the stage to accept his college diploma. That's three up, three down for Paul & I, a kind of graduation for us, too! One of my all-time favorite prayers is the shehechayanu, which loosely translates to thanking the powers that be for sustaining us and allowing us to reach this moment. The narrow tunnel I went through last year, makes me even more aware of my blessings and more alive to the poignant moments that string together to make this life I love.

On Mother’s Day today I am thinking about how milestones are stacking up for our kids, as they reach for their dreams, live the lives they want and outfit themselves for futures they envision. Diana Nyad, the famous long distance swimmer & athlete extraordinaire, gave a rousing commencement address, urging grads to relentlessly grab for their highest aspirations. Channeling the poet Mary Oliver, she quoted, “…what is it you’re doing with this one wild and precious life of yours?” a line we all need to hear about once a day!  

The student speaker was equally inspiring, recollecting homosapien forbearers deciding to make their mark on cave walls with hand prints, raising his own hand he asked, what kind of mark will you make? I think about being a mother and how the marks I make include my kids and how they go forward to make their own marks--and so the generations go! What a blessing to be a mother, with all the craziness, the constancy, the exhilaration, the worry, times of bewilderment and times of fascination, the bits of self-discovery that go along with the territory, all the pride and gratitude. 

Paul & I took a Architecture of Chicago Boat tour today (highly recommended!) with Jonah before hopping on our flights home. Our guide described the mind-boggling engineering feat of changing the direction of flow of the Chicago River in the beginning of last century to help improve water quality, among other things, for the city. For me, the direction of flow of love between us and our kids flows both ways now with some serious current and sustains us all.

Sometimes all the pomp & circumstance of a formal graduation seem longwinded or pretentious. But not this time. It feels like we are all graduating from one thing or another at any given moment: a recent challenge, a course of study, one phase of life evolving to the next, a job or relationship shift, an accomplishment ,big or small,  or simply a realization that shifts our focus or changes the course of our own rivers. I am wishing for myself, my family and all the people we know & love to be fully present and appreciative of life, every step of the way. 

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Graduation!

Love & light,